Basa Boar Pork Chop
Be sure to read the most up to date information in the article about boar taint, read the linked to articles and read the comments which have answers to many questions.
Tonight we taste tested pork chops from our oldest boar to date. The conclusion? Delicious! There was no sign of boar taint. The meat and bacon was preferred over the sow meat by 80% of our taste testers with 20% being undecided and finding both were most excellent. I admit I was the one who was undecided – I’m just a basic carnivore, fat, protein, salt… ah!
Basa, who used to be known as Little’Un until he got renamed by my son Will was thirty months old when he met his maker. A typical finisher pig is six months old when it goes to market. Basa was an old boar by that standard and thus far more likely to show boar taint if it existed. Just as importantly, Basa was intact, that is to say he was a boar with balls, and actively breeding right up to his last day. Nothing special was done, no segregation from the herd.
As long time readers know, I’ve been researching the subject of Boar Taint [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] for a long time. Boar taint, when it occurs, is a bad smell and taste to the meat. There is concern among some people that pigs must be castrated in order to prevent boar taint. Research has shown that boar taint exists only in a small number of animals. What we have been doing was progressively slaughtering older and older intact, that is to say non-castrated, boars from our herd to test for taint. Apparently it does not exist in our herd as we have now tested over a hundred intact boars which have been eaten by thousands of people.
In related news this winter we also taste tested Black Jack and his brother who were out of a Large Black sow that is unrelated to all of our other sows. Both of them tasted delicious with no sign of boar taint so it appears that line in our herd is also taint free.
Boar taint is caused by two chemicals, may have a genetic component linking it to some breeds of pigs (particularly some Duroc lines), has been correlated with factory farm Confinement Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) styles of rearing where they breath their fecal dust and may be prevented or minimized through the use of high fiber diets and pasture.
Our pigs are Yorkshire, Berkshire, Tamworth, Glouster Old Spot, Hampshire and who knows what else – a mix if heritage breeds. We raise them on pasture in the warm months and hay in the winter augmented with dairy primarily in the form of whey but also some butter, cheese trim, excess milk, a little boiled barley and occasional bread. They live outdoors in the fresh air. About as opposite from a CAFO as we can get.
Since we’ve been testing now for four years and have not found any sign of boar taint in our herd I am confident that it is not there. This is good to know because I don’t like castrating piglets. They don’t like it either. We’re both much happier this way.
Outdoors: 33°F/25°F Partially Sunny, light dusting of snow
Farm House: 61°F/51°F
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/52°F