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wjc261
11-03-2010, 10:11 PM
Does anyone use the pork from a Berkshire pig or one of the other heritage breeds for your competition que? Is there a significant difference in the taste?

Thanks

Bill

landarc
11-03-2010, 11:17 PM
Well, nobody has answered, lemme bump this one a bit. I have not used it for competition BBQ, but, I have smoked ribs and shoulder from both Berkshire Black and Berkshire/Duroc crosses and you will not find a tastier pork meat. It does have more fat in some parts of the carcass, it was trimmed from the shoulders I bought. There did not seem to be additional fat apparent on the ribs other than at the chine(?) bone. The ribs do smoke up beautifully and both apple and pecan woods complemented the pork nicely.

In terms of timing, I found it cooked at about the same rate as commodity pork, resulted in the same basic texture once pulled. The ribs were similar in texture (I smoke with no foil). In general the shoulders rendered a lot of fat, so you will want a drip pan. There were some 'issues' between BIL and I, something about me 'cooking and running', i have no idea...

The flavor is what keeps me paying more for the pork than commodity pork, it has a more porky flavor and the fat is very flavorful. The texture is very similar to commodity pork, however, I find that Berkshire hog pork is a little more moist cooked to the same level of doneness. In an unfortunate blind taste test, I found that people (family) can tell the difference between the two types of pork once pulled.

I have also grilled the chops, tenderloins and sirloins and found them to be a little more fatty and marbled than commodity hogs, but not in a bad way. The pork bellies are incredible, again, not competition meat, but if you find some it is worth the bacon, if you will.

Captain Caveman
11-03-2010, 11:29 PM
In my area it is hard to find Berkshire or Duroc boston butts big enough for me to consider using for a comp. (most are 4# around here)

landarc
11-03-2010, 11:50 PM
If you can find a butcher shop that sells "Beeler" brand pork, they should be able to get you some Duroc pork that is, in my experience, as good as Berkshire. I was usually able to get 6 to 7 lb butts and the occasional larger one. I have had a great deal of difficulty finding Berkshire Pork shoulders in the Bay Area, so I go with Beeler's when I can.

Diva Q
11-04-2010, 08:26 AM
I have made Berkshire Porchettas (they were quite tasty) but never used it for competition. I know of a few who have tried it for competition with no noticeable improvement in their scores.

Scottie
11-04-2010, 09:19 AM
I like big butts. You can't find that with Duroc or Berkshire. I get just as good flavor and moisture with the IBP pork butts.

billm
11-04-2010, 09:42 AM
I notice a big difference but the judges never did so I save them for my own use and guests ..

robchef
11-04-2010, 09:46 AM
We use the Duroc butts, bellies, volcano shanks, loins and Berkshire bone in racks for catering. They work very well. the Duroc butts did well @ comp. I agree with them being small.

pigmaker23
11-04-2010, 09:54 AM
Vanderose Farms has Duroc Pork Butts that are on average 8-11 lbs, they do ship nationwide. We were sponsered by them for a while and the pork is without a doubt much tastier than commodity pork, we now use Hampshire breed pork which is also great.

musicmanryann
11-04-2010, 09:56 AM
There is a place near me where you can get 8-10# Berkshire butts. I can't get them to trim them out for what I need for competition, otherwise I would use them. The spare ribs I have had are like baby ribs though. The loin is the best pork I have ever had.

chopshop
11-04-2010, 11:20 AM
i use berkridge berkshire and i love it. I used the st louis ribs and loved the flavor but they were just too small for comps. I use the butts for comps and you can def tell the difference in the meat. first the flavor is much more rich than a regular butt and the meat is a lot darker. the amount of fat that is in a berkshire butt is incredible. i have cooked about 50 berk butts this summer and never had a problem with them being too small. duroc is completely different than berkshire. it basically a name for a commodity pig. im sure people will argue that point but its the truth.

Buster Dog BBQ
11-04-2010, 11:36 AM
A couple years ago I used s place in KC called Arrowhead Game Meat. Same issue Ryan had with not getting it cut how you want. Meaning money muscle wasn't very good or was chopped up. Spares were ok but too much money.

