As an ingredient from the pantry, you can prepare everything about the pig but the oink. It is essentially one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide. Domesticated pigs come from the Family Suidae of hogs and pigs, particularly from the Sus scrofa domesticus. It gives pork which is a prize source of protein and the heart of various meat dishes.
According to the Cambridge World History of Food in an article on hogs by Daniel W. Gade, “all domesticated pigs originated from the wild boar (Sus scrofa).” Several pork varieties are known to farmers and consumers alike, particularly the heritage varieties which have won popularity in the epicurean scene. Here are some hog breeds listed in New York Magazine in an article published by Molly Langmuir on heritage varieties of pigs.
Also known as red waddle, this variety originated from New Caledonia, a French island in the south Pacific and was brought to New Orleans by the French, according to the breeds of livestock website of the Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University (OSU). The red wattle has lean meat and excellent flavor. It has a “wild, porky taste that’s ideal for Creole cuisine,” writes Langmuir.
Referred to as “red hogs” because of its red color, the Duroc pig in the United States traces its ancestry from the Jersey Red of New Jersey and the Duroc of New York. The British Pig Association (BPA) reports the original boar as having “a deep body, broad ham and shoulder, and quiet disposition.” Langmuir describes its meat as juicy and mild in flavor as well as excellent in meatballs.
Also known as Hungarian curly coat, this choice breed has a distinctive look because of its hairy fleece. It’s also called “woolly pig” or “lard pig” (BPA). This breed is valued for its “creamy white fat,” which is high in monounsaturated fats and stands well for long curing. According to the BPA, “the meat is well marbled so that it is tastier and less dry than that from more modern breeds.” It also “doesn’t shrink in the frying pan and is magnificently suited for sausages, dry sausages and smoked sausages” (OSU).
Dark red and grisly, the Tamworth “originated central England in the counties of Stafford, Warwick, Leicester, and Northhampton,” according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). The breed is renowned as a fine producer of bacon due to its “large chops and long belly” (Langmuir). Meat from this breed is lean and fine grained, according to the ALBC.
Other known heritage varieties include the Ossabaw, Gloucestershire Old Spots, Berkshire and Hampshire.