Pork is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved. Curing extends the shelf life of the pork products. Ham, smoked pork, gammon, bacon and sausage are examples of preserved pork. Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, many from pork.
Pork is the most popular meat in East and Southeast Asia, and is also very common in the Western world. It is highly prized in Asian cuisines for its fat content and pleasant texture. The religions of Judaism and Islam, as well as several Christian denominations, forbid pork consumption; the sale of pork is illegal in many if not all Muslim countries, and is severely restricted in Israel (the only country with a Jewish majority).
- History 1
Consumption patterns 2
- Worldwide pork consumption 2.1
- Asian pork consumption 2.2
Pork products 3
- Fresh meat 3.1
- Processed pork 3.2
- Cuts 4
- Nutrition 5
Religious restrictions 6
- Judaism 6.1
- Islam 6.2
- Christianity 6.3
- Disease in pork 7
- Gallery of pork dishes 8
- See also 9
- References 10
- External links 11
The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated as early as 5000 BC. It is believed to have been domesticated either in the Near East or in China from the wild boar. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of this creature allowed early humans to domesticate it much earlier than many other forms of livestock, such as cattle. Pigs were mostly used for food, but people also used their hides for shields and shoes, their bones for tools and weapons, and their bristles for brushes. Pigs have other roles within the human economy: their feeding behaviour in searching for roots churns up the ground and makes it easier to plough; their sensitive noses lead them to truffles, an underground fungus highly valued by humans; and their omnivorous nature enables them to eat human rubbish, keeping settlements cleaner.
Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, these preparations are prepared today for the flavours that are derived from the preservation processes. In 15th century France, local guilds regulated tradesmen in the food production industry in each city. The guilds that produced charcuterie were those of the charcutiers. The members of this guild produced a traditional range of cooked or salted and dried meats, which varied, sometimes distinctively, from region to region. The only "raw" meat the charcutiers were allowed to sell was unrendered lard. The charcutier prepared numerous items, including pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon, trotters, and head cheese.
Before the mass production and re-engineering of pork in the 20th century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally an autumn dish—pigs and other livestock coming to the slaughter in the autumn after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer. Due to the seasonal nature of the meat in Western culinary history, apples (harvested in late summer and autumn) have been a staple pairing to fresh pork. The year-round availability of meat and fruits has not diminished the popularity of this combination on Western plates.
Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 38% of meat production worldwide, although consumption varies widely from place to place. The meat is Taboo to eat in the Middle East and most of the Muslim world because of Jewish kosher and Islamic Halal dietary restrictions. But pork is widely consumed in East and Southeast Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. As the result, large numbers of pork recipes are developed throughout the world. Feijoada for example, the national dish of Brazil (also served in Portugal), is traditionally prepared with pork trimmings: ears, tail and feet.
According to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, nearly 100 million metric tons of pork were consumed worldwide in 2006 (preliminary data). Increasing urbanization and disposable income has led to a rapid rise in pork consumption in China, where 2006 consumption was 20% higher than in 2002, and a further 5% increase projected in 2007. In 2013 recorded total 109.075 million metric tons of pork were consumed worldwide.
Worldwide pork consumption
|In metric tons (thousand), Source:USDA|
Asian pork consumption
Pork is popular throughout eastern Asia and the Pacific, where whole roast pig is a popular item in Pacific Island cuisine. It is consumed in a great many ways and highly esteemed in Chinese cuisine. Currently China is the world's largest pork consumer, with pork consumption expected to total 52 million tons in 2012, which accounts for more than half of global pork consumption. In China, pork is preferred over beef for economic and aesthetic reasons; the pig is easy to feed and is not used for labour. The colours of the meat and the fat of pork are regarded as more appetizing, while the taste and smell are described as sweeter and cleaner. It is also considered easier to digest. In rural tradition, pork is shared to celebrate important occasions and to form bonding. In China, pork is so important that the nation maintains a "strategic pork reserve". Red braised pork (hong shao rou), a delicacy from Hunan Province, is regarded as the "brain food" which inspired Mao Zedong. Other popular Chinese pork dishes are sweet and sour pork, bakkwa, and charsiu. In the Philippines, due to 300 years of Spanish colonization and influence, lechon, which is an entire roasted suckling pig, is the national delicacy of the Philippines.
