If you haven’t heard of mulefoot hogs before, you’re not alone. This breed of domestic pig has not been on the radar of most people because hog farmers tend to prefer other breeds for profitability and convenience. However, if you have the patience and the facility to start your own mulefoot hog farm, you will learn that all the hard work is worth it.
The mulefoot pigs are one of the hardiest hog breeds in the US and are known for their uncloven hooves. During the 1900s, hog farmers have favored this livestock due to the ease of production for meat and lard products. According to NPR, mulefoot pigs were very popular in the Midwest due to their survivability.
Mulefoot pigs population had declined due to a massive shift in agriculture and preference. This decline is also associated with a smaller litter size. A male adult pig can weigh up to 550 pounds on average, and a female one at about 450 pounds.
“Melts in your mouth!”
Surely, everyone has heard this phrase to describe prime cuts of meat before. But even though it seems like a cliche description, mulefoot hog meat literally melts in the mouth. It has a better marbling because it is heritage pork. It has a richer tasting and juicer meat that is great for grilling and other similar cooking methods.
Additionally, this meat is known to be very tender compared to lean pork meets that are produced via modern agriculture. Some would even compare it to beef when it comes to taste, richness, and smell.
With its richer taste and better marbling, numerous food enthusiasts and chefs around the country. It is considered a gourmet ingredient due to its low supply and its endangered status. Most hog farmers who like Mulefoot hogs are rallying for it to be marketed again to increase the demand for the product.
There is a notion that mulefoot hogs can be a kosher alternative since it is very different from other marketed hogs. However, this is not the case because mulefoot hogs don’t chew their cuds and don’t have split hooves.
Although tender when cooked, the meat of the mulefoot hog needs a longer time in the pan or the oven due to its denser muscles. During that time, the marbling fat is slowly melted, imparting a mouthwatering aroma and richness. But just like beef, most people prefer to cook it by roasting or grilling, as the dense meat can take hours to cook fully.
For cooking, you can usually buy mulefoot pig meat on heritage farms and other more dedicated hog farmers. But do expect that it would be significantly more expensive than your usual pork. If you want to start a farm with this heritage breed, you might have better luck in areas in Mississippi.