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Heirloom Pork

smalljawssmalljaws Posts: 58
edited 7:34PM in EggHead Forum
Curious if anyone has cooked a shoulder from an heirloom,organic hog and whether there was a big diffence from your mass produced pig. It certainly makes a difference with chops, but I have not invested (3-4 x your grocery pig)in a shoulder yet.


  • I think I have some pork stuffed in the back of my freezer that has turned "heirloom" on me. :blink:
    Pigs are disgusting dirty animals that will eat anything and everything imaginable. The good thing is regarless of this trait, they produce yummy sammiches. ;) Just because a hog is free to roam doesn't mean it will taste any better (my opinion). If it were me, I buy the cheap pig and turn it into a culinary masterpiece thanks to the egg. ;)
  • JohnBJohnB Posts: 182
    I do graphic design work for a local organic farmer who raises pigs and cattle. The chops are great, the bacon fantastic, the sausages are wonderful. That being said, after cooking a shoulder for 8-plus hours (his tend to be small) I couldn't tell any difference. Actually, the grocery store butts are bigger and fattier, so I prefer them for low and slow. I haven't cooked enough ribs yet to give an opinion on those.

    His beef, on the other hand, tastes a lot different. It is much leaner and darker and "earthier" tasting. Also, if you're cooking steaks and go any further than medium rare they get very tough.
  • mattrappmattrapp Posts: 107
    Depending on the breed, there is a huge noticeable difference. Some of the heirloom breeds have much more fat marbled through the meat, and the meat is much richer and darker. Some of the heirloom breeders also feed a very specific diet(like acorns) to achieve a very unique flavor. If you have access to some give it a try. See if you can find somebody doing Berkshires, very tasty!
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,830
    I didn't ask what the breed was when I bought an organic half hog last October. It was a rather small pig, my half was a little under 100 pounds. Is it better than mass produced? Yes. The flavor was surprisingly mild, considering that the beef they raise almost tastes like a different species. The flesh is mostly red, very firm, and a little less fatty than mass produced.

    I did the whole fresh ham for Christmas, and received compliments all around. Last week I did a good sized loin roast, and it was so tasty that my wife and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. Didn't even notice how much we had eaten till my wife commented "I guess we won't be getting another two meals out of this."

    The cost was just under $2.00/lb for the half. My only complaint was that I didn't get the fatback or the jowls, because I didn't know to specify that I wanted them.
  • I've eaten Hungarian Wooly (Mangalitsa), Berkshire, and Red Whattle. They are very flavorful because they aren't breed to eliminate the fat. I've only had loins, chops, bacon, and charcuterie. I would pay a premium for a lean cut, but would not spend the money on a butt or shoulder.

    Here is link to a site that is food ordering section of the Slow Food USA movement

    I don't know where you live, but the Culinary Vegetable Institute in northern Ohio is having a Mangalitsa dinner on March 27th. Their dinners are awesome! Don't let the vegetable piece scare you away.
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