Berkshire, also known as Kurobuta, is prized as the best pork available worldwide. Due to heavily marbled fat, it is richer in flavor and more darkly colored than conventional white pork. It also retains moisture better, guaranteeing juicy, succulent, tender meat. In fact, the National Pork Producers Council held a taste test with 25 quality traits and Kurobuta ranked #1 for 19 of the traits.
We are offering Kurobuta hams from Snake River Farms this year for the holidays. Keep reading to learn more about the history of Kurobuta pork and how it is raised.
A 300 year old history
Berkshire pork has been around for more than 300 years. The Berkshire hog was first discovered by Oliver Cromwell’s army in England. The hog turned out to be distinctive not only for its short black hair, but also for the meat’s superior taste and texture.
The breed was refined in the early 1800s and has remained pure since. The Royal Family kept a herd at Windsor Castle, and British diplomats introduced the Berkshire hog as a gift to Japan. Japanese farmers embraced them as their own and called them Kurobuta – kuro is Japanese for “black,” and buta means “pig.”
How Berkshire hogs are raised
Mollie Stone’s American Kurobuta Hams come to us from Snake River Farms. This 100% purebred Berkshire breed pork is descended from the herds kept by the English monarchs centuries ago. Their hogs are raised on small family farms in the Midwest where they are free to roam and grow at their own pace. Because the hogs are raised outside, they develop a thick layer of back fat during the colder months to keep them warm.
The fat in the hogs’ food is deposited directly into the muscles, manifesting itself as small, fine streaks throughout the muscle tissue. Their natural diet is key to the flavor of the meat. The back fat and marbling enhance flavor and sweetness. Try a Kurobuta Carver Ham for a tasty alternative to your usual Mollie’s Spiral Cut Honey Ham.