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Is Heritage Breed worth it? What say you?

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    Is Heritage Breed worth it? What say you?

    I am curious as to The Pit's thoughts on heritage breed. I know Meathead is a fan. The reason I ask is because, I bit the bullet and bought some Kurobuta chops from SRF. It did them SVQ with S&P and finished on the gasser. Don't get me wrong they were good, but for the money I was not blown away. I also got some St Louis ribs that I will do tomorrow, so will give it another chance, but wanted to see what you folks say.

    #2
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    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      Me too

    #3
    I did some from SRF as well and it's nothing I would pay for again. Even without the price consideration, my Costco finds taste better to me. I'm open to anyone that wants to ship me something else to compare against...

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      #4
      A friend of mine is a farmer and he has given me heritage. Delish! There was a massive fat cap on it. If you are paying SRF prices for that fat ratio, you’re unhappy!
      A lot of good stories from his farms (think a kid who grew up in suburbia herding cattle)!
      Last edited by richinlbrg; July 5, 2020, 07:29 AM.

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      • Donw
        Donw commented
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        We really like our locally produced heritage pork and can tell a difference not only in taste but also color. However, agreeing with richinlbrg , if I had to pay SRF prices we would eat a lot less of it for sure.

      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        Same here. All of the heritage pork we've had has been from small producers, bought as a whole or half animal. So the prices were very reasonable. The "boutique" specialist seller prices tend to be out of range for us mere mortals. Not to say the small producer product isn't more expensive than "normal", but it tends to be within reason.

        The quality is noticeably higher for the the heritage breed meats we've had.

      #5
      I'm not sure SVQ is the best technique for something like Kurobuta (Berkshire) pork chops. Sometimes when people pay a lot for something they want to prepare it elaborately. Often, elaborate prep was a way to compensate for toughness, or blandness. I think that sometimes the "fancier" the meat the simpler the prep you can get away with.

      The best pork chops I ever had were cut from a Black Gascon pig that had been raised in an open pasture with oak trees, so it's feed was supplemented with acorns. I've been looking for that taste again for years.

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        #6
        I ordered a lot of Compart Duroc, and I’ve been eating quite a bit of pork over the last month.

        I have to say I agree with you. While it is really good, it is not that much better than the Hatfield pork that we get from Wegman’s. If it is better at all. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m not sure I could tell them apart in a blind taste test. (Hatfield is pretty good, IMO.)

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          #7
          I have a local farmer that raises Duroc Berkshire crosses. For the price difference, I absolutely think that’s its worth it over commodity pork. I pay $5/lb for the whole hog including processing. The bacon alone is life changing

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          • ComfortablyNumb
            ComfortablyNumb commented
            Editing a comment
            It's interesting how some people get hung up on a breed, "I will only buy purebred Berkshire." But really, cross breeding can produce meat that has the best of both breeds and is truly unique. I used to raise purebred Herefords, but the ones I crossed with Duroc/York/Hamps or Large Blacks were far superior.

          • Backroadmeats
            Backroadmeats commented
            Editing a comment
            So you pay 1000$ for a whole hog including processing?? Just asking because that is twice the going rate in mn.

          • USMCCrashCrew89
            USMCCrashCrew89 commented
            Editing a comment
            As far as costs goes, I guess I phrased that poorly. I pay 5/lbs per pound of meat that I receive. It works out to around $650.

          #8
          First, understand what 'heritage' means. These aren't the breeds used for factory farming, nor are they raised with factory farm practices. They are produced by small scale producers who have greater expense per head, so you will pay more for it. Ordering from a retailer will only add to that cost. I recommend purchasing a weaner pig and raising it up yourself. Admittedly that isn't practical for everyone. If the breeder sells butcher stock purchase one from them and have it custom processed. If they don't sell butcher stock, ask them to contract raise it for you. I used to sell a weaner and then charge a monthly fee to feed it until the customer was ready to harvest. Either way, you'll not only get your meat at a lower cost, you'll know exactly what it is and how it was raised.

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          • Uncle Bob
            Uncle Bob commented
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            Fine tutorial!

          • Backroadmeats
            Backroadmeats commented
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            I agree. Good genetics + good feed= good pork. If not fed properly or start with bad genetics you will get poor pork.. also to add to ComfortablyNumb cross bred comment. When animals are cross bred the stronger traits come out and the weaker ones go away. That is the main reason for cross breeding .

