Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meat the Mangalista Pig!

I spent the day out at one of the largest heritage hog farms in the US. Ken Kehrli is a hog farmer in Iowa. On his farm all of the pigs have free access to indoor and outdoor living. He grows the corn and soy on site for the feed, and doesn't use any hormones, antibiotics or growth promoters.

He has a lot of Berkshire pigs:

This is a flavorful pig bred to have short muscle fibers which make it naturally tenderer. They have more fat then most factory pigs but are still well short of a pig bred for lard. This is one of the most popular heritage breed pigs, showing up on menus around the world.  While a factory farm pig has reached maturity at 6 months of age, a Berkshire takes 8 - 9 months to mature to slaughter weight.

Mangalista pigs on the other hand are pigs bred for lard. The Mangalista is an old Hungarian breed which has a tendency to make large layers of back fat and bacon, and the meat itself contains a lot of intramuscular fat. Mangalista is the Kobe Beef of the pig world. All of this extra fat makes the Mangalista meat incredibly flavorful. The intramuscular fat is absolutely breathtaking. Also since the meat of the Mangalista is much more robust it has a much darker and more beef like red coloring. Making all that flavor also takes a lot longer then a factory farmed pig. A Mangolista takes 14-15 months to reach slaughter weight compared to a 6 month growth cycle for a factory pig.

But that is not all that makes them special. They have curly hair and are very docile. It almost looks like they are wearing a sweater.

Tee hee hee! These are some happy pigs, at the farm they will come right up to you and say hello! Sniff around at you and make cute piggy noises! Of course they will scatter if you make some noise but overall they are all happy and content pigs! This of course is how we should be raising all of our meat!

The most famous Mangalista of them all is:

Miss Piggy!

Now lets all try to forget about Miss Piggy and how cute these pigs are.

Let's talk about the meat. Properly raised Mangalista's like the ones at Ken Kehrli's farm are truly something special. They are so deeply flavorful and have so much intramuscular fat that they look like Kobe Beef. Even the color of the meat is a dark beef red. 

This is a bone in pork chop. No I didn't mix up my pictures. That is a piece of Mangalista pork care of The Conscious Carnivore. It doesn't taste like beef, but it certainly doesn't taste like the pink/grey translucent slimy slabs of pork you find in most grocery stores either. 

I grilled this bad boy with salt and pepper, which is all that great meat needs. 

Yes I trimmed off most of the fat while I was eating it. This was the most Pork! flavored pork I have ever eaten in my life. Its deep dark meat is bursting with umami flavors. 

If you haven't ever tried non-factory farmed meat I would highly suggest you find a local purveyor of fine meats and get yourself a real treat. In Madison no one has a better selection then The Conscious Carnivore.


Here are some more farm pictures!

Gotta protect the Pigs from harmful Bugs! It keeps them Antibiotic free!

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