Originating from Britain, Berkshire is the most popular of the heritage breeds. Known as “Kurobuta” in Japan, this pig is black with white legs, and has become a favorite with chefs because of its intramuscular marbling. The breed yields a brighter pork than most, and features a thick, delicious fat cap. The meat is sweet and creamy with hints of nuttiness, which is typical of the finishing process in several areas.
While it remains challenged, it is possible that the Tamworth originated from Ireland before being bred extensively in England. Smaller in comparison, the Tamworth has a reddish coat, muscular top, rounded back, upright ears and a long snout. Its disposition is very rugged, thrifty and active. Known for its ample belly “aka the best bacon hog”, the Tamworth displays a firm trim jowl and underline with muscular hams.
The Yorkshire breed was developed in England in the county of York. The modern Yorkshire is white in color, with erect ears, and is the most recorded swine breed in the United States. It is very muscular pig, with with a large frame know for raising large litters in addition to being very sound and durable on pasture. The Yorkshire has a high proportion of lean meat and low backfat.
Originating from England, the Gloucestershire Old Spot is a critically rare breed. Nicknamed “orchard pig”, the Old Spot is white with black spots, has floppy ears and a medium-sized body. Known for its higher fat ratio, the breed remains remarkably hardy with flavorful meat, excellent for aging abilities and a gentle temperament, making it popular with farmers. The meat has a distinctive layer of back fat, which adds to the succulent flavor overall.
Originating from New Caledonia, a French Island in the South Pacic, the Red Wattle gets its name from its red color and the fleshy skin that hangs under its jowls. is extremely rare breed adapts to climates well and is an excellent forager. It is prized for its tender meat and splendid hams. Red Wattle pork is lean and juicy with a rich beef-like taste and texture.
Originated from the blending of two strains of hogs from New Jersey and New York in 1830. This breed has long been known for its ability to grow faster on less feed. Duroc is high in marbling (small flecks of fat within the muscle) making its spareribs and shoulder roasts sweet & juicy.
The English breed, Hampshire is known for its amazing carcass, hardy vigor and superior fat to meat ratio in the belly and loin. The trim, fine-coated Hampshire is black with a white saddle, which includes the forelegs. Recent selection has improved the breed’s growing ability, and its carcass is among the highest in quality and quantity of meat.
Originating from the U.S., the Mulefoot is a black hog named for its solid hoof, which resembles a mule. Critically rare, this breed recently won several blind taste tests against eight dierent heritage breeds. The Mulefoot’s disposition is docile, and weight gain is between 400-600 pounds before age two. Known for its premium hams, the superior tasting meat is red with freckled marbling.
Originating from Hungary in the early 1800’s, the Mangalitsa is a very rare breed, and is said to be the Wagyu of pork. The breed is characterized by its course, wooly coat and ability to withstand extreme conditions. Mangalitsa pork is known for its high-quality, lard-type fat, and its high percentage of marbling, which doubles that of average pork. The Mangalitsa yields juicy and flavorful meat.
Originating from Chinese breeds brought to England, the Large Black is a critically rare breed known for its taste, pasture foraging skills and overall hardiness. Large Blacks have short black hair, wide shoulders and a long body. When harvested, even at 200 pounds, the micro-marbling, short muscle fibers and excellent bellies produce exceptional bacon and moist meat with old world flavor.
Originating from Spain, and of Iberian decent, this feral breed lives o the coast of Georgia on Ossabaw Island. ey are small range pigs, meaning they are isolated foragers. ey have a heavy coat and long snout. Extremely rare, this breed has a high percentage of healthy monounsaturated fat and makes great charcuterie. The quality of their fat and marbling has increased their popularity within the chef community.
Kunekune Pigs are the only breed of swine known to fatten on grass with so very little needed in the way of supplementation. Their wide head, dished face, and short, upturned snout speaks to their tendency to graze rather than root. They produce a quality, marbled meat as well as a good quantity of useable fat.
OTHER NOTABLE BREEDS: GUINEA HOG, HEREFORD, POLAND CHINA, MIESHAN, CHESTER WHITE, IBERIAN, EUROPEAN WILD, LACOMBE, ESSEX SADDLEBACK, LANDRACE