About a quarter of a Glendower Farms whole hog bundle is boneless meat. These are the most popular—and most expensive—cuts commonly purchased by meat shoppers at their local supermarket. However, fresh boneless cuts from 100% Iberian pigs are rare in U.S. markets. They are found primarily online and at specialty meat purveyors. These fresh boneless cuts of Iberico pork are also very expensive, frequently costing $30 to $40 per pound.
Meat from purebred Iberico pigs is special because of its intramuscular fat (marbling), its unique intermuscular fat, and its intense flavor. At Glendower Farms, we also grow this unusual heritage breed to maximize its genetic potential for producing a distinctive, high quality meat.
But breeding and growing the pig is only part of the trip to the plate. Guaranteeing a savory end product also requires a knowledgeable and skilled cook. An overcooked loin chop, even from a carefully produced Iberian pig, can still end up dried out and tough.
Furthermore, Iberian pigs are still pigs, and the different muscle meats have different eating qualities. Loins and tenderloins, for example, have very little connective tissue and are usually always tender when properly cooked. The shoulder has some of the tastiest meat on the pig, but muscle groups there have more connective tissue. So some cuts from the shoulder can be good, but chewy, unless the cook addresses the chewiness issue by preparing and/or cooking the meat in a fashion that breaks down the connective tissue.
There are multiple ways to address the tenderness issues usually associated with connective tissue. Here is a good overview article on How to Tenderize Pork. You probably already know most of these techniques, but the article provides a good checklist for getting unsurpassed eating pleasure from the popular pork cuts from a very special pig.
The boneless meat cuts in our Glendower Farms whole hog bundles are selected to maximize flexibility and convenience. Loins are cut in small roast sizes that can be cooked whole, sliced into chops at your preferred thickness, or you can try your hand at smoking or curing them.
In the HOMESTEADER bundle, we also pack the tenderest parts of the ham in roast size packages for the same reason.
Both our HOMESTEADER and our CHEF bundles contain steaks from the leg and shoulder that have already been mechanically tenderized for you so that any connective tissue doesn’t distract from the great taste of these cuts. We like to sear these small steaks fast in a very hot skillet (450 degrees F.) that immediately seals in the flavor and juiciness. They are a great quick meal, because they are thin and can cook in only a few seconds; so be careful not to overcook when cooking them this way.
Spaniards who have been eating this tasty Iberico pork for generations are passionate about one other aspect of cooking it. DON’T OVERSEASON. “Why would you want to cover up that great taste?” they ask. A little salt and pepper may be all you need on many of these cuts.