Pork is the culinary name for the meat of domestic pigs. It’s the most widely consumed meat worldwide, accounting for about 38% of meat production, especially in Eastern Asia. But, its consumption is forbidden in certain religions, such as Islam and Judaism. The domestic pig’s head-plus-body-length ranges from 35 to 71 inches, and adult pigs typically weigh between 50 kg and 350 kg, with well-fed individuals often exceeding this weight range. The size and weight of hogs largely depend on their breed. Compared to other artiodactyls, a pig’s head is relatively long, pointed, and free of warts.
- The average American eats the equivalent of 28 pigs in their lifetime.
- A pig’s snout is an essential tool for finding food in the ground and sensing the world around them.
- April 15th is Glazed Ham Day.
- December 18th is National Roast Suckling Pig Day.
- Ham is the most eaten sandwich in US households.
- There are twice as many pigs as people in Denmark.
- Pigs have an excellent sense of smell.
Hog – it’s a domesticated swine weighing 54 kg or more, raised for market.
Marbling – it’s the pattern created by intramuscular fat in meat, especially red meat.
Pork – it’s the culinary name for swine meat.
Swine – an animal commonly referred to as a pig or boar.
Sow – a sexually mature female hog, after having her first litter.
Red Meat – meat, which is red when raw and not white when cooked.
Processed Meat – it’s the meat that has been altered from its original state for flavor, preservation, and convenience.
Pork Buying Guide
When buying pork, there are several things that you need to consider, including quantity, quality, and type of pork that will satisfy your needs. Always choose the meat that has been approved for wholesomeness so that you’ll be guaranteed that the meat is free of disease and was processed under sanitary conditions.
The color of the best pork is pinkish-red. Avoid the meat that has a pale complexion and has liquid in the package. The meat should be firm and fine-grained, well-marbled, and covered with an outer layer of solid white fat. The marbling in the meat will make it juicy and tender if it is cooked properly. Fresh pork should never have any off odors.
Pork Production & Farming in Texas
Pigs are adaptable and rapidly growing species that may be attractive for small and beginning farmers seeking to incorporate livestock into their farms. When used as livestock, they are farmed primarily for the consumption of their meat. Their bones, hide, and bristles are also used in commercial products. Some domestic pigs, especially miniature breeds, are kept as pets.
They grow at all times of the year, so pork production is a continuous cycle. They can be fed a wide range of foods like surplus crops and food byproducts that humans don’t eat because pigs are not picky eaters. Their shelter depends upon the climate of the region. In warmer locales, pigs can usually be outside all year long while in the cold environment, they are typically housed in specialized indoor pig farms during the winter. Some pig producers manage the full cycle from breeding to selling. In most farms, they are kept in confinement until they reach a slaughter weight of over 100kg, usually at six months of age.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, nearly 100 million metric tons of pork were consumed worldwide in 2006. In 2015, they recorded a total of 109.905 million metric tons of pork that was consumed worldwide.
The connection between pigs and humans may predate that of any other domesticated food animal. Evidence that was discovered in Turkey shows that pigs were domesticated there as far back as 9000 BC. In contrast, the wild boar, which is the ancestor of the domesticated pig, were in the human association as early as 13,000 BC.
The rise of the pigs began in Asia and progressed through the Near East, and eventually to Europe, where domesticated pigs took off. Hernando de Soto introduced the pigs to America when he brought 200 of them to eat on their long expeditions. Because of that, he was often called the father of the American pork industry. The remaining pigs that he brought were the ancestors of most of the pigs in the US and positively related to the feral pigs, or wild boar, that roam the country.
Pork is a versatile red meat that can be cooked in any way. It is a protein-packed treat that can be eaten both freshly cooked and preserved.
After buying the pork, you must refrigerate or freeze it as soon as you get home. If refrigerating the pork, the temperature must be 28°F to 32°F and make sure to cook it by the “Use By” date on the package. If you are storing it for more than two weeks, you must freeze the pork and wrap it into heavy-duty foil, freezer paper or bags to prevent freezer burn. Then, it should be defrosted in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to avoid bacterial growth.
Pork must be adequately cooked to get the full benefit from it. It can be marinated, roasted, grilled, skewered, dry-rubbed, boiled, baked, barbecued, microwaved, pan-fried, or stir-fried. To prevent foodborne illness from bacteria, you must cook it to a specific temperature. You may use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The proper temperature for whole cuts of pork is 145 degrees Fahrenheit and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground pork. Do not overcook it if you don’t want your pork to become dry and tough. If you will follow the standards and cook it right, your pork will surely be delicious.
Pork is a rich source of protein, and it contains many vitamins and minerals, which is why it can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B6: It is essential for the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12: It is essential for blood formation and brain function.
Niacin: It serves a variety of functions in your body and is essential for growth and metabolism.
Phosphorus: It’s essential for body growth and maintenance.
Iron: Pork contains less iron than lamb or beef. However, the absorption of meat iron from your digestive tract is very efficient.
Thiamine: One of the B vitamins that play an essential role in various bodily functions.
Selenium: The best sources of this essential mineral are animal-derived foods, such as meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy product.
Zinc: A vital mineral, abundant in Pork, zinc is essential for a healthy brain and immune system.