Pork may be cooked from fresh meat or cured over time. Cured meat products include ham and bacon. The carcass may be used in many different ways for fresh meat cuts, with the popularity of certain cuts and certain carcass proportions varying worldwide.
Most of the carcass can be used to produce fresh meat and in the case of a suckling pig, the whole body of a young pig ranging in age from two to six weeks is roasted. Danish roast pork or flæskesteg, prepared with crispy crackling is a national favourite as the traditional Christmas dinner.
Pork is particularly common as an ingredient in sausages. Many traditional European sausages are made with pork, including chorizo, fuet, Cumberland sausage and salami. Many brands of American hot dogs and most breakfast sausages are made from pork. Processing of pork into sausages and other products in France is described as charcuterie.
Ham and bacon are made from fresh pork by curing with salt (pickling) and/or smoking. Shoulders and legs are most commonly cured in this manner for Picnic shoulder and ham, whereas streaky and round bacon come from the side (round from the loin and streaky from the belly).
Ham and bacon are popular foods in the west, and their consumption has increased with industrialisation. Non-western cuisines also use preserved meat products. For example, salted preserved pork or red roasted pork is used in Chinese and Asian cuisine.
Bacon is defined as any of certain cuts of meat taken from the sides, belly or back that have been cured and/or smoked. In continental Europe, it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, besides being used in cooking, bacon (pancetta) is also served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto. Bacon is also used for barding roasts, especially game birds. Bacon is often smoked, using various types of wood, a process which can take up to ten hours. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled.
A side of unsliced bacon is a "flitch" or "slab bacon", while an individual slice of bacon is a "rasher" (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) or simply a "slice" or "strip" (North America). Slices of bacon are also known as "collops". Traditionally, the skin is left on the cut and is known as "bacon rind". Rindless bacon, however, is quite common. In both Ireland and the United Kingdom, bacon comes in a wide variety of cuts and flavours, and is predominantly known as "streaky bacon", or "streaky rashers". Bacon made from the meat on the back of the pig is referred to as "back bacon" and is part of traditional full breakfast commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland. In the United States, back bacon may also be referred to as "Canadian-style Bacon" or "Canadian Bacon".
The USDA defines bacon as "the cured belly of a swine carcass", while other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g. "smoked pork loin bacon"). "USDA Certified" bacon means that it has been treated for Trichinella.
The canned meat Spam is made of chopped pork shoulder meat and ham.
The pig is well known for being able to be used from nose-to-tail. There are multiple systems of naming for cuts in America, Britain and France.
- Head: This can be used to make brawn, stocks and soups. After boiling, the ears can be fried or baked and eaten separately.
- Spare rib roast/spare rib joint/blade shoulder/shoulder butt: This is the shoulder and contains the shoulder blade. It can be boned out and rolled up as a roasting joint, or cured as "collar bacon". It is not to be confused with the rack of spare ribs from the front belly. Pork butt, despite its name, is from the upper part of the shoulder. The Boston butt, or Boston-style shoulder, cut comes from this area, and may contain the shoulder blade.
- Hand/arm shoulder/arm picnic: This can be cured on the bone to make a ham-like product, or used in sausages.
- Loin: This can be cured to give back bacon or Canadian-style bacon. The loin and belly can be cured together to give a side of bacon. The loin can also be divided up into roasts (blade loin roasts, centre loin roasts, and sirloin roasts come from the front, centre, or rear of the loin), back ribs (also called baby back ribs, or riblets), pork cutlets, and pork chops. A pork loin crown roast is arranged into a circle, either boneless or with rib bones protruding upward as points in a crown. Pork tenderloin, removed from the loin, should be practically free of fat. This high quality meat shows a very ordered arrangement of muscle cells that can cause light diffraction and structural coloration.
- Fatback: The subcutaneous fat and skin on the back are used to make pork rinds, a variety of cured "meats", lardons, and lard.
- Belly/side/side pork: The belly, although a fattier meat, can be used for steaks or diced stir-fry meat. Belly pork may be rolled for roasting or cut for streaky bacon.
- Legs/hams: Although any cut of pork can be cured, technically speaking only the back leg is entitled to be called a ham. Legs and shoulders, when used fresh, are usually cut bone-in for roasting, or leg steaks can be cut from the bone. Three common cuts of the leg include the rump (upper portion), centre, and shank (lower portion).
