Discovering the Unique Delights of Heritage Pork

Unveiling the Flavorful Berkshire Heritage Breed Pork Chops

Grilled Berkshire Heritage Breed Pork Chop

A Refreshing Garden Salad to Complement the Savory Chops

Grilled Apples, Blueberries, Roasted Walnuts & White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Are you looking to elevate your summer grilling game? It’s time to explore a new realm of flavors, beyond the usual suspects of marinated pork tenderloin, baby back ribs, and brats. Step into the world of Berkshire heritage breed pork chops, also known as Kurobuta Pork, and brace yourself for an incredible gustatory experience that feels like discovering a new and exciting animal!

In the past, pigs were fed meat products, making raw or undercooked pork a potential health hazard. As a result, pork chops were cooked within an inch of their lives, resulting in thin, tough, jerky-like meat. However, the advent of Shake N’ Bake in 1965 changed the game, allowing for fully cooked pork chops with a crispy coating that kept the meat moist. A revolutionary concept indeed!

Over time, farmers transitioned to raising pigs on grains, eliminating the risks associated with undercooked pork. This shift resulted in larger herds and leaner pigs with less fat and more muscle. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of flavor. While we can now enjoy a slightly pink center in our pork chop, even the slightest overcooking can leave us with a tough piece of meat.

Thankfully, there are farmers who hearken back to history, raising and preserving the cherished heritage breed of Berkshire hogs. The American Berkshire Association, established in 1875, registers all Berkshire pigs, ensuring purity of the breed. Much like Wagyu is to beef, Berkshire pork is renowned for its exceptional flavor and moist texture, thanks to the fine streaks of fat interwoven throughout the muscle. Raised on small farms with ample space to roam, both indoors and outdoors, these hogs feed on grass from pastures and are free from antibiotics or hormones. Even their deep rich pink coloring sets them apart from the usual white meat.

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But where did the name “Kurobuta” come from? Its roots trace back to 17th-century England, specifically the shire of Berks. The Berkshire hogs were owned by the English royalty. Over 300 years ago, the British government presented Japan with a diplomatic gift—the famed Berkshire Hog. Impressed by its quality, the Japanese began breeding these hogs, dubbing them “Kurobuta” (Black Hog). The pureness of the breed was meticulously maintained. In short, Kurobuta and Berkshire Pork refer to the same breed. Small-scale US farmers who raise this heritage breed interchangeably use both names.

To truly embrace the magnificence of these pork chops, treat them like fine steaks. Rub them with seasonings that enhance their deep flavors and sear them to perfection. Pair these mouthwatering chops with a refreshing summer salad, brimming with grilled apples, blueberries, roasted walnuts, and a tangy white balsamic vinaigrette.

To ensure a smooth preparation process, here’s a helpful rundown:

  1. Create the White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  2. Prepare the Herbed Dry Rub for the Pork.
  3. Toast the Walnuts (these three steps can be done a day ahead).
  4. Cut the Apples and drizzle them with Lemon Juice.

Now, it’s time to embark on a journey of culinary delight. Delve into the world of heritage pork and savor every succulent bite. Experience the nuanced richness and tenderness that only the Berkshire breed can offer. Elevate your grilling game this summer and indulge in the flavors that have been carefully preserved throughout history.

To learn more about the delectable offerings of heritage pork, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.

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