Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mangalitsa-Berkshire Belly

I tried my first Mangalitsa-Berkshire (50/50) belly today. As previously mentioned, Wooly Pigs runs a breeding program, the goal of which is to allow us to produce especially tasty hogs using our Mangalitsas. Purebred Mangalitsa is too extreme for most consumers anyway - it defines one extreme of the pork continuum.

Part of the breeding program is mating Mangalitsa boars to Berkshire sows, to produce F1 hybrids. The males are all castrated and marketed. The females are either marketed or used to produce 3/4 Mangalitsa market hogs.

This is how it starts:

The sow in the background wonders what's going on.

Here's somewhere in the middle (about 4 months into the process):

And this is how the pigs end up - seared and braised (14 months into it) :
Seared and then simmered in a pot.

When I cooked it, I thought I was cooking Mangalitsa. When I ate it, it tasted enough like Mangalitsa that I think you could fool someone into thinking it was Mangalitsa. Except for yet lardier hogs, I have never had such good pork. It was definitely better than Berkshire pork produced similarly. I ate just a little scrap (the missing 5th piece) and felt satiated and excited for about an hour.

I can imagine that if someone just wanted really great-tasting pork (in a market increasingly flooded with Berkshire pork), a Mangalitsa-Berkshire cross would give one a real edge over everybody using meat-type breeds. Mangalitsa is so incredible that just 50% Mangalitsa is still noticeably better than the Berkshire, which is the best-tasting common American breed.


Frank said...

Read your blog all the time and love great pork! This stuff looks awesome, and I can't wait until I can get some mail order or here in Texas. Hopefully some pig farmer down here reads this too!

Chef Seth said...

Let me know when you'll be making fresh bellies or jowls available. I'm glad the crosses are a viable option for the consumer.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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