Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BBQ Pork

All pork is not created equal.

Meat from one of the traditional breeds, sometimes referred to as "heritage" breeds of swine such as Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spots, Tamworths, and Large Blacks, is generally more flavorful than pork from the popular commercial breeds. We consumers have resorted to downing our pork in sauce to add some flavor to what would otherwise be bland, white and tasteless.

The more "modernized breeds" have been bred more lean and long for commercial reasons and to maximize return on investment for the "company" farms and as a result the pork purchased in most grocery stores today do not have the same flavor that pork had 50-years ago or more.

The heritage breeds generally have more marbling and frankly more fat and thus, more flavor. The heritage breeds have been called "the other red meat" in direct contrast to the popular "the other white meat" slogan publicized by the commercial pork industry in recent years.

The heritage breeds are not very prevalent in the industry today, but they are making a comeback as an alternative breed for small-scale farmers attempting to fill niche market demand from specialty consumers.

This trend is carrying over into other areas of agriculture too including turkey, chickens and beef cattle.

So, if you have a choice, choose one of the "heritage" breeds for your next barbecue. You'll be in for a treat, and you'll most likely be helping the "little guy" compete in the new agriculture economy where specialty and high-quality can still win out versus mass production.

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