Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents 198 SCOOP AUTUMN 2010
Are you ready to go over to the dark side?
Most of the pork eaten in WA is produced from a
more-or-less standard blend of white-and pink-
skinned pigs, which grow quickly and provide
consistently juicy, lean, meat. But a small, dedicated
band of local producers is putting in the hard yards
to bring you locally grown rare-breed pork, which is
raised free to range the great outdoors.
There isn't one hell of a lot pig farmer Rob Bradley
doesn't know about Berkshire pigs. Rob started
breeding them in 1969 and currently runs 70
Berkshire sows which, between them, produce
around 25 pigs a week. While most of the pork we
eat here in the west is bred from Land Race and
Large White pigs, Rob reckons that when it comes
to flavour, Berkshires win hands down. "Until the
mid-1900s, Berkshires, Large Whites and Tamworths
were the major breeds. Then the Land Race came
along, supermarkets got into the act, and suddenly it
was all about quantity rather than quality. Consumers
began to favour the pale skin of the Large White/
Land Race cross over the black hair you got from a
Until 18 months ago, Rob struggled to find a mar-
ket for his Berkshire pork. But today the Singaporean
market can't get enough of it, and Rob is also seeing
a steady increase in demand from the local market.
"I hung in there because I've always had a belief
in the breed. I'm pleased to say that at last it seems
to be paying off."
One butcher stocking Rob's Berkshire pork is Joe
Princi, of Princi Butchers, Hilton. "I like its eating
quality. It has a different flavour. It's a bit stronger."
Joe says it took a while for his customers to catch
on. "The response was a bit slow to start with, but
feedback has been good and demand is grow-
ing. People love the fact it's free-range and no-one
seems to mind a few dark hairs."
Joe is currently selling a few Berkshire pigs a
week, for pretty much the same price as more
Princi Butchers, Shop 11a/ 115 Lefroy Rd, Hilton.
(08) 9314 2494
"TODAY'S PORK IS AS LEAN AS CHICKEN
BREAST AND HAS HALF THE FAT OF RED MEAT."
The perfect pork crackling
Regardless of what cut of roast you buy, the
method is the same. These quantities are for a
Score the rind and rub it with one teaspoon of
salt. Leave for half an hour to draw the mois-
ture out, pat dry and rub with 2 tablespoons of
olive oil. Sprinkle on a little more salt. Pre-heat
oven to 220 degrees. Place pork on a rack in an
oven tray and cook for 20 minutes, or until the
skin begins to blister. Turn oven down to 180
degrees (slightly less if fan-forced) and cook,
uncovered, for another two hours. Test with a
skewer. When juices run clear, meat is cooked.
Remove from oven and rest for at least 10
If your crackling refuses to crisp up and is easily
removed, cut it in one piece from the cooked
roast and allow to crisp in a medium grill while
the meat rests.
The company also supplies most of the generic
fresh pork you ll find on sale at Coles, Woolworths
and IGA, although Coles and Woolies both sell a
little east coast meat.
The profile of your standard pork chop has
changed dramatically over the past few decades.
Pigs are being eaten younger and leaner, because
that s what the consumer keeps asking for.
In fact, today s pork is as lean as chicken breast
and has half the fat of red meat. There are even 15
cuts that get the Heart Foundation tick.
Plus the fat on pork is generally found on the
outside, so it can be easily removed.
Such self-denial is both laudable and healthy,
and I encourage you to trim every skerrick of fat
from your next pork chop. Just don t blame me if
you die of boredom.
Or, as my brother Ben, married to a lovely
Jewish lass, put it when I told him I was writing
"I d convert to Judaism if it meant losing my
foreskin. But give up pork fat? Never!"
| Continued on page 200
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