Boshizzle
11-04-2010, 12:19 PM
Myron Mixon used it this year in MIM. I think he came in third in the shoulder category.

Scottie
11-04-2010, 01:00 PM
Myron Mixon used it this year in MIM. I think he came in third in the shoulder category.


I'd say to check with Tuffy and see what he used...

Bentley
11-04-2010, 01:36 PM
I used it once, it was a Snake River and it was boneless, it was $5.99/lb and my normal butts are about $1.49/lb. I expected it to be some huge difference, I could detect none. Way to lean, and when boned, all the good gunk that cooks in a bone in that adds flavor was not there, waste of money in my mind.

chopshop
11-04-2010, 02:16 PM
I used it once, it was a Snake River and it was boneless, it was $5.99/lb and my normal butts are about $1.49/lb. I expected it to be some huge difference, I could detect none. Way to lean, and when boned, all the good gunk that cooks in a bone in that adds flavor was not there, waste of money in my mind.

thats funny because the berkridge butts are loaded with fat which is what i like about them. Lean is never an issue with them

landarc
11-04-2010, 02:28 PM
Bentley, not that I would suggest paying $5.99 a pound would ever make sense, but, you had to have gotten a bad butt. Or Snake River is selling a poorly conceived product, as the Berkshire pork I have cooked is anything but lean.

I am adding this, to the OP's point, I doubt I would spend the money to buy Berkshire for a competition for several reasons, just one of which is cost.

1. I am of the belief that in competition, a product that tastes too far from the expected is risky, you could easily find that your difference maker is disliked.

2. I am not sure that everyone will like the stronger flavor of pork, as most folks have gotten used to the leaner commodity hog pork that we are all fed now.

3. If you cook it a little long, the advantage of the fat renders from the meat, the difference is most clear in faster cooking cuts like chops.

BBQ Grail
11-04-2010, 02:31 PM
The best, finest and most flavorful pork I've every cooked was a Berkshire. Got some from the Fatted Calf in Napa. It was rolling around in the mud on Monday and was my plate on Friday...

Fat Woody
11-04-2010, 03:23 PM
I just read an ad in the last Bullsheet taken out by the Lotta Bull folks thanking their sponsors, one of which was Eden Farms, a consortium of farmers raising Berkshires in Iowa. Coincidence?

Got a couple butts in the freezer - one from the local grocer and another from a meat market specializing in locally raised Berkshire crosses. I plan to compare them and will try to remember to post opinions. The Berk cross was 2.89/lb, so I'd consider it for comps.

I recently finished reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and am currently reading "Pig Perfect" by Peter Kaminsky. Both books go into some detail describing the industrialization of American farming and the simultaneous loss of "old fashioned" flavors in many of the products we eat. Pork, like hot house tomatoes, farm-raised shrimp and dozens of other commodities, is now bred more for convenience and expedient marketing than taste.

Many of the Heritage breeds of pork have been pushed to near extinction in pursuit of "healthier", leaner, pork breeds. Ironically, the older breeds that were once finished in the pasture instead of fed all grain, generally have higher levels of monounsaturated fat (the good kind) than modern lean factory hogs.

Today's Berkshires and Durocs are also much smaller than their ancestors due to cross breeding by generations of farmers. Here's a cool website with info and resources regarding Heritage hog breeds and some folks efforts to help preserve them:

http://www.cochon555.com/home.php

Sorry if I got a bit off track, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

ique
11-04-2010, 04:22 PM
I've cooked whole 20lb+ Kurobuta pork shoulders from Snake River Farms at the Jack this year. Great product, really tasty. Not sure I'll continue using them in comp. Mostly for the reason Ryan points out, they butcher them different and are difficult to slice... great pulled meat though.

wjc261
11-04-2010, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the info. I think I am going to give it whirl and treat some of my friends. I am in St. Louis and my local butcher doesn’t carry Berkshire. Can anyone recommend a good St. Louis butcher or a good web / mail order vendor?

