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I have a relative that is raising Berkshire hogs on his farm. It's pretty refreshing because he and his wife are doing it just like his grandparents(who I used to stay with every summer and help on the farm) did it. Electric fence, a barn and letting them choose whether they are outside in the pasture or inside the barn.

Anyways I just bought one of the hogs to fill the freezer. I usually kill,cut up and process myself with a friend but it's too busy at work so a local butcher is going to do the initial processing for me but leaving it in big enough sections that I can still do my own thing.

 

Does anyone else use Berkshire hogs? I know they have more fat and a different taste than the confinement industry pigs but I am not sure if they require different techniques for example if you do pulled pork, bacon or other things.

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It will be interesting to hear how you like it.  When I was young, lo these many years ago, my uncle was a farmer in Wisconsin (not in the good farming part) and he raised some pigs.  They lived in a big fenced in pasture and got fed scraps as well as  whey from the local cheese factory.   Probably some sort of mixed assorted crossbreeds. 

 

We would help butcher in the fall and bring back pork and beef (also mostly pasture/grass/hay fed).  

 

The meat was a little chewy to put it mildly.  And the beef was sort of gamey.  

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I hear what you are saying Del. I have had pork and beef that I would rather not taste again. The hog was one my dad had roasted for a family party. Not sure where the got got the pig but I swear I could taste the pig pen in parts of the meat. The beef was a roast given to us and the did not finish it at all. I have had venison that was less gamey tasting if that is such a word. Very tough as well.

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Berkshire pork is highly regarded.Here is a snippet of info:

http://greenvalleyfarmct.com/green-valley-farm-berkshire-pork/

Quote

Why Berkshire pork? Taste the difference!

You may have heard of Berkshire pork, it’s on the menu of many fancy restaurants, such as Spago’s in Beverley Hills or the French Laundry in California. It is also referred to as Kurobuta – meaning black pig in Japanese (Berkshire pork is very popular in Japan).

Berkshire pork is a heritage breed of pig, which was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. It is thought by many to be the Kobe beef of pork. It is said to have a very specific taste, not generic and bland or mild like regular pork.

Berkshire pork is prized for juiciness, flavor and tenderness, is pink-hued and heavily marbled.

The Berkshire’s originated from England. They were specially bred for the King of England for his own personal meat supply, because of the excellence in the meat!

Today Berkshire Pork is the most highly sought after pork in the world. Berkshire pork looks and tastes like no other pork. Unlike commodity pork or “The Other White Meat” Berkshire pork is visibly different. It has a darker richer color with an abundance of intramuscular marbling. Its flavor is distinctive with an unparalleled juiciest and tenderness for pork.

 

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17 minutes ago, delcecchi said:

I hope yours is great.  Much depends on how the pigs are raised and fed. 

 

 

What kind of husbandry and dietary intake should a person look for when considering a Berkshire pig for the freezer?

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1 hour ago, PurpleFloyd said:

What kind of husbandry and dietary intake should a person look for when considering a Berkshire pig for the freezer?

Up to you and your consideration.  I personally would look for a pig that eats well, including plentiful grain, and doesn't get a lot of exercise.  Your preferences might be different.   My preferences are based on my experience, limited and ancient as it might be.  Only way to know for sure is to try it and see,   At the very worst you are out a couple hundred bucks, right? 

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1 hour ago, delcecchi said:

Up to you and your consideration.  I personally would look for a pig that eats well, including plentiful grain, and doesn't get a lot of exercise.  Your preferences might be different.   My preferences are based on my experience, limited and ancient as it might be.  Only way to know for sure is to try it and see,   At the very worst you are out a couple hundred bucks, right? 

Lol

 

I have never seen a healthy pig in my life that doesn't eat well. There might even be a phrase about that or something:grin:

 

This pork will be awesome and far better than the factory style confinement pork you are used to eating. The toughness in the pork you ate as a kid was more than likely a product of being cooked wrong than it being tough because it was pen raised.

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17 hours ago, PurpleFloyd said:

Lol

 

I have never seen a healthy pig in my life that doesn't eat well. There might even be a phrase about that or something:grin:

 

This pork will be awesome and far better than the factory style confinement pork you are used to eating. The toughness in the pork you ate as a kid was more than likely a product of being cooked wrong than it being tough because it was pen raised.

 

The "pen" was like 8 acres.   And it was cooked just fine, thank you.   Fry a pork chop.  Cooked to the standard of the day, which was appropriate for hogs that foraged and ate who knows what.  

 

We are not talking about those "free range" things that have have like a 10 foot square "pen".   These were half way to feral.

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2 hours ago, delcecchi said:

 

The "pen" was like 8 acres.   And it was cooked just fine, thank you.   Fry a pork chop.  Cooked to the standard of the day, which was appropriate for hogs that foraged and ate who knows what.  

 

We are not talking about those "free range" things that have have like a 10 foot square "pen".   These were half way to feral.

Fine for the day was still overcooked. I understand what you meant by pen size and that had nothing to do with making meat tough but it was Wisconsin so who knows what the genetics were. For all we know they were bred with sheep or locals.:grin:

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1 hour ago, swamptiger said:

They probably still eat pig poop though, even with that fine breeding and all.

