Tag: Berkshire


WHY IS HERITAGE PORK THE BEST PORK FOR GRILLING?? SCIENCE!!!!!

When it comes to the best pork for grilling heritage breeds win the flavor test every time.

We are speaking strictly in facts, science-based and proven from farm to table, from plate to mouth. No commercially bred pork, no supermarket special, can possibly complete. Heritage breeds are first in their class, true champions, the only pork you should even consider, especially during grilling season when the only ingredient besides the pork is fire.

The first thing you want to consider when choosing a pork chop is COLOR. We’ve heard it said that pork is the other white meat, but trust us when we say that what you want is a pork chop that hues closer to RED… a darker chop means the meat is holding more water. Pale meat means it has been denatured and dry. This goes for any cut, from shoulder to loin to ribs to chops. You want to see some color. This will ensure juiciness and tenderness.

BUT what it doesn’t guarantee is FLAVOR.

For flavor, what you want to see is FAT.

Fat drives flavor. This is true in pork, in beef, in lamb, in any meat. Of course some breeds are ridiculously fat and others lean, and in this wonderful world there is room for them all.

David Newman, world famous meat scientist and proprietor of Newman Farms, loves especially the Berkshire pork for being so well balanced. It has lots of fat, but a good, creamy, tasty fat. They aren’t obese so the fat doesn’t dominate their beautiful structure, rather it is the perfect blend of high quality meat and luscious fat.

And he is quick to point out, this is no opinion — this is SCIENCE!!! Of course the proof will always be on the plate, but make no mistake, when you want juiciness look for color, and for taste, look for fat. All Heritage breeds will deliver with subtle differences, you can’t lose. They are juicy and tasty and healthy. Remember: If you see a pale pork chop with no marbling…. Run in the other direction!!!

When is a Ham Not a Ham?

When it is a classic, Heritage maple sugar-cured ham it is so much more than a ham that the old descriptors no longer apply.

This is a holiday waiting to happen. This is the thing that brings families together. This is the thing that puts smiles on faces. This is wholesome, pasture-raised, maple-cured ham, the cornerstone of American cooking, loved universally as a centerpiece for a holiday meal, casual dining, or as the main ingredient in an iconic ham sandwich.

The Heritage maple sugar-cured ham is a stone cold classic, any time of year. It is your Christmas ham, but we won’t look twice if you enjoy it on a Fall night or summer picnic.

These hams are already cooked so they are ready for eating, but a little heat will help bring out the delicious juices of the heritage meat. You can add a family favorite glaze, or stud it with cloves, cover it with cherries and pineapples — there is no spice or seasoning this delicious ham won’t welcome.

So… when is a ham not a ham?? OK, so it’s a trick question. But our customers agree, that after tasting Heritage ham, those other, ham-shaped objects in the supermarket just don’t make the grade.

An Intro to Heritage Pork Breeds

The core of Heritage Foods USA’s mission is to preserve rare heritage breeds. We work hard to support family farms that raise their animals on natural diets and without the aid of antibiotics, which are common on industrial farms.

Red Wattle Pig
A Red Wattle pig raised by Larry Sorell at Lazy S. Farms

 

Heritage pork is sourced from  Certified Humane Red Wattle or Six-Spotted Berkshire stock. Some of our farmers, however, also raise other rare breeds – Duroc, Old Spot, Large Black, and Tamworth – which are available for purchase by request, or as porterhouse chops and cured hams.

Sorell_Sow_BreedBerkshire
A Berkshire sow with one of her piglets

Berkshire meat is elegant, luscious and smooth. The streaks of fat that run through Berkshire meat produces a round, buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The firm and substantial texture of Berkshire meat was so cherished by the British monarchy that they exported the breed as far as Japan, where it is called Korobuta.

As seen above, the Red Wattle is the only pig left in the world that still has a wattle hanging from its jowl. Red Wattle meat is charmingly inconsistent; its expressive porky flavor is concentrated and even a little racy. Originating in the South Pacific, the Red Wattle pig populated the backyards of New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries where it was bred to stand up to the strong and flavorful Creole cuisine. These gentle red hogs are renowned  foragers: when allowed to roam, their meat develops earthy, herbaceous traces of the vegetation within their locale.

One of Craig Good's Duroc hogs
One of Craig Good’s Duroc hogs

Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are polished and easy on the palate. Duroc pork is a standard – not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong – but is certainly more flavorful than its factory farmed cousins. In fact, Duroc genetics were used in the foundation of the pig industry, which gained momentum in the 20th century.

Tamworth meat is robust and gutsy, and is the leanest of the heritage pork breeds- making it an excellent source of bacon and jowl. Its balanced flavor is the pork equivalent of a red beer. Despite its presence on the Threatened species list, the Tamworth is a hearty, strong, resilient animal – making it an excellent candidate for the growing urban farm movement around the United States.

A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good's farm
A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good’s farm

 

Large Black and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Along with the Red Wattle, they are the rarest pig breeds that Heritage Foods sells.

Originating in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire during the 1800s, the GOS was bred to lounge around in the orchards of England, where its sole responsibility was to clean up fallen fruit.  The breed became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in grazing pigs. Due to its supreme laziness, GOS meat is very delicate – even its fat is edible and milky. Old Spots carry a distinct layer of backfat and marbling within their meat, making them the bacon pig of choice for many.

The Large Black is a favorite of farmers who appreciate the breed’s intellect and docility. Its strength, hardiness, and ability  to forage make it a valuable asset for pasture-based farming. The breed is native to southwestern England and gained popularity in the 1800’s as farmers began to see that the animal could easily turn poor-quality feed into large quantities of high-quality meat. The Large Black’s physical characteristics – its dark skin and large ears – make it stand out in terms of appearance and efficiency: its dark skin protects it from sunburn during long hours of grazing, and its long ears shield its eyes from dirt while foraging. Large Blacks are also known for their lean consistency; however, they lack the excess back fat found in the GOS.

Roast Pork Belly with Crackling and Gravy by Gwen LA

Spicy Azorean Garlic-Roasted Pork: A Tasty Heritage Recipe

This Portugese-inspired heritage recipe comes courtesy of our friend, Sadie Flateman. Sadie holds a certificate from the Sommelier Society of America and is a wine buyer for 67 Wine, one of the best wine shops in New York.

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