Heritage Breeds: What’s in a Name?

Our patrons often ask us about the breeds of swine we source for our delicious pork products. The simple answer, heritage breeds. But what are heritage breeds, and why are they important for genetic preservation of the swine species?

What is a Heritage Breed?

While there is currently no set definition for the phrase, heritage livestock breeds are the breeds that flourished in the agrarian societies of our ancestors. Long before the modernization of agriculture when pigs were raised primarily on pasture, it was important that these animals possessed the necessary skills needed to thrive in specific environmental conditions. Genetically speaking, we refer to these skills as traits, and keeping these traits intact ensured that our forefathers could produce a bountiful supply of meat to feed their communities.

Why are Heritage Breeds Important?

But modern agriculture has moved away from raising pigs on pasture, and hardiness, sturdiness and adaptability are no longer desirable attributes. Instead, commodity pork producers seek faster-growing animals that reach market weights in record time. The shift in genetic selection has led to an overall decrease in the swine breeds of the past. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 20% of the world’s cattle, goats, pigs, horses and poultry are currently at risk of extinction. A consequence of this potential extinction would be the loss of unique traits that could help these animals thrive in any future, harsh conditions.

What Kinds of Breeds Do We Source at Kettle Range Meat Company?

Here at Kettle Range Meats we work to source these important heritage breeds. We source these breeds not only because they’re great tasting when compared with commodity pork, but we also want to support the farmers who work hard to keep these breeds intact for the future success of our agriculture systems. Let’s look at just a few of the breeds we serve up:

Duroc

Originating in the United States, the Duroc is one of the fastest-growing heritage breeds. They tend to put on a lot of intramuscular fat making them knows for the tender shoulder roasts.

Red Wattle

Characterized by a fleshy wattle on either side of their neck, these breeds are best known for their rich textured and delicious hams.

Hereford

Developed in the United States, this breed was named for its shared coloring with Hereford cattle. Their pork is tenderly delicious due to a high proportion of intramuscular fat.

Berkshire

This breed is sometimes referred to as kurobuta, which is Japanese for black pork due to their hair color. They are known for their savory, umami flavor.

5 Roast recipes we are craving this month.

Tired of traditional pot roasts? Looking to keep your creative juices flowing in the kitchen? Check out these five recipes we are craving this month.

Slow-braised pork shoulder with cider & parsnips

Image via Good Food
This simple recipe blends a variety of flavors of winter ready staples. Blending the savory juices of the braised pork along with the sweet cider and parsnips, this recipe is bound to impress the entire family. For full recipe click HERE.

Texas Clod (Barbecued Beef Shoulder)

Image Via Barbecue Bible
The Beef Shoulder Clod is the upper portion of the chuck primal and it sits atop the brisket. This roast is leaner than a brisket and requires the same low and slow cooking method to break down the fats and collagen. Typically you need to allow one hour of cooking time for every pound of beef clod, smoking temperatures at or below 250. Let the inner grill master loose for this delicious Texas Clod. For full instructions and recipe Click HERE

Slow Cooker Mexican Brisket

Image Via House of Yumm
Kick Taco Tuesday up a notch with House Of Yumm’s Mexican Brisket. This blend of pablano chile, garlic, onion and spices will inspire a variety of meals. Use this recipe to have a build your own nacho night or a round of flavorful street tacos. Discover the full recipe HERE and getting planning your next Taco night now!

Southwest Cowboy Chili

Image via Nom Nom Paleo

Change up your chili with this Paleo inspired recipe. Swap out your typical ground beef and enjoy this chili featuring tender chuck roast. This recipe from Nom-Nom Paleo is sure to fill you and keep you steady on your New Year resolution. Click HERE for the full recipe and instuctions.

Tasty Cuban Pork Roast

Image Via The Noshtastic Blog

Spice things up with a little Cuban flare! A unique blend of citrus and herbs will have you dreaming of summer, while keeping you warm and full. Hop over the Noshtastic’s blog and get this recipe HERE.

I hope these recipes help inspire you. May they keep your warm and toasty all month long!