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View Full Version : Berkshire pork -- worth it?


comfrank
05-06-2009, 03:23 PM
One of the ways we're trying to get our competition scores up is to improve the quality of our meat. My wife has been wanting me to try Berkshire pork (the black pigs). I'll have to get it online. The place I'm looking at sells 7lb bone-in butts for $32. That's kind of pricey. But I googled "Berkshire pork and BBQ" and discovered that Mike Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ uses Berkshire pork exclusively. If someone with that much pit cred uses it, I have to at least consider it.

Is there anyone out there who is using or has tried Berkshire pork? What are your experiences? Is it worth the cost difference?

Thanks,

--frank in Wilson, NY

Jeff Hughes
05-06-2009, 03:28 PM
Check out Rod Grey's blog, he has some comments about that question...

Jeremiah
05-06-2009, 03:52 PM
http://pelletenvy.blogspot.com/search?q=berkshire

This the site? Can't find the post, please share if you have a direct link.

I can't speak to using it for competition cooking, or even bbq in general. But from the limited experience I've had with Berkshire (and other heirloom hog breeds) I would definitely think it is something worth investigating.

musicmanryann
05-06-2009, 03:56 PM
We've had this discussion on here before, and in the past it has been pretty good. My opinion is that if you start with a superior cut of meat is increases your margin for error with everything else, thus increasing your chances of winning. Is Berkshire and other heritage breeds superior meat compared to the "other white meat"? That is up for debate--my opinion is yes. If you assume the above--is that worth the cost (usually double)? That depends on your budget and how much you believe in the above. For every Mike Davis out there there is a Rod Gray or Johnny Trigg whom, though equally, if not more successful than Mike, have never even considered it.

Btw-You can apply this same debate to the subject of Wagyu Beef. It has also been discussed before on this forum.

Jeff Hughes
05-06-2009, 06:02 PM
It was from march 30th, he says he cooks with regular meat, no wagu, berkshire, etc...

Buster Dog BBQ
05-06-2009, 08:43 PM
When I took his class he said the same thing. Basically the judges aren't used to it. I used Berkshire butts last year and kobe briskets. Not enough of a difference to pay the extra. Luckily last year with the price of meat the cost wasn't too much different. The brisket cooked much faster.

Jacked UP BBQ
05-06-2009, 09:16 PM
i have used berkshire, duroc, and a few other small brands. if you are in a grilling comp and want to use it for chops or loins, there is a huge difference. when we did ribs and butts, by the time they smoked out for 4 and 10 hours, it was a waste of money. the big name teams that use it have sponsors and do not pay for the meat. try it once and judge for yourself, i stopped because investment verse results were not worth it. i bought ribs from bjs and took 1st out of 92 teams two weeks ago, there was a great team there with the same basic cokking style that used bershire and they were in the bottom half. remember who you are feeding! sorry if there a lot of typos i am using a mini lap top.

Neal
05-06-2009, 09:18 PM
Mike gets paid to cook that stuff and gets it for free.
He just started cooking with it recently, but his bigs wins have all come with out it.
Buy what you want, but don't think you'll win just because you are using magic pork.

Just Pulin' Pork
05-06-2009, 10:52 PM
Mike gets paid to cook that stuff and gets it for free.
He just started cooking with it recently, but his bigs wins have all come with out it.
Buy what you want, but don't think you'll win just because you are using magic pork.

In other words its the cook, not the meat that will win you competitons? :grin:

Jacked UP BBQ
05-07-2009, 07:52 AM
In other words its the cook, not the meat that will win you competitons? :grin:


Its actually the sauce and the rub you buy!!!!:mrgreen:

musicmanryann
05-07-2009, 09:28 AM
Its actually the sauce and the rub you buy!!!!:mrgreen:

And the trailer you have, color of thermapen, and if you use a Cambro...:lol:

billm
05-07-2009, 02:32 PM
ive tried it and think Berkshire produces a more moist end product. The butts from IBP, etc.are way too lean nowadays IMO (which necesitates products like Fab P or Butcher BBQ injections for comps).

SmokeInDaEye
05-07-2009, 03:45 PM
I cooked Birkshire ribs in a KCBS contest two years ago and lost, but it was to Myron Mixon and Jack McDavid.

Got really good scores for our dog & pony show but I think the difference in flavor hurt a little. Definitely a porkier taste. And they were fattier than what I normally cook so they got almost too tender fast. I love Birkshire pork shoulders, just not sure I'd use them in competition.

oceanpigassassins
05-07-2009, 10:25 PM
dont think its worth it

Finney
05-07-2009, 10:37 PM
I cooked Birkshire ribs in a KCBS contest two years ago and lost, but it was to Myron Mixon and Jack McDavid.

Got really good scores for our dog & pony show but I think the difference in flavor hurt a little. Definitely a porkier taste. And they were fattier than what I normally cook so they got almost too tender fast. I love Birkshire pork shoulders, just not sure I'd use them in competition.

