In my quest to find the secrets to truly outstanding, clean, humanely raised beef I was perusing the scintillating, fascinating FSIS/USDA Web site and look what I saw in a section called Why is Beef Called a "Red" Meat? "Other 'red' meats are veal, lamb, and pork."
Now I've long known that pork is a red meat but imagine my surprise when I discovered that the US government calls it a red meat, too.
So why should this matter? Have you heard the marketing slogan "Pork, The Other White Meat"? If the government categorizes pork as a red meat, how does this kind of advertising make it past the National Advertising Review Board?
No matter, I love pork. Bacon, chops, hams, I even tried tongue once. But here's something that's important to know: as with beef, the flavor and texture of pork is influenced by the place and conditions in which it was raised and what it ate. In fact, due to the way a pig's digestive system works, pork is probably even more reflective of "terroir."
If you care a lot about taste and texture, I suggest that you look for pork from pigs who've seen the light of day. I am developing a more detailed list of questions to ask but here's a little acid test or mini-cheat sheet, if you will.
- Ask the butcher or seller the name of the farm.
- Ask the breed.
- Ask how it was raised.
- Check to see that it is light red in color.
If you do see pork that has a red hue, or lord forbid some marbling, don't think something's wrong with it. In fact, you may be looking at be something that will taste absolutely delicious on your plate.