Thanks

Bill

E Mellow
11-05-2010, 01:39 PM
I've cooked whole 20lb+ Kurobuta pork shoulders from Snake River Farms at the Jack this year. Great product, really tasty. Not sure I'll continue using them in comp. Mostly for the reason Ryan points out, they butcher them different and are difficult to slice... great pulled meat though.


I am under the impression that to be called Berkshire the pig just has to be over 50% Berk. Where as to be sold as Kurabuta it is 100% Berkshire. There is less than a handful of places that have Kurabuta that I know of, SRF and there is a place here in St. Louis PFG Middendorf.

landarc
11-05-2010, 02:20 PM
I get kurobuta from a local Japanese food market. In America, I am pretty sure you can sell what we call Berkshire pork as Kurobuta, it is the Japanese food laws that define kurobuta as 100% Berkshire Black Hogs from certain herds. They also have a new pork called Golden Pork that I have not been able to get a handle on what the real hog is. I know it is only processed in Iowa, and that Armour holds the export license. It is supposed to be tastier than Berkshire.

ique
11-05-2010, 02:37 PM
I get kurobuta from a local Japanese food market. In America, I am pretty sure you can sell what we call Berkshire pork as Kurobuta, it is the Japanese food laws that define kurobuta as 100% Berkshire Black Hogs from certain herds. They also have a new pork called Golden Pork that I have not been able to get a handle on what the real hog is. I know it is only processed in Iowa, and that Armour holds the export license. It is supposed to be tastier than Berkshire.

I'm not sure the breed mix on the Snake River product, just know THEY call it kurobuta.

landarc
11-05-2010, 02:57 PM
I would take that as 100% if SRF says Kurobuta, they do a lot of business with Japanese breeders, I would suspect they honor their methods. I love SRF product, very high quality across the line.

swamprb
11-10-2010, 11:46 AM
I can't remember the brand name or the processor of these Berkshire/Kurobuta butts were, but they refer to them as CT butts or Close Trim, We used them a couple times and they didn't really justify spending the $$ on professional eaters for comps. But I will say I think they are mighty fine eating and will be cooking some soon!

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/IMG_2012.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/IMG_2011.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/IMG_2017.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/IMG_2034.jpg

Here are some my butcher ties up into roasts. We cooked them High Heat in pans, foiled and he served sliced. Can you say "money muscle"?

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/IMG_2045.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/IMG_2046.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/IMG_2056.jpg

They sell a lot to restaurants and caterers prepped this way. The CT butts are just over 5 lbs.

Bentley
11-10-2010, 01:17 PM
I want to try Mangalista, pronounced (MON-go-leet-sa). Hungarian breed. Wrote the company twice to see how I could obtain it, never responded, must have known I was a hack and they did not want me screwing up their product...

landarc
11-10-2010, 06:03 PM
Bentley, contact these folks.

http://woolypigs.com/

Yeah, I had a link for Magalitsa growers handy, what's yer point?

big matt
11-10-2010, 06:28 PM
Here are a few pics I took last night that were cooked on our new MAK 2 star..they were smoked with cherry..as you can see in the pic the bones were too long and crooked for comp but the meat tastes more porky if you will IMO,the color is also a little more red
http://i984.photobucket.com/albums/ae328/matt74_photos/5419fcee.jpg
http://i984.photobucket.com/albums/ae328/matt74_photos/71b6be88.jpg

Bentley
11-10-2010, 08:27 PM
Bentley, contact these folks.

http://woolypigs.com/

Yeah, I had a link for Magalitsa growers handy, what's yer point?


Thanks, but that's who blew me off twice!

landarc
11-10-2010, 08:43 PM
Wow, I did not have a problem with him. On the other hand, I tried it and found it was too much fat for me.

jestridge
11-10-2010, 09:20 PM
It have several factors , not just the breed , is what they eat , but the berk suppose to be the Mac daddy of pork the Jaspanese are crazy over it.

swamprb
11-11-2010, 07:21 AM
I want to try Mangalista, pronounced (MON-go-leet-sa). Hungarian breed. Wrote the company twice to see how I could obtain it, never responded, must have known I was a hack and they did not want me screwing up their product...

