It used to be that pork was just, well, pork. In today’s marketplace pork has evolved from your standard run of the mill conventional pork, to many different high end, specialty breeds that yield a product that is so vastly different from conventional pork it really ought to have a separate classification. Today I will look at some of the high end pork options available through Merchants. I will list these in order of price starting with lowest and moving up.

Premium Reserve “Steakhouse Cuts”- Here is a brilliant offering for the operator who wants to go to a noticeably better pork product at a very reasonable price point. This pork is extremely tender and can in many cases perform as well as some of the products that are 2-3 times the price. The reason this product is less expensive is that it is put through a process that actually injects pork fat into the muscles to “create” marbling. A slurry is made from the fat trimmed from the same pigs the muscles come from and that emulsified fat is then slowly injected into the muscles at a controlled temperature so that it stays inside and does not seep out. They cut these into “Steakhouse Cuts” such as Pork Ribeye, Pork Strip and Pork Flat Iron. They also produce 8 bone racks and boneless loins. All have proven to be very good and will enhance the quality of any pork item currently on your menu. Below is a picture of chops cut from the 8 bone rack:

prem res pork

Duroc Pork- Duroc Pork is the first “breed specific” product of the high end pork we carry. Duroc is a domestic breed, which are all red hogs. Duroc is 100% raised in the U.S.A. and has no added hormones, no artificial ingredients, no growth promotants and is minimally processed. Slightly higher price point than Premium Reserve. Picture below:

duroc pork

Cheshire Pork- Again a pure breed of hog raised in North Carolina which provides superior marbling and white intra muscular fat. The hogs are never given hormones or steroids and are never fed any animal by products. There are no preservatives, flavoring solutions or fillers. Considered a step up from Duroc. See picture below:

cheshire pork

Kurobuta Pork- Kurobuta pork is from the Berkshire pig. Berkshire pigs are a rare breed from England and are now being raised by some select farms in the U.S. such as Snake River Farms. In Japan, the Kurobuta pork is held in the same regard as Kobe beef or Jidori Chickens. The Kurobuta pork is more expensive than all previously mentioned pork, and is widely regarded as one of the finest pork products available in today’s market. The meat and fat are intensely flavorful and tender.

kurobuta pork

Iberico Pork (Pata Negra) – Finally we arrive at the granddaddy of them all, the Black Iberian pig is the source of this meat. Considered to be the “Rolls Royce” of pork, Iberico has been world renowned for centuries. The pigs are raised on a diet of acorns and are always free range and not penned. The meat is famous for the hams that are cave aged for four years in the mountains of Spain resulting in a product that can demand in excess of $100.00 per pound. The uncured cuts such as the Secreto, Solomillo and Presa are very popular among chefs in some of the finest restaurants in the world. Expensive, very! Worth the price, absolutely! The pork has a deep red color much like beef and is best served medium rare. See below:

iberico pork 2

Now you are ready to explore the possibilities of pork on your menu and the profits it can bring to you. Merchants Market has all of these different types of pork available in addition to the conventional pork which is always available. Contact your sales representative today for more information and pricing.

Until next time, I’m off to eat a rib or two! Cheers!

Chip Welfeld

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