Colorado chefs are nerds. Food nerds, to be exact, who are more than willing—excited, even—to share their knowledge with the rest of us. With so many wonderful cooking classes popping up around the state, our Cook Like A Pro blog series will detail our favorites so that you, too, can geek out by learning from the very best.


It’s difficult to imagine a more cheerful cleaver-wielder than Nate Singer, the head butcher at Blackbelly Market in Boulder. He genuinely loves his job—as evidenced by his non-stop grin—and is passionate about spreading the gospel of whole animal butchery to his customers. His goal? To educate shoppers so they feel comfortable branching out beyond boneless, skinless chicken breasts and lamb rib chops.

To further that mission, Singer has created a series of Primal Dinners at Blackbelly Market. On the second Friday night of every month, a small group of lucky diners not only enjoy appetizers and a four-course meal centered around a particular cut of meat, but they also witness first hand how Singer and his team butcher the protein that makes up their dinner. Starting with the primal cut (the larger, wholesale parts of the animal; chuck, loin, and rib are examples), Singer breaks the meat down into smaller sub primal cuts (i.e., top round, whole tenderloin, etc.), and finally, into the retail cuts most shoppers know (short ribs, T-bone steak, etc.). It’s an intimate experience well worth the $59 per person price tag, during which meaty questions are asked and answered, new friendships are forged at communal tables, and delicious, creative dishes are on the menu.

Blackbelly Market Primal Dinner
“Meat candy” served as a sweet-and-savory counterpoint to aged Gouda in the final course of February’s Primal Dinner.

Our favorites, from the very first Primal Dinner this past February (which focused on beef chuck), were an entrée of cocoa-braised chuck eye with silky-smooth parsnip purée and an inventive cheese course of “meat candy”—like a sweet-savory, crispy beef prosciutto—served with aged gouda and a stout gastrique. More recent dinners have featured leg of lamb and pork belly; the next dinner, on May 12, will star Carter Country beef short loin, and rack of Boulder lamb is on the docket for June 9.

For Primal Dinner tickets, email; $59 per person includes butchery demo and discussion, appetizers, four-course dinner, tax, and tip. Beverages sold separately. Blackbelly Market, 1606 Conestoga St., Boulder, 720-479-8296

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.