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Breeds Apart

How to tell your Mangalitsas from your Ossabaws, and six other heritage varieties.


Red Wattle Originally bred in New Orleans, Wattles have a wild, porky taste that’s ideal for Creole cuisine. “You can get an aggressive sear on the meat,” says Vinegar Hill House’s Brian Leth, “without overcooking it.”
Duroc Known for its juiciness and mild flavor (excellent for meatballs), pasture-raised Durocs are neither especially fatty nor lean. “It’s the even-Steven of pigs,” says Patrick Martins of meat purveyor Heritage Foods.
Mangalitsa The culinary world’s newest trendy hog, heralded for its huge amounts of creamy white fat for making pâté, salumi, or lardo. The downside is its price, up to $25 a pound, twice as much as other heritage pork.
Ossabaw Running wild off the coast of Georgia, they evolved into a small, fatty breed with dark-red, almost spicy meat, perfect for dishes like Gramercy Tavern’s pork loin and belly with rice, beans, and bacon.
Tamworth The svelte, reddish hog has large chops and a long belly that makes for terrific bacon. Bill Telepan uses Tamworths for everything from roasts to sausages at his eponymous restaurant.
Gloucestershire Old Spots A large, docile, and fatty breed with intense marbling and sweet, nutty meat. They’re highly sought after by butchers like T.J. Burnham at Marlow & Daughters, yet purebreds are exceedingly difficult to find.
Berkshire Well muscled and beefy looking, and known for its smoky, sweet meat and well-balanced fat. Chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill goes through three Berkshires a week, serving every edible piece of the animal.
Hampshire One of the leanest breeds, the large, hardy hog is valued for the sheer amount of meat it produces. They’re rare, but A Voce Columbus has a purveyor in Iowa that makes a particularly flavorful pancetta.

Photographs: Joel Sartore/National Geographic/Getty Images (Red Wattle); Nigel Cattlin/Alamy (Duroc); Life On White/Alamy (Mangalitsa); Robert Dowling/Corbis (Tamworth, Berkshire); Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images (Gloucester); Monika Graff/Getty Images (Hampshire); Jeannette Beranger/ALBC (Ossabaw)


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