- Trotters: Both the front and hind trotters can be cooked and eaten.
- Spare ribs, or spareribs, are taken from the pig's ribs and the meat surrounding the bones. St. Louis–style spareribs have the sternum, cartilage, and skirt meat removed.
- Knuckles, intestines, jowls and all other parts of the pig may also be eaten.
- Tail: The tail has a very little meat, but many people enjoy the flavor. It can be roasted or fried, which makes the skin become crisp, and the bone soft. It has a strong flavor.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,013 kJ (242 kcal)|
|Dietary fibre||0.0 g|
|Aspartic acid||2.512 g|
|Glutamic acid||4.215 g|
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Its myoglobin content is lower than that of beef, but much higher than that of chicken. The USDA treats pork as a red meat. Pork is very high in thiamin (vitamin B1). Pork with its fat trimmed is leaner than the meat of most domesticated animals, but is high in cholesterol and saturated fat.
In 1987 the U.S. National Pork Board began an advertising campaign to position pork as "the other white meat"—due to a public perception of chicken and turkey (white meat) as healthier than red meat. The campaign was highly successful and resulted in 87% of consumers identifying pork with the slogan. The board retired the slogan on 4 March 2011.
Eating of pork is prohibited by orthodox Jewish dietary laws and Islamic dietary laws, and is also avoided by mainstream Seventh-day Adventists, Rastafarians, and members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is considered unclean by some adherents of Hinduism, but the (disputed) Scottish pork taboo disappeared by 1800.
These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the animals that are upon the land. Everything that possesses a split hoof, which is fully cloven, and that brings up its cud—this you may eat. But this is what you shall not eat from what brings up its cud or possesses split hooves—the camel, because it brings up its cud but does not possess split hooves...and the pig, because it has split hooves that are completely cloven, but it does not bring up its cud—it is impure to you and from its flesh you may not eat.
- —Leviticus 11:2–4, 7–8
And the pig, because it possesses split hooves and does not bring up its cud—from its flesh you may not eat.
- —Deuteronomy 14:8
As indicated by the Torah verses, pork is non-kosher because Jews may not consume an animal that possesses one trait but not the other of cloven hooves and regurgitating cud. Hogs, which are not ruminants, do not chew cud as cattle and sheep do.
In Israel pig-raising has been limited by law to certain areas and institutions. Some pig-related laws are openly circumvented. Swine production has increased from an estimated annual slaughter of 50,000 swine in 1960 to 180,000 in 2010. Pigmeat consumption per capita was 2.7 kg in 2009. Although pork marketing is prohibited in some religious localities, pork products are available elsewhere at non-kosher butchers and by the Mizra and Tiv Ta'am non-kosher supermarket chain which caters to Russian immigrants. A modern Hebrew euphemism for pork is "white meat".
Pork is prohibited by the Islamic dietary laws. Throughout the Islamic world many countries severely restrict the importation or consumption of pork products. Examples are Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and Maldives. However, in other Muslim-majority countries with significant non-Muslim minorities, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and parts of the UAE such as Dubai, pork is available in international hotels and some supermarkets that cater for expatriates and non-Muslims.
The Qur'anic basis for the Islamic prohibition of pork can be found in suras 2:173, 5:3, 5:60, 6:145 and 16:115.
He has forbidden you only the Maitah [i.e. carrion], and blood, and the flesh of swines, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.
- —Chapter (Sura) 2 - Verse (Ayat) 173 Al-Baqara (The Cow)
Some sects of Christianity abstain from the consumption of pork. The prohibition is based on Leviticus chapter 11, Deuteronomy chapter 14, Isaiah chapter 65 and Isaiah chapter 66. Some denominations that forbid pork consumption are:
- United Church of God
- Hebrew Roots
- Seventh-day Adventists
- Ethiopian Orthodox
- Messianic Jews
Disease in pork
Undercooked or untreated pork may harbour pathogens, or can be recontaminated after cooking if left exposed for a long period of time. In one instance, the E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus can be found in inadequately cooked pork, poultry, and other meats. The FSIS, a part of the USDA, currently recommends cooking ground pork to 160 °F (71 °C) and whole cuts to 145 °F (63 °C) followed by a 3-minute rest.
