Families, business owners learn to make bacon and sausage at UOG workshop

Families, business owners learn to make bacon and sausage at UOG workshop

Families, business owners learn to make bacon and sausage at UOG workshop

(From left) Clarissa Barcinas, Dr. Gary Sullivan, Dr. Jian Yang

Fifteen Guam residents learned how to make bacon and sausage from locally raised or hunted animals during the first-ever Food Safety & Meat Processing Workshop held by the University of Guam on Jan. 9 and 10, 2023.

The workshop was held by the UOG Cooperative Extension & Outreach service in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, whose food safety and extension specialist Dr. Byron Chaves is leading a USDA NIFA-funded grant to collaborate with U.S. insular regions in food safety outreach.

UOG Meat Processing Workshop
(From left) Sophie Santos, Clarissa Barcinas, and Dr. Jian Yang (far right) from UOG Cooperative Extension & Outreach with University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty Dr. Byron Chaves, Dr. Melanie Downs, and Dr. Gary Sullivan
“Our long-term goal is to help food producers, farmers, entrepreneurs, etc., to better comply with food safety regulations,” Chaves said. “We want people to start and/or expand their businesses and provide local food options in a safe manner.”

The participants consisted of local business owners, government agency workers, culinary educators, and families.

“If you looked around the classroom, a lot of these guys were just local boys or local parents. So that’s what I thought was really cool,” said participant Marvin Crisostomo, owner of Local Jerk.

Curing meats and casing sausage  

The four-day workshop included research-based lectures, hands-on experience in the kitchen, and a day of touring local farms and the Farmers’ Co-op.

Dr. Jeng-Hung Liu, assistant professor of animal science at UOG, opened the meat processing portion of the workshop with a presentation on meat quality, followed by Dr. Gary Sullivan, associate professor of meat science at UNL, who presented on meat processing and products.

“I was really interested in how to make your own sausage, how to smoke and cure your own meats — at least from a scientific point of view — and then incorporating that into some of my courses,” said local educator Rosanne Pleadwell.

Sullivan led the hands-on portion of seasoning and curing bacon and casing sausages. After gaining inspiration from taste-testing a variety of meats, the participants developed their own seasoning mixtures, ranging from common spices, like thyme and cayenne pepper, to local ingredients.

“All the participants were actively engaged throughout the workshop, asking good questions to further discussion on the topics,” Sullivan said. “Using the calamansi and denanche were two unique ingredients and flavors the participants used to bring Guam into their products.”

Microbial food safety and food allergies

The food safety portion of the workshop aimed to provide general knowledge and “make people aware of microbes, how they behave, and what factors influence their presence or inactivation,” Chaves said.

Participants learned about food processing and preservation from Dr. Jian Yang, professor of food science at UOG. Chaves presented microbial food safety and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. And Dr. Melanie Downs, food allergy and extension specialist at UNL, presented on food allergies and food allergen management.

Expanding our island’s food knowledge

Although meat processing is not new to the local community, the science behind it added a new level of knowledge for many of the participants.

“I’ve gained a lot as far as why you would use salt and the importance of it and the difference of the types of meat,” Pleadwell said.

Crisostomo added, “The presenters were very clear and precise. I’m glad that it was done here at UOG.”

The Cooperative Extension & Outreach service at UOG offers research-rooted knowledge through non-formal education to the public. To stay posted on upcoming workshops, follow UOG Cooperative Extension & Outreach on Facebook and Instagram, or sign up for the emailing list here.