Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kurobuta Pork

My foodie in training asked me about Kurobuta pork. I didn't have an answer so I did some research. Below is from To further the research I procured some Kurabuta pork tenderloins. The obvious difference is the color of the meat. the Kurobuta is on the left. Much darker in color. It also has a different odor. The generic pork tender has a "raw chicken" smell, the Kurobuta smells of prosciutto. A pleasant almost sweet smell. I'll follow up in more detail after we play with it.

What's so Special?
Sweetness and juiciness are two factors that distinguish kurobuta from run-of-the-mill pork. This sweetness and rich flavor come from the high levels of intramuscular marbled fat – the very thing that pork producers have dramatically removed to produce pork that can be marketed as "the other white meat" for the health-conscious.
This high degree of subcutaneous marbling is a result of special breeding techniques that are not very different from those applied to raising wagyu cattle.

The only difference, perhaps, is that there is no massaging of the pig with sake as is the case with wagyu.

How it's Produced

Ever heard of the saying "you are what you eat"? This is literally true for pigs because of the peculiar manner their bodies store fat. Instead of being processed, the fat is deposited directly into the muscle. Therefore, the pork produced from pigs fed on oats and corn will taste of oats and corn. Of course, this simply adds to the natural taste of kurobuta pork.
Depending on the techniques unique to each heritage farmer, the pigs may get peanuts, apples, clover, or even milk as dietary supplements. The use of antibiotics and hormones is frowned upon while humane farming techniques are encouraged.
Unlike industrial pigs raised in confinement, the Berkshires are free to roam and grow at their own pace. This is another secret behind the lush flavors of kurobuta: a stress-free lifestyle.
Compared with commercial pork, kurobuta pork is darker and redder in color because of the thick layers of back fat that develops from a life spent outdoors. During the cold winter months, the hogs developed more of this fat to "tough" it out, and keep themselves warm. This back fat contributes to the flavor and sweetness of kurobuta pork.


Anonymous said...

Great report and very timely. Just last week a friend and I were lamenting the fact that good, well marbled pork is so difficult to find these days. I really dislike the pork that has been given the "moist and tender" treatment.

Were are the Kurobuta raised?

- Dave Risch

skip said...

Foodie in training? Not sure if that is a compliment or I should remove the murray carter from my back?

Scott Sebastian said...

I don't know where they're from. I suspect they are domestic. The distributor puts thier label on them so you can't tell.

Paulette said...

I am not saying that the pork is not wonderful but it isn't Kurobuta pork.
The only REAL Kurobata Pork is from pigs raised in Japan. There's a complete breeding, feeding and management system that has to go with it. The pigs must be certified purebred, under Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) rules passed January 2000, if the meat is to be sold under the Kurobata classification.

Pork being sold as Kurobuta outside Japan is just Berkshire pigs not real Kurobuta. There is a difference and it is not just marketing like these farms are doing. All Kurobuta pork comes from Berkshire pigs. That does not mean that meat from all Berkshire pigs is Kurobuta pork.

Scott Sebastian said...

You are correct.