The guy in the Seattle area had a good buzz going a year ago, all the crirics were ga-ga over it. I tried to track it down at a couple of the Farmers markets and never did find it or him. I read he got shut down and sent packing for not having HD permits at one market that was supposed to be his big product debut, Also heard it was going for $25 lb and that's too rich for my blood. Hack or no!

Hawg Father of Seoul
11-11-2010, 11:42 AM
We are buying Berkshire for our pigs next year. Wish I could get my hands on a Mangalitsa, but no love here in the south. Rarer than hens teeth they say.

The owner of Daniels loves it and he knows good eats, but my tastes are too French for most.

landarc
11-11-2010, 01:28 PM
I found that Mangalitsa was just too rich in fat, I like fat, don't get me wrong here, but I don't want to eat pork belly all of the time. I was able to try it out and it is really really fatty, all the taste is fat. I truly prefer a pork product that has at least some flavor of meat in it, even though Berkshire hogs traditionally can be raised as lard hogs, they have meat in them. I would not shed a tear for not being able to get Maganlitsa.

jestridge
11-11-2010, 05:47 PM
I think the guy that imported the Mangalitsa isn't selling any breeding stock and the one that he does sell are barrow. They suppose to be great but they sure are one ugly hog.

jestridge
11-11-2010, 05:49 PM
http://www.themeatclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mangalitsa-pigs.jpg

Alexa RnQ
11-11-2010, 06:17 PM
OMG they're PRECIOUS!!! http://www.divaherself.com/funny/hearteyes.gif

Jeff_in_KC
11-11-2010, 06:32 PM
OMG they're PRECIOUS!!! http://www.divaherself.com/funny/hearteyes.gif

Precious hogs. Well, that's a first. :wink:

ique
11-11-2010, 08:07 PM
OMG they're PRECIOUS!!! http://www.divaherself.com/funny/hearteyes.gif

I was thinking more like DELICIOUS

Bentley
11-11-2010, 08:27 PM
Also heard it was going for $25 lb and that's too rich for my blood. Hack or no!


Thank you, I will not be looking for these anymore...$225 for a butt, thats a good one!

I will just stick to screwing up the $13 ones!

ClayHill
11-11-2010, 08:47 PM
Thank you, I will not be looking for these anymore...$225 for a butt, thats a good one!

I will just stick to screwing up the $13 ones!

right on!!!

ihbobry
11-11-2010, 08:54 PM
I used it once, it was a Snake River and it was boneless, it was $5.99/lb and my normal butts are about $1.49/lb. I expected it to be some huge difference, I could detect none. Way to lean, and when boned, all the good gunk that cooks in a bone in that adds flavor was not there, waste of money in my mind.

So your supplier could'nt get you a bone in to try or you just gave up?

Bentley
11-11-2010, 11:03 PM
So your supplier could'nt get you a bone in to try or you just gave up?


They said they only got boneless, it was a big mutha too, almost 9lbs. w/out bone, but for $5.99/lb, just not enough difference for me to justify golf money on it!

Scottie
11-12-2010, 10:09 AM
I was thinking more like DELICIOUS





I was thinking the same thing...

landarc
11-12-2010, 01:26 PM
Bentley, there was something wrong with the butt you got, it is exactly the opposite of the Berkshire butts I have gotten. Which have all been well marbled, small and tasty. That being said, is it worth an extra $3 a pound, that I don't know, probably not for competition purposes in my mind.

Coz
11-12-2010, 06:46 PM
I was thinking the same thing...


Has any one ever had any of the beef in Scotties pic? I know where theres a large herd and he butchers them to sell .I have not talked with any one who has had them just hear rumors.

Bentley
11-12-2010, 07:02 PM
Is that a Scottish Highland?

Coz
11-13-2010, 08:26 AM
Is that a Scottish Highland?