Pigs can be carriers of various helminths, such as roundworms, pinworms, hookworms. One of the more common is Taenia solium, a type of tapeworm, which may transplant to the intestines of humans after consuming undercooked meat.
Although not a common cause of illness, Yersinia enterocolitica—which causes gastroenteritis—is present in various foods, but is most frequently caused by eating uncooked or undercooked pork and can grow in refrigerated conditions. The bacteria can be killed by heat. Nearly all outbreaks in the US have been traced to pork.
Pork may be the reservoir responsible for sporadic, locally acquired cases of acute hepatitis E (HEV) reported in regions with relatively mild climates. It has been found to transmit between swine and humans.
Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, or trichiniasis, is a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork infected with the larvae of a species of roundworm Trichinella spiralis, commonly called the trichina worm. Infection was once very common, but is now rare in the developed world. From 2002 to 2007, an annual average of 11 cases per year were reported in the United States; the majority were from consuming wild game or the source was unknown. The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw meat garbage to hogs, increased commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game products.
Gallery of pork dishes
- . FAO. 25 September 2012.
- Pigs Force Rethink on Human History University of Oxford Press Office. 11 March 2005.
- Giuffra, E; Kijas, JM; Amarger, V; Carlborg, O; Jeon, JT; Andersson, L (2000). "The origin of the domestic pig: independent domestication and subsequent introgression". Genetics 154 (4): 1785–91.
- Ruhlman, 18.; The Culinary Institute of America, 3.
- Ruhlman, 19.
- Thompson, Michael D., “‘Everything but the Squeal’: Pork as Culture in Eastern North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review, 82 (Oct. 2005), 464–98. Heavily illustrated.
- "Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade." Circular Series DL&P 2-06, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States Department of Agriculture, October 2006. Retrieved on 15 August 2007.
- "Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Solomon, Charmaine (1996). Encyclopedia of Asian Food. Melbourne: William Heinemann Australia. p. 288.
- Mamta Badkar (May 29, 2013). "14 Facts About The Staggeringly Huge Chinese Pork Industry". Business Insider. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Tropp, Barbara (1982). The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. New York: Hearst Books. p. 183.
- Wines, Michael (15 July 2011). "China Plans to Release Some of Its Pork Stockpile to Hold Down Prices".
- Moore, Malcolm (29 January 2010). "China sets standard for Chairman Mao's favourite dish".
- "Danish Christmas dinner", Wonderful Denmark. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Ruhlman, Michael and Polcyn, Brian. Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing. New York: W.W Norton & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-05829-1
- Cattleman's Beef Board & National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
- United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Glossery B. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
- Mother Earth News - What Good Is A Pig by Walter Jeffries
- Martinez-Hurtado, J L (November 2013). "Foods". Iridescence in Meat Caused by Surface Gratings 2 (2): 499–506.
- Fresh Pork...from Farm to Table USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- Calorie-Count.com Nutrition Facts
- "'"Pork board swaps 'White Meat' for 'Be Inspired.
- Segev, Tom (27 January 2012). "The Makings of History / Pork and the people". HaAretz. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Barak-Erez, Daphne (2007). Outlawed Pigs: Law, Religion, and Culture in Israel. Univ of Wisconsin Press.
- Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI). "Pigs FACTSHEET". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Yoskowitz, Jeffrey (24 April 2008). "On Israel’s Only Jewish-Run Pig Farm, It’s The Swine That Bring Home the Bacon - Letter From Kibbutz Lahav By April 24, 2008". Forward. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Travel Report for Iran Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
- Travel Report for Mauritania Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
- Travel Advice for Oman Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Travel Report for Qatar Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
- Travel Report for Saudi Arabia Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. It is often used by abusers to address Pakistan.
- "More meat recalls: pork sausage due to listeria contamination". 1 May 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Safety of Fresh Pork...from Farm to Table". Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Fresh Pork...from Farm to Table". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Bacterial Food Poisoning". Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States". Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Trichinellosis Fact Sheet". Centers for Disease Control, US Government. 2004. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- National Pork Board
- "Be inspired" - National Pork Board campaign
- National Pork Producers' Council
- Radio broadcast about pork production by Kootenay Co-op Radio
- Slovak Pork Slaughter and Traditional Sausage Making - article in English with detailed pictures of a Slovak family slaughtering a pig in 68 steps