Kowalski's Introduces Berkshire Pork
Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013
Once found only in restaurants, Kowalski's is excited to bring a new choice in gourmet pork to our customers with our 100% Berkshire pork. With refined breeding and natural production methods, Berkshire (also known as Kurobuta) is to pork what Wagyu is to beef: meat with a higher standard for flavor, enjoyed as a true delicacy. It has been consistently prized by chefs who rave about its rare, characteristic marbling, which produces superb moisture; richer, deeper color; and unsurpassed tenderness and flavor.
With a history hundreds of years old, the Berkshire pig is a rare breed that originated in the English county by the same name. The beautifully pink-hued meat is juicier than traditional pork products and, because of its higher fat content, it gives home cooks a little more wiggle room when it comes to higher cooking temperatures and longer cooking times.
The dozens of family-owned farms that make up our Berkshire producers' cooperative are located in Southwest Minnesota. The 100% purebred stock are allowed to roam freely, spending as much time outside as weather and temperament permit. Through a USDA Process Verified Program for quality management, these producers are able to trace individual pigs and pork products to co-op member farms. Such process means claims related to the livestock (including age, source and location from birth to harvest), feeding practices, raising protocols and processing details are certifiable.
Humane craft processing is an important part of the Berkshire story, too, ensuring livestock experience a safer, calmer more humane environment than is found elsewhere in the industry. Equally important to ensuring quality of pork product, are small batch processing and hand-cutting of portions.
As with all pork, the key to maintaining flavor and moisture lies in cooking temperature. USDA guidelines suggest that pork is safe to consume at 145° (not including ground pork, which must be cooked to 165°). Once cooked to the proper temperature, remove your pork from the heat and cover it with foil. Allowing the proteins to rest 10-25 minutes (depending on the cut – the bigger the cut, the longer the rest) will help them reabsorb the juices released during cooking so they stay in the meat. (Your meat will also rise in temperature after being removed from the heat, an effect that is more pronounced with larger cuts.) While Berkshire pork is exceptional when prepared very simply, we're also offering up some suggestions for simple, delicious sauces in a variety of flavor profiles to suit any palate.
"What does Kowalski's mean by all natural?"
Our Berkshire pork qualifies as natural according to the USDA definition, which requires natural meat to contain no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives and to be minimally processed. So you may be wondering, "Why doesn't Kowalski's call Berkshire pork all natural?" Our standards for all natural meat is higher than the USDA standard in that we only label meat as natural if the animal never receives antibiotics – ever. We call it "Never Ever." Our Berkshire pork producers selectively administer therapeutic antibiotics to animals that meet strict criteria for need and isolate those animals from the rest of the herd.
Though we don't call it all natural, we believe the Berkshire product is remarkably different from other pork and is therefore an important variety to offer our discriminating customers.
Federal regulations prohibit the use of growth-promoting hormones in any pork products.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
At Kowalski's, "naturally raised" means three things: 1) no hormones or antibiotics are ever administered to the animals, 2) humane treatment policies are in place, and 3) animals are sourced from small family farms and raised locally whenever possible. We choose naturally raised meats because we feel it is better for the animal, the producer and our customers, providing a cleaner, safer product that is superior in overall quality.
Featured RecipesPerfect Pork Chops (pictured above)
Cherry-Apricot Chipotle Sauce
Selection and availability vary by market.