Photo: DAFC

The taste of organic purebred and crossbred pigs

Is it possible to taste the difference between meat from various pig breeds, meat from pigs of a different carcase weight and meat from pigs bred in different ways? A new project is designed to provide the answers.

Project

Pigs included in the project were ordinary Danish slaughter pigs, i.e. a cross between Duroc, Landrace and Yorkshire D*LY, a pure Duroc and a D*LY-SH, D*LY crossed with Saddleback. These three breeds were all fed the same feed, half were kept indoors while the other half were kept outdoors. Some were slaughtered at the standard slaughter weight of 115 kg while others were slaughtered at 140 kg.

The Hungarian woolly pig, the Mangalitza, was also included in the project. They were all kept outdoors, were not all fed the same feed and were slaughtered at around 115/140 kg. They cannot be directly compared with the others and were kept in a class of their own.

Background
The project stems from the fact that chefs and butchers are demanding greater differentiation, more gastronomic appeal and more exciting taste from pig meat. They are interested in other breeds, heavier pigs and pigs that have been kept outdoors under different conditions. They are also keen to explore different accompaniments, the development of new dishes and meal compositions – everything that organic purebred and crossbred pigs can deliver.

Taste test
Three cuts from all the pigs were included in the taste test: the loin, collar and belly. Each cut was roasted in the oven at the optimum temperature of 65 degrees for the loin and 75-80 degrees for the collar and belly. Descriptive profiles were drawn up which were inserted into radar charts and difference tests were carried out.

Results
The taste testing revealed a number of exciting and different tastes compared to traditional pigs. These included roast game, oven-baked mushrooms, beef stock, back bacon, lemon juice, boiled eggs and smoke. A comparison between outdoor pigs and indoor pigs showed that the former tastes more of beef and umami while the meat from indoor pigs was more tender. Pigs slaughtered at 140 kg tasted more of beef and umami and were more tender and succulent.

Breed characteristics
DLY: Slightly more taste of liver, more caramel in the surface (collar), slightly more tart (collar).
DLYSH: Slightly more tender and succulent. Slightly sweeter and more caramel in the surface (collar).
Duroc: Slightly more liver taste, slightly more umami (collar).

Hungarian woolly pig, which is not directly comparable:
Slightly more tart, slightly less tender. Slightly less umami (collar), slightly less intense taste in the dark meat and slightly more lemon taste in the light meat. 

We have yet to present these results to a selected panel of chefs and get their feedback on preparation, composition and dishes. 

We will cover the presentations in the spring newsletter. 

You can also read: Pork has more than 90 taste nuances