Best place to order "heritage" pork from? Best breed?

Matt B.

TVWBB Super Fan
After reading up on how pork has had a lot of the fat bred out of it so that it could be marketed as "the other white meat", I've wanted to try some of the older breeds to see what it used to be like before the pencil pushers got ahold of things. I've heard a lot about Berkshire and Duroc, but I really don't know what's what and who's who. I've done pulled pork with the shoulder of a young, wild pig I shot and found it to be delicious.

I'm mostly thinking about shoulder and ribs, if that matters. Not trying to do any charcuterie or other fancy stuff. Just barbecue. I'm not necessarily looking for the cheapest price, because my research shows that any way you go in this market is going to be pretty expensive and I'm ok with that. I assume some people on here have been down this road and seen where the quality and value are in the market. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

timothy

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Shop local. I see your in Texas and you guys are famous for beef, but here in the Midwest I find local farmers who raise hogs.
Heritage breed or local farm raised will blow the doors off commodity pork any day.
I try to buy a whole or split a half/ quarter with friends/ family .
Hanging weight on a pig ain't much so it goes fast.
Tim
 

Brad Olson

TVWBB Guru
Matt, I plugged "houston heritage pork" (without the quotes) into Mr. Google and got some good results. Here are three, but I have no experience with them.




And you're right - you won't be paying HEB prices for heritage pork. I was looking at the order form for a local-to-me place that I'm thinking about trying: $6/lb for spares. $8/lb for chops. $9/lb for shoulder. $11/lb for bacon. You get the picture.

Duroc, Berkshire and Red Wattle are the breeds I most frequently see. I tried Mangalitsa for the first time last summer and it's unique; if you can find any it's worth the money to try it at least once.

But even if you buy non-heritage pork, if the pig was pastured, ate what it wanted and led a good life (up until the last 10 seconds or so) it'll still be better than commodity pork.
 
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Matt B.

TVWBB Super Fan
Thanks guys,

I'll take a look at some of the local butcher shops. We also have a lot of mexican meat markets around here that can probably get locally raised hogs. I know some of them will sell whole and half hogs if you ask. We have some halal places, too. Obviously no good for pork, but it might be fun to try some goat. If worst comes to worst, we'll see about the mail-order option.

Once all this virus nonsense is over and I can venture into the city again, I'll take a look at those fancy meat markets downtown. I'm not sure I'm ready to pay $9/lb for shoulder, but we'll see what they've got. I saw one of them advertising $50/lb ribeye. I've had some good steaks, but $50/lb is maybe a little too good for me!
 

timothy

TVWBB Hall of Fame
But even if you buy non-heritage pork, if the pig was pastured, ate what it wanted and led a good life (up until the last 10 seconds or so) it'll still be better than commodity pork.
Last year I split a hog with my Son. Local farmer who only raised like 20 pigs a year, all natural and he treated them with respect.
I think we paid a little over $ 2.00 lb hanging weight. So I got a belly, 20# fresh leg ( Ham) which I cured. Ribs, loin and sirloin roasts, chops, sausage and a bunch of grind ( ground) which we used with venison to make our own sausage.
The taste compared to supermarket pork isn't even close.;)

Tim
 

Matt B.

TVWBB Super Fan
Actually, funny as it sounds, H-E-B does in fact carry Berkshire bone-in butts (and a lot of other berkshire stuff) at their Central Market store. At 4.29/lb I think I can swing it!
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
When we roasted a pig for our wedding, it had been raised for its last two weeks on past dated chocolate milk and it was MARVELOUS! The farmer also ran a dairy business so that was a real treat, dressed it was 250 pounds roasted for 20 hours, it was the best roast pig I have ever had!
I believe it was a Yorkshire IIRC.
 

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