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Grades of pork

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    Grades of pork

    When looking at beef in grocery stores, I'm used to seeing the USDA grading standards of Prime, Choice, or (unmarked). That helps my buying decision. When I look at pork ribs, I don't see any grading indication.

    Does this mean pork ribs sold at Costco, my local grocery store, or the discount grocer are all about the same? Are pork products from some slaughterhouses better than others?

    #2
    I realized I didnt know the answer so dug a little and...

    https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safet...ork-farm-table

    Is pork graded?


    Although inspection is mandatory, its grading for quality is voluntary, and a plant pays to have its pork graded. USDA grades for pork reflect only two levels: "Acceptable" grade and "Utility" grade. Pork sold as Acceptable quality pork is the only fresh pork sold in supermarkets. It should have a high proportion of lean meat to fat and bone. Pork graded as Utility is mainly used in processed products and is not available in supermarkets for consumers to purchase.
    Learn something new every day...

    Comment


    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      That said, breeds have an effect on the meat as well as how it's raised, of course.

    #3
    From what I understand pork is graded on expected yield of the animal, not the quality of the meat. I think this is because commercial pork as a whole has very little deviation in one animal to the next, and who owns the plant it was butchered and processed at make very little difference. There is a clear difference in meat quality if you buy one of "heritage" breeds of pork, but you pay a hefty premium for that difference.

    Comment


      #4
      The main brands of pork that are considered better than grocery store are called Berkshire and Iberico.

      https://www.dartagnan.com/what-is-berkshire-pork.html

      https://mmmediterranean.com/iberico-pork/

      Both can be found online but can be hard to find locally.

      Comment


      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        Berkshire is my favorite, but don't forget duroc, mangalitsa, and red wattle

      #5
      Pork is processed differently as well. Hormel seems to inject everything with a saline solution. Best pay attention to the date if you buy enhanced ribs. They will cure over time and look like ham when cooked. I like Hormel ribs for competition, not so much for butts. With the rule change in KCBS pork for this year, the smaller butts can be used. I've tried the D'Artagnon pork collar and liked the result. I also like Swift, Tyson, Smithfield and Prairie Fresh. All of these in the "natural" not enhanced category.

      Comment


      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        Have you ever competed with any of the heritage breeds, or do you stick to the blank canvas of commodity pork?

      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        I do love the 'natural' label on things like this... as opposed to artificial meat???

      • SmokingPat
        SmokingPat commented
        Editing a comment
        Is the curing effect of a saline solution a good thing or a bad thing?

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