 

 

I have yet to see a pig in any form of captivity that won't. But the Berkies are convinced their $#!t don't stink.:grin:

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4 hours ago, PurpleFloyd said:

Fine for the day was still overcooked. I understand what you meant by pen size and that had nothing to do with making meat tough but it was Wisconsin so who knows what the genetics were. For all we know they were bred with sheep or locals.:grin:

Funny, the commercial pork from the store cooked the same way wasn't tough.     As for genetics, they were pigs.   Probably mongrels.  

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So now you are contending that there was commercially produced pork sold in stores when you were a kid? 

The whole hog confinement industry didn't really start until the 80's and didn't kick into high gear until the 90's as far as I know.

 

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1 hour ago, PurpleFloyd said:

So now you are contending that there was commercially produced pork sold in stores when you were a kid? 

The whole hog confinement industry didn't really start until the 80's and didn't kick into high gear until the 90's as far as I know.

 

The pork in grocery stores and supermarkets in the 60's &70''s was certainly raised commercially.   

 

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Pig chops in the 60's were far fattier than the lean meat produced today. Also, at least in my house, they were fried way too long until they were tough like an old skwirrel. No "low and slow" back then that I remember...maybe because people were yapping about "getting worms" from pork and poultry. I remember that..... :eek:

 

    • Time - Phrase
    • 01:25:11 -What's going on up there? -Nothing. We'll be right down.

    • 01:25:15 You stay away from that turkey! lt's got an hour to cook.

    • 01:25:17 You'll get worms!

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6 hours ago, RebelSS said:

Pig chops in the 60's were far fattier than the lean meat produced today. Also, at least in my house, they were fried way too long until they were tough like an old skwirrel. No "low and slow" back then that I remember...maybe because people were yapping about "getting worms" from pork and poultry. I remember that..... :eek:

 

    • Time - Phrase
    • 01:25:11 -What's going on up there? -Nothing. We'll be right down.

    • 01:25:15 You stay away from that turkey! lt's got an hour to cook.

    • 01:25:17 You'll get worms!

Yes. That is my belief as well. Cooked too long at too high of a temperature led to dry,chewy pork. If Gramma would have marinated it and cooked it slowly over a smaller flame the flavor it would have been much better.

If you cook the lower fat commodity pork that same way it will be just as tough and chewy because the fat content is lower.

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My Mom grew up on an old dirt farm in North Dakota during the depression. Her Mother taught her to cook the p*i$$ out of all meats because they didn't have refrigeration. 

When I was growing up we had the best of all meats. Home raised, corn fed beef, pork and chicken. The only problem is my Mom cooked every one of those pieces of meat until it was dead 3 more times! I never had what I would consider today, a good piece of meat. I'm sure it would have been great if it had been cooked like we do now. Dad seemed to like it that way though....

When my parents were a little younger, they used to travel to visit relatives down south every so often. When they used to visit my Dad's sister in Arkansas, they used to come back and complain about the meat they ate down there. In Arkansas because there are so many chicken farms, the farmers would feed the beef cows chicken by-products for protein.  They swore they could taste the chicken but my aunt and uncle loved it. I guess it's all in what your taste buds are used to.

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"Try the beef..it tastes just like chicken!!"   :lol:  I think ya hit the nail on he head on that one, BD.  The parents that grew up during the depression years, ate what they had, and there wasn't much experimenting with it as far as delectable ways to cook it. They had to really stretch any money and food, and make it count...so it had to fill the belly without worrying too much about how tasty it was. I was never able to cook a steak on the grill for my Mom, because she didn't want that "charcoal taste"....when she did cook on the grill, foil went down first, and steak and everything was cooked well-done. Frozen veggies are still tossed in a pot with water to cook by her. Old ways die hard.

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4 hours ago, PurpleFloyd said:

Yes. That is my belief as well. Cooked too long at too high of a temperature led to dry,chewy pork. If Gramma would have marinated it and cooked it slowly over a smaller flame the flavor it would have been much better.

If you cook the lower fat commodity pork that same way it will be just as tough and chewy because the fat content is lower.

Yet the grocery store pork, cooked by the same people in the same way was more tender and more edible than the home grown, pasture raised, free range etc pork from Wisconsin.    Same with the beef.   Heck, I think moose meat was better than the homegrown beef. (no corn in that part of the country)

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28 minutes ago, delcecchi said:

Yet the grocery store pork, cooked by the same people in the same way was more tender and more edible than the home grown, pasture raised, free range etc pork from Wisconsin.    Same with the beef.   Heck, I think moose meat was better than the homegrown beef. (no corn in that part of the country)

It was? where'd ya hear that?

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2 hours ago, delcecchi said:

Yet the grocery store pork, cooked by the same people in the same way was more tender and more edible than the home grown, pasture raised, free range etc pork from Wisconsin.    Same with the beef.   Heck, I think moose meat was better than the homegrown beef. (no corn in that part of the country)

Pictures or it didn't happen

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