Duroc: A Red Pig You Should Know

When choosing pork, how much do you consider the breed? There are a variety of popular pork breeds such as: Birkshire, Chester White, Hampshire, Landrace, Jersey Red, Yorkshire and Duroc.

Since 1987 pork as been nationally promoted as “The Other White Meat” to increase consumer demand and dispel the notion of pork as an unhealthy fatty protein. The campaign was quite successful in educating the consumer about the leanness of pork but it left the impression that raw pork should be white. The fact is, all pork ends up white after it is cooked. However, in its raw state, many believe that “Redder is Better” when selecting pork.

There are certain pork breeds that have a more reddish raw pork color. The pork from these breeds is typically juicier, more tender, more marbled and has a higher pH than whitish colored raw pork. These characteristics make for a superior pork eating experience.

A lot of culinary attention is given to the Birkshire breed (Black Pig) or its Japanese version, Kurobuta, because of its deeper raw color, rich marbling, natural juiciness and flavor.

A lesser famed breed, called Duroc (Red Pig), is bright reddish pink in raw color and is also rich in marbling delivering a tender, juicy flavorful dining experience. Durocs are red pigs with drooping ears. They are the second most recorded breed of swine in the United States today, and a major breed in many other countries.

Duroc Boar

A Little Duroc History

It’s believed that Christopher Columbus brought red hogs to America on his second voyage and Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto, brought red hogs to this country in the 1500’s. The red hogs were presumed to have come from Spain and Portugal originally and remained here to proliferate in population.

In 1823, a man named Isaac Frink, of Saratoga County, New York, purchased a red boar from Harry Kelsey out of a litter of ten pigs whose parents were believed to be imported from England. Kelsey owned a famous trotting stallion named “Duroc” and Frink named his red boar “Duroc” in honor of the horse.

This red boar became known for his smoothness and carcass quality. Its offspring,  similar in red color and stature, continued the Duroc name. Beginning in the early 1860’s, Duroc breeding programs were refined producing a moderate hog that was well suited for the finishing abilities of the Corn-belt farmer.

During the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Durocs gained wide popularity at the first successful Duroc Hog Show. This was the beginning of the Durocs popularity and industry breeding which continues today. the price of Duroc pork is reasonable and usually falls in between low end commodity pork and higher end Birkshire pork.

Give Duroc pork a try for something special at a reasonable price.


From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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