Thats what I was thinking.I have not talked with any one who has had it .I Have had folks saying good and bad but none have ever it any theirselves. A couple miles from where I work theres a good sized herd and I am told they butcher onsite and sell to restaraunts and such. I think I may stop in and ask a few questions.

Scottie
11-13-2010, 11:31 AM
It is a Scottish Highland. My uncle has a huge fold of them on the island that my mom grew up in the Hebridies . they are black kyloe's. Same breed, different color. They are lean, they don't have extra fat because of their fur. High quality meat. Not sure ifvthe marveling isvas high as Kobe, but similiar. I know that my uncle ships most of his meat for high end purchase. I should seebif he can ship me some briskets!!! ;)

Hawg Father of Seoul
11-13-2010, 11:46 AM
It is a Scottish Highland. My uncle has a huge fold of them on the island that my mom grew up in the Hebridies . they are black kyloe's. Same breed, different color. They are lean, they don't have extra fat because of their fur. High quality meat. Not sure ifvthe marveling isvas high as Kobe, but similiar. I know that my uncle ships most of his meat for high end purchase. I should seebif he can ship me some briskets!!! ;)

Those are typically the smaller highlands. Diet has a big impact on flavor. Wish I could get my hands on some that are grown on/near the peet.

Scottie
11-13-2010, 12:00 PM
Peat is all they have on Islay. It turns their famous whisky brown too. Probably why the beef tastes so good. ;)

Coz
11-13-2010, 01:04 PM
I guess I will have to stop and see the folks that have the herd I mentioned. Long winter need to try something new. once I get a cooker workin that is.

swamprb
11-14-2010, 10:51 AM
We just cooked a 60 lb pig and stuffed the cavity with boneless Berkshire butts.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2910.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2911.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2914.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2917.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2921.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2932.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2963.jpg

swamprb
11-14-2010, 10:58 AM
My butcher has been using Berkshire pork and he gave us a sausage seminar while the pig was cooking.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2933.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2936.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2937.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2940.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2942.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Butcher%20Shop%20Cafe/BSC%20Whole%20Hog/IMG_2944.jpg

Good stuff!

landarc
11-14-2010, 12:57 PM
I don't know if I have mentioned this before Brian, but, I am insanely jealous that you and JD have access to a butcher like this guy. I am just gonna throw Michael in there as well. I know, I just know he is getting meat from this guy too. All that incredible beef and now this!

AZScott
11-14-2010, 12:59 PM
I decided to try using Hampshire pork in a comp I competed in yesterday. I purchased two butts, 2 racks of loin backs, 2 racks of St. Louis ribs. The ribs were around $5.15 a pound and the butt was $5.90 a pound.

When I opened the cryovac packages I found that all but 1 rack had 2-4 shiners each. Yikes. I ended up purchasing 2 more racks on the way to the competition to give me 3. One of the two butts had a good money muscle so I used that one and I also used a boneless butt from Costco that I used as a control. I used those two weeks prior and placed 9th using the exact same injection, sauce, etc.

When it came time for turn in's we tasted all three racks of bb ribs and couldn't distinguish what was what by taste. One of the thickest racks, Safeway BB's, was the juiciest so we went with that. Unfortunately, we overcooked the ribs a bit and had our worst showing in ribs yet. The Hampshire pork butt was incredibly juicy but at the same time incredibly fatty. The money muscle had a thick vein of fat running through it that clearly showed the 5 or so muscles that run through it. We went with it since the taste was better than the Costco butt. Chunks came from it as well since I paid $50 butt and wanted that butt to own the box.

When the results were handed out the pork came in 15th and the ribs 41st out of 49 teams. I would not even remotely consider using specialty pork butts again due to the high fat content and the cost. Pork butts are already fatty enough and although the flavor was a little better it was not worth the money to me. The ribs were trimmed way too tight leaving me with shiners and saying a few choice words on Thursday night. If I could go through fresh ribs without cryovac I would try them again but then again, that's starting to become a rule of mine. My freezer is starting to get full from ribs with shiners or butts with small mm's.