Does anyone know of any good classes in the bay area on curing meats/charcuterie? I haven't been able to find any cooking schools that offer these types of classes but am very interested in learning some of the basics. I'm flexible on the time and place of the class.
You might want to get a copy of Ruhlman's Charcuterie and just dive in. Act now if you want to make dried sausages or items like unsmoked bacon, pancetta, or guanciale. Many home charcutiers have to spend big bucks to convert refrigerators into curing chambers that will maintain the right temperature and humidity (typically around 50-60 F and 60% RH), but that's San Francisco in the winter and most of the spring . Right now I have a 5 lb salami and several peperone hanging in the laundry room, and 3 lbs of guanciale go up in a day or two.
There are lots of good threads on the home cooking board discussing sources for equipment and ingredients.
In the midst of other surfing, I ran accross Ryan Farr's blog, which is a trip. He presents techniques for things like making hot dogs, or rabbit head and lengua terrine, or foie gras torchon... all with matter of fact photos of the graphic details.
So I dig around and notice he offers "In Home Butcher Classes" which, I'll bet, could easily include any sort of curing you might want to explore. Check it out:
Last week I attended a panel discussion on local slaughterhouses and local meats where Marsha McBride of Cafe Rouge in Berkeley mentioned butchering and charcuterie classes.
On Saturday I had a chance to chat with the owner of Green Grocer in Windsor. He butchers whole beasts and makes his own charcuterie. he mentioned that he has offered some butchering classes. Maybe you can talk him into teaching something about curing meats. The market/cafe is only a few months old and he seems to be quite flexible and interested in customer ideas.