"Dog and Pony Show" at a KCBS event?!?!?!? :confused:

Plowboy
05-07-2009, 11:42 PM
I cooked Birkshire ribs in a KCBS contest two years ago and lost, but it was to Myron Mixon and Jack McDavid.

Got really good scores for our dog & pony show but I think the difference in flavor hurt a little. Definitely a porkier taste. And they were fattier than what I normally cook so they got almost too tender fast. I love Birkshire pork shoulders, just not sure I'd use them in competition.

Fattier? Is that a word?


Mmmmmm... magic pork.

comfrank
05-08-2009, 10:10 AM
Is Berkshire and other heritage breeds superior meat compared to the "other white meat"? That is up for debate...For every Mike Davis out there there is a Rod Gray or Johnny Trigg whom, though equally, if not more successful than Mike, have never even considered it.


Ok, so I read the above post yesterday afternoon, and when I get home that evening the Bullsheet is in my mailbox and I find that in the recent competition at Hammond, Louisiana, Rod Gray took GC and Mike Davis took RGC. Talk about a coincidence. There's a photo of each of them accepting their trophies.

--frank in Wilson, NY

Jacked UP BBQ
05-08-2009, 10:15 AM
they were taking home trophies way before berkshire!

CajunSmoker
05-08-2009, 02:01 PM
Ok, so I read the above post yesterday afternoon, and when I get home that evening the Bullsheet is in my mailbox and I find that in the recent competition at Hammond, Louisiana, Rod Gray took GC and Mike Davis took RGC. Talk about a coincidence. There's a photo of each of them accepting their trophies.

--frank in Wilson, NY


If I remember correctly, Rod took 1st in pork too. It was a butt to butt qualifier:biggrin:

The_Kapn
05-10-2009, 06:45 AM
I looked at buying some Berkshire just to see what the fuss was about.

But, I have not won the lottery lately :oops:

TIM

bearnakedbbq
02-13-2011, 10:49 AM
Definitely a porkier taste. And they were fattier than what I normally cook so they got almost too tender fast.

Sorry to bring up an old post but I have a question. Since the Berkshire butts are fattier and taste more like pork do you still inject them?

troy

Mad About Que
02-13-2011, 11:04 AM
i would say no. "the other white meat" pig farms have breed the fat outta those fine animals. them fancy (fat filled) verimans do taste a lot different. most chefs that use them are paying for yes, a better product, but what sounds better? here's some pulled pork? or smoked braised berkshire pork shoulder? you see.. i just made $8 more for your dinner..

Sorry to bring up an old post but I have a question. Since the Berkshire butts are fattier and taste more like pork do you still inject them?

troy

Mad About Que
02-13-2011, 11:08 AM
here's a couple articles i found last year when thinking the same sort of thing. i met a free range farmer that was looking for something new to play with. the idea was that i would buy the hogs and he would "raise" them. he'd get to sell/profit on some, i'd get the rest. didn't work out..

but here's a good read, or two..
http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/bbq-evolution/Content?oid=2275177

http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/heirloom-pork-is-all-about-the-breed/Content?oid=2357554

the 2nd link is the breed article. sorry got it backwards during the copy/paste, but both are good reads...

Morgan12
02-13-2011, 10:22 PM
Take it for what its worth but I was raised with hogs and still help out with the family farm, and butcher around 30 pigs a year. Most hogs today are raised in a confinment style housing. That being we as producers are in it to make money, the public wants a leaner pig. So we adjust our food rations to meet that demand. Our confinment pigs are very lean animals and thats mostly what you will get from most large stores. Now I do 2 or 3 pigs a year that some one will raise just for somthing to do these are raised on the "ground" and eat alot diffrent than our commercial hogs. Ever eat a hog that ate alot of acorns YUCK! Its kinda like when you guys smoke meat everything you do diffrent will effect it. As large operators we like to have that consistancy and thats what sells. Our hogs are breed to be lean but if you toss them out in a pasture and feed them table scraps they will produce a fattier pig. I think each breeder of hogs likes to think there is the best Berkshire, Hampshire, Duroc, Chesterwhites you name it. And all breeds are diffrent but there is a reason major producers don't use Breed X on the farm, they don't produce like our new genration hogs. My sugestion would be to look for a local farmer on craigs list that raises hogs on the ground if you really want a lil more fat on your hog and not worry so much about what breed it is.

Bentley
02-13-2011, 11:57 PM
Is there anyone out there who is using or has tried Berkshire pork? What are your experiences? Is it worth the cost difference?

Thanks,

--frank in Wilson, NY


I would venture to guess Lotta Bull is either being paid to use it or it is being supplied free. Anything wrong with that, not at all, wish someone would offer me that...

Twice in competitions...

Nope!