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            These are very good points Numbr. My concerns are really for the way commodity pork is raised and processed. Even though having my own pig is not exactly what a suburbanite wants or needs, I agree that the small farmers produce a better quality meat.

          #9
          This is another one of those subjective things, sorta like discussions of "How much smoke is just right?" "Which is the best cooker?" "Who makes the best charcoal?", etc. If you can't discern enough difference to justify the added cost (if there is any) then it's not worth it...…………………...…...to you.

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          • HouseHomey
            HouseHomey commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes sir. Price and value are two different things.

          #10
          We have been enjoying Berkshire chops and pork shoulder from Heritage Foods the past couple months and will say it has been worth the extra spend and takes me back to the way pork used to be before going so lean and tasteless.

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            #11
            Yes. I can tell a huge difference between supermarket pork chops and those raised by local farmers and sold at the farmer's markets here. I also agree with RobertC above. Skip the fancy stuff. Let the ingredient shine. This is a hallmark of Italian cooking and most of the French stuff I like... get really good ingredients. Prepare simply. Enjoy. If you hit something with a complex rub, then a bunch of smoke.... is it any wonder you don't taste the meat that much?

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            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              Try a nice local pig braise with Marcella Hazen's milk sauce. Enhance with a bit of garlic. The power of simplicity!

            • pjlstrat
              pjlstrat commented
              Editing a comment
              RobertC and rickgregory To be honest I chose SVQ for the sole purpose of it being a simple technique. The SV was done with no added seasonings or Marinade and the final Q was on the gasser to no smoke either. I wanted a technique that imparted no flavor to the pork but allowed me to nail the doneness.

            • rickgregory
              rickgregory commented
              Editing a comment
              This will sound mean, but if you can't nail doneness on a chop... you need more practice.

              I don't really like SV for chops, steaks, etc. Season them. Grill/sauteé them. Done.

              NOTE: "worth it" will of course be subjective. And it's possible that SRF pork just isn't that impressive. But the small farm raised pork I've had is heads and shoulders above the supermarket stuff in flavor.

            #12
            I’m with pjlstrat on this one. Sous vide, then season and sear is about the most simple preparation, with the least amount of outside influence on flavor besides the meat itself, that you could possibly do to a pork chop. I’ve had SRF kurobota ribs and pork collar. They were good, but not that special. I’ve got a local farm who’s pork chops are fantastic.

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            • pjlstrat
              pjlstrat commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you.

            • rickgregory
              rickgregory commented
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              Huh, I wonder if the SRF stuff is just overrated. I've only ever had their ground beef (it's sold in the markets here) and it didnt impress me as special either?

            • Red Man
              Red Man commented
              Editing a comment
              rickgregory SRF beef is fantastic. The ground beef is just ground beef, it’s not too special. I haven’t had much of their pork, what I have tried has been above average but not fantastic.
              Last edited by Red Man; July 6, 2020, 09:20 PM.

            #13
            No. $50 for a 5 pound butt? Hell no.

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              #14
              Is a pigs butt pork....good enough for me
              If you smoked a Heritage and store brought butt at the same time side by side could you tell the difference
              I don’t think I’m sophisticated enough to tell the difference

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              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Yup, what he just said. Not to mention hormones and/or antibiotics that may be necessary in commodity pork.

              • ddevine
                ddevine commented
                Editing a comment
                I get farm raised Berkshire Butts locally and they appear to me to have a redder meat than the store bought stuff. When smoked the meat is noticeably darker than store bought. There is a difference in taste to me. Reminds me of the meat we used to get in our neighborhood when we all went farm to farm and did the butchering with all our neighbors. That was over 60 years ago and I am spoiled. Is it worth the extra bucks? It is for an occasional "treat".

              • ColonialDawg
                ColonialDawg commented
                Editing a comment
                The “hormone free” label looks nice but it’s a bunch of marketing BS. Hormone use in pork and poultry was outlawed by the FDA a long time ago. The only hormones present in pork and poultry are naturally produced. As for antibiotics - any animal destined for human consumption that was treated with antibiotics must undergo a mandatory withdrawal period prior to slaughter.

                https://meatscience.org/TheMeatWeEat...6/08/misleadin

              #15
              Yeah I get what your saying.
              When my uncle was farming he was smaller time factory raising.
              Pigs are cunning escape artists, the cost of penning hogs outside stopped him from Heritage style meats.
              He certainly cared for his animals but when the were ready for market....
              adios amigos....

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