Best Meat Breed?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by ShellCreekRanch, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. ShellCreekRanch

    ShellCreekRanch Well-Known Member

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    What is the best breed of pig for the best TASTING meat? Not necessarily the biggest breed, but the best tasting.

    Thank you!
     
  2. caseyweiss

    caseyweiss Well-Known Member

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  3. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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  4. DKWunlimited

    DKWunlimited A year full of blessings Supporter

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    Berks also have the biggest attitude! lol As an FFA mom, I watch those kids wrestle with Berks in the show ring all the time. Durrocs seem to have the most medical issues. We have done hamps and they seem to taste pretty good.
    Too bad they don't lable things at the grocery store so you know what breed it was.
     
  5. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Berkshire, Duroc, Large White, they will all taste good if you feed them well.
    Pigs take on the flavour of whatever they are being fed; consquently pigs finished on fish will taste gross whereas pigs finished on fruit will be beautiful.

    I have Duroc, Large White and crosses of both. They are all fed milk and a cooked mixture of fruit, vegetables and scraps. They don't taste of any one thing but the meat is full of flavour.

    A pig is what you feed it.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  6. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Ronnie, I thought that too until we raised a few Berks. Prior to that we had hamps, durocs and land race. They all were fed corn, extra Jersey milk and veggie scraps. The Berks had a texture and flavor that is better than the others we've raised. It was enough difference that we decided to keep a Berk brood sow. She thinks she's a big dog!!
     
  7. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    Hey, I've been wanting to raise some berks out west here. Do any of you have any for sale????
    I've even considered buying some from England and having them imported!
     
  8. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    It has a lot more to do with how you feed, treat and slaughter the hog than the breed. Our pigs taste sweet and delicious. But I know that is because of their being pastured and getting dairy because I've tested feeding different things and then evaluating how the meat was.

    The lesson is you can buy a breed and then do all the wrong things and end up with horrid meat like the industry does. Or you can turn most breeds into excellent meat by handling them right.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org
     
  9. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

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    Berks have the shortest meat fiber of all the breeds, Tamworths would be the longest like deer meat. I love a meat with a short fiber... almost like veal....this has nothing to do with taste it isthe meat grain so i believe it is both feeding and breed.
     
  10. MilkandHoney

    MilkandHoney Well-Known Member

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  11. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. mmmmm Potbelly Stroganoff!


     
  12. Rogo

    Rogo Well-Known Member

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  13. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raise half Berkshire/ half Hampshire pigs (Boar is purebred Hampshire, two sows are purebred Berk). Hubby and I both have found that we prefer the half Berk to the 100% Berk because the Hampshire adds in a little more lean "meatyness", for lack of a better word. The pure Berk can be too marbled and fatty for our taste.
     
  14. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Farmergirl, I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours... Could you take photos of pork chops from the various types you have and post them labeled as to breed mix. It would be interesting to compare.

    I'll go first. These pork chops were from two pigs from our herd. The pigs both were gilts that looked like Yorkshires but they also have some Glouster Old Spot, Tamworth and Berkshire in them based on what the piglets look like from our sows.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately it isn't possible to make a perfect comparison as these pork chops were not cut from the exact same ribs on each pig and the pigs were different ages and sizes. But it does show some difference. Note that a purely pastured pig grows sightly slower than a grain fed penned pig. The reason the pastured chop is so much larger is the pig was bigger and older.

    Purely Pastured: The pork chop on the left was a 11 month old gilt live weight 300 lbs who was raised totally on pasture, no other feed except the occasional treat of bread or such. There is less marbling in the pastured pork chop. The pastured pork chop also had better, redder color and better flavor.

    Penned & Grained: The pork chop on the right was from a 6 month old gilt live weight 250 lbs that was pen raised on commercial grower pellets by someone who bought the piglet from us. The penned / grain fed pork chop was certainly better tasting than a store bought pork chop and more marbled than either a store bought chop or the pastured chop but a little lighter in color, whiter, than the pastured chop.

    What this photo doesn't show is our more recent pasture / dairy fed pork. That has the better color of the pastured plus some marbling of the penned/grain fed chops. Both the meat and fat on the pastured / dairy fed chops is exquisite tasting - the best of all.

    Note that all tests are from pigs that are very closely related so genetics is not likely to be the difference and all the same sex so that is not likely to be the difference either.

    In terms of what is the best meat breed, this test example shows that how the animal is treated (penned vs free ranging on pasture) and what the animal is fed are very important factors. I don't have an answer as to what the best meat breed is since all I've dealt with is our herd which are Yorkshire x Tamworth x Berkshire x Glouster Old Spot with maybe a bit of Duroc or something else too. My wife calls them Heinz 57 Yorkshires.

    I would dearly love to see pork chops from a variety of other breeds as at some point I am going to need to bring in a new boar. If anything our pigs tend to be a bit on the lean side so the Berkshire blood line interests me. I think that the leanness in our pigs has to do largely with our methods of raising them - free ranged, the diet, pasture/hay and whey feeding. Currently we are using whey as our primary dairy feed. That is light on calories and makes the pigs a bit lean. The years we did milk they were heavier on the fat although not as fat as penned pigs. The years we've had a lot of cheese it has been between the two.

    If you can photograph them on a white meat cutting board like the one above that will help. That photo was done with a flash in a room lit with warm fluorescent lights.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org
     
  15. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All I raise is 1/2 Berk, 1/2 Hampshire, so that's all I can show you. I'll take some photos this weekend to share. Good idea!
     
  16. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

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    Asking what the best meat breed is is like asking.....anything controversial. The pork chop above shows in many ways what many are trying to produce or not to produce. Look at the amount of backfat and the long streaks of intermuscular fat - long and thin. This is a genetic result often found in hamps, york and landace. The fat runs perpendicular to the backfat. I try to eliminate all the backfat possible and spread the marbling out in a more short rounded clumps. The purely pastured "meat" looks very lean in the picture - and the hog looks to have been quite fatty. I'm trying to eliminate the large section of fat and increase the intermuscular fat in the "meat". I don't wont to have a pork chop with 20% of the weight as pure fat.
     
  17. doolally

    doolally Member

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    To Redhogs
    So what are you doing (or going to do) to achieve your aims?
    Thanks
    Doolally
     
  18. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

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    The NSF has establish carcass grading numbers that included on the registration papers to track the evolution of breeding traits so breeders can decide if a stud will move them in the right direction.
     
  19. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Wow, RedHog, you got that totally backwards. The purely pastured chop was lean and perfect, no trimming of fat needed. The hog was not fatty at all.

    On the other hand the pen raised pig was very fatty requiring a large amount of trimming and the fat was yellower probably due to the corn in the diet.
     
  20. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    [​IMG]

    Here are chops from a purebred Hereford gilt. This pig was raised on a modest amount of corn as well as milk and alfalfa.