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Anyone heard of "Berkshire Heritage" pork? Eaten any??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wife ordered 2 racks of it for an Xmas crown roast. I'd never heard of it til then; I almost thought she was mixing up the meat and investment worlds (and given the price, maybe she is!).

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone here has ever had it - and if you have, your opinion on it.
post #2 of 20
Here is what they say about their pork...

Berkshire meat is elegant, luscious and smooth. The streaks of fat that run through Berkshire meat give it a round and buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The firm and substantial texture of Berkshire meat was so cherished by the British monarchy that they exported the breed all over the world, including Japan where it is called Korobuta. Our Certified Humane Berkshires are raised by a group of small family farmers in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. We know our Berkshires are purebred because they all have six white spots, one each on the tip of their feet and one each on the nose and tail. Unlike factory farm pigs, which have been bred to grow quickly in indoor environments, Berkshires have bred for maximum taste. Berkshire meat is so good it can be prepared with almost no additional ingredients save salt and pepper.

And their overall heritage production...

The farms and foods that once sustained our forefathers as they settled this great land are now endangered. Farms are going belly up every day and the foods small farms raise are being lost forever because they are ignored by industrial agriculture. Just as the Bald Eagle and Panda Bear are on the brink of extinction in the wild, so are numerous varieties of livestock like Bourbon Red turkeys, Red Wattle pigs, Tunis sheep, Barred-Plymouth Rock chickens and Iroquois corn flour. If we want to save them, we must eat them! And Heritage Foods USA exists to help accomplish this goal by selling foods from small farms to consumers and wholesale accounts.
post #3 of 20
Think of Berkshires as being similar to Angus beef. That both are black is a coincidence. Purebred isn't a necessity for good pork, but you have to understand the competition.

Most commercial hogs these days are a mixture several breeds, bred for uniformity of size, fat, etc. They fit high volume kill floors better if they are all the same size. A butt is a butt is a butt (or ham, or loin, etc) if they are all near exact clones of each other. A homogeneous commodity. I toured the Premium Standard kill plant at Milan, Missouri a few years ago, and in one cooler they had about 50 sides hanging in a line on one rail and you could have pulled a chalk line down them and not have been off more than an inch.

You can probably be assured that a Berkshire is grown by a small family farm. Maybe on dirt (enter trichinosis) and perhaps organic if that matters. Beyond that, better or worse will be in the eye of the beholder.
post #4 of 20
It is good. It actually has some flavor to the meat vs what you get in stores.

I like Duroc as well and seems easy to get your hands on also if are looking for something outside of the normal Sams/Grocery store stuff.

But like Hog just said better or worse is in the eye of the beholder.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
The verdict is in: Berkshire Heritage pork lives up to its billing. It was absolutely fantastic. Just lightly salted and peppered, with a few leaves of fresh sage on the fatback. Then into the oven at 325 with the bones up, and turned it after an hour to put the fatback up. It hit an internal temp of 145 after 2 hours 20 minutes. Took it out and let it rest while I made an au jus from the drippings (AFTER skimming a full 2 cups of fat off the top!), and served perfect medium-rare chops..... awesome. We'll have those again soon.
post #6 of 20
Pics are bit blurry. PDT_Armataz_01_19.gif

Glad you enjoyed it. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Actually, my wife took pics of it before it went in... we were too busy serving 18 guests to remember to take pics when cooked. I'll try to post them in the next day or two.
One guest didn't enjoy it PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif he took the end chop off the platter, and then complained that it was too dry!!! There were a dozen MOIST center chops on that platter...... At restaurants, he has an annoying habit of sending stuff back. Now I know why. Clearly he doesn't know his way around the kitchen, around food - anyone with any sense would have known that the end piece of a roast that's been in the oven over 2 hours will be a bit dry. What kills me is that I like that bark, and wanted that end for myself PDT_Armataz_01_06.gif
post #8 of 20
Some folks are just like that. His loss.
post #9 of 20
This is great to hear, we have a farm nearby that raises Berkshire Pork. I kept hearing how great it was but i also heard that about alot of things lol

I didn't want to spend the money and then be disappointed, I shall give it a try
post #10 of 20
Berkshire is really good pork. Go see them and get some good stuff.
post #11 of 20
I haven't had the pleasure of trying it myself, but have been told it is what pork used to taste like years ago in this country before the fat and flavor was bread out of it!
I guess I will have to look around for it and try it... I wonder how it would do in competition?
post #12 of 20
They have that little more natural taste to them like a deer that eats corn and other food crops compared to the deer that eats natural grasses and other natural foods. The Bershires are fed acorns often to get that more natural taste. It's a well taken care of pig that gets ameneties a hog farm pig does not. But anything off a pig is good in my book.
post #13 of 20
Would anyone recommend doing anything different when it comes to Berkshire during brining or smoking that you wouldn't normally do??
post #14 of 20
We have wholesale meat place nearby, they are a conglomeration of farmers/slaughterhouse/marketing company. they are a true breeding to freezer company with beef and pork. They have Berkshire and black Angus line, slightly more cost, but it sells. I buy the "black" meats when ever I get a case of meat to be used up at the same time.
post #15 of 20

Berkshire pork is really good,  great flavor, and really nice marbeling.  Much better than anything you can buy in a store, and a step above other fresh pork breeds.


I have located a local Berkshire pig farm, and am going out there this Saturday to take a look a round, and get some  spare ribs from the guy who owns it. 


The price for this top shelf pork isnt going to be much more expensive than I pay right now for the other fresh pork I get. 

Edited by chisoxjim - 6/25/10 at 12:59pm
post #16 of 20

Lucky you!!!

post #17 of 20

at $3.00 per pound for the spares Id say so.   

post #18 of 20

pig has been processed, Berkshire spares are waiting for me to pick em' up tomorrow. 


Fixin' to fire up my loaner 22.5" WSM and see how much fuel I can burn.

post #19 of 20


Edited by chisoxjim - 6/30/10 at 11:27am
post #20 of 20

I'm actually trying to find someplace to buy Berkshire pork in Central Connecticut..i use it for the dried sausages I make and it is delicious! 

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