Objectives of this test:
Growth and Finishing
The hogs in this test will all be fed the same diet which is a 20% protein and 6% fat blend that we have developed for our farm. This feed will not impart much outside flavor to the meat and will allow for the naturally inherent flavor of the meat to be prevalent. They will not have access to pasture/weeds, fruits or nuts which may influence the taste. The pigs will be weighed weekly and the weights posted on our "Feeding and Growth" page. The dates and weights provided in this section will give you the ability to calculate the "average daily gain". Because we had to get bigger hogs to start with in some breeds to compensate for the varied growth rates between breeds, this information will be more usable in some breeds than others but we will give you what we have.
Carcass Evaluation and Characteristics
During phase 2 we will record the live weight and hanging weight at the time of processing in order to calculate the yield percentage of each breed.
All hogs will be processed by Fosters Meats in Duncan SC which is a USDA inspected processor and the only one, that I know of, that scrapes the hogs instead of skinning them.
Each carcass will be evaluated for: overall characteristics, color, marbling, loin eye size and fat content.
We are not looking for the conventional "Pork Quality Test" as these are primarily influenced by the amount of fat versus lean on the animal. Most of these breeds have a higher fat content than "Production Pork". Heritage pork is not production pork so we decided to go more with a carcass evaluation and supply more characteristic information.
Pictures and possibly videos will be taken as each carcass is broken down into primal cuts and then retail cuts. Primal cuts include: 2 shoulders (front legs), 2 loins, 2 bellies and 2 legs (hams). We will get weights from each primal cut in order to calculate its percentage of each part to the total carcass weight. The primal cuts will then be broken down into retail cuts. Once the trimming and cutting into retail cuts is complete we will reweigh each section to include the trim pile which is used for sausage and ground pork. The heads will be included in the hanging weight and we will include it in the primal weight however only the jowls will be included in the retail weight as the head must be discarded.
Professional ranking and characteristic notes
During phase 3 of our test we will deliver cuts from each hog to 4 Farm to Table Chefs as well as 4 BBQ competition cooks. This will be a blind test. The Chefs will rank the cuts in order from 1 to 10 according to taste. They will also make notes concerning tenderness, juiciness, fat content and appearance. The results from each chef will be posted on our website with all of their comments and observations. We are in hopes that after Chefs sample these heritage breeds that we can start conversation with them and learn what they need and how we as farmers can supply that to them creating partnerships that work well for both chefs and farmers.
Individual Ranking and Characteristic Notes
During phase 4 we will put together packages containing like cuts from each of the breeds. For example you would receive 10 chops, 10 sections of ribs, 10 pork steaks etc. The cuts will be individually wrapped and then all cuts will be sealed in a larger master package. Each individual package will be lettered A-J and will not contain the breed name so the test will be blind. We will offer these master packages to individuals who would like to participate in the test for $150 per package to help offset the cost of acquiring animals, feed and processing costs. We really hope you will support this test with your purchase of a master package.
The cuts will include:
Loin Chops (Bone in)
Pork Steaks (from the ham)
Boston Butt (Boneless cut in to Country Style Rib Fashion)
If you agree to purchase one of these packages you must understand that you are agreeing to conduct your test in a timely manner and submit your results promptly.
Once you rank the order 1-10 and submit it with you comments and observations we will assign the breed name to the corresponding letter that you have chosen and post it in the results section of our website along with your first name or farm name of each individual that participates.
The breed that each individual ranks #1 will receive 10 points, #2 9 points and so on. At the end we will tally the overall scores and publish the overall ranking.
We will also have packages available to individuals that do not wish to participate in the test and their individual packages will include the breed name. However our main interest here is the taste test so those packages will be sold first. We hope at the end there wont be many of the named packages available.
Post all results on our website
Once all the results are in we will get all of the information posted and published on our website. We are in hopes that these results will become a tool for farmers to determine what breed would fit best with their objectives. In addition by the definition of "heritage" the hog must be purebred registered or from purebred registered parents. We hope to encourage new farmers to raise purebred registered stock which will preserve the future of these wonderful hogs.
Tick Briar Farm, for a long while, has been researching and acquiring top quality Heritage Breed Hogs. We have dedicated ourselves to bringing to the South East the best quality purebred/registered Heritage Hogs available and making these bloodlines available to farms in our area. Through our research we have discovered that each breed claims to be the best in taste and quality calling themselves the "Kobe Beef" of pork. Because of this we have also researched pork taste tests and found very few were available and the ones we did find were very limited in scope. We would like to put them to the test side by side.
These are the actual hogs that we have included in our Heritage Breed Pork Taste Test. All of the hogs are being raised on our farm, on the same feed and under the same conditions.
Heritage Breed Pork Taste Test.