Know where your pork is from

  • By
    Jimmy Doherty

It pays to know where your meat comes from- we have some expert tips on rearing pigs to produce your own pork

Pigs on a farm

Pork is one of the most popular meats in the UK - we consume around 900,000 tonnes a year - hams, sausages, cuts - and a further 600,000 tonnes of bacon. It pays to know where your pork is from, and Jimmy Doherty has some good tips on buying the best.

Four years after the BBC documentary 'Jimmy's Farm', Jimmy Doherty's derelict Suffolk farm Pannington Hall has become a thriving place to visit - and buy meat. Jimmy's passion for his chosen animal, and his passion for producing the best meat he possibly can, comes across loud and clear.

Got a couple of spare acres?

Jimmy says buy two pigs, from a traditional breed if you can, for example Tamworth, Saddleback, Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Large Black, Middle White and Oxford Sandy & Black. He says they'll keep each other company, and you'll need to give them lots of love and attention. "They will need about an acre each."

Not got a couple of spare acres?

Us neither. If raising your own meat is not possible, buying it does not have to be second best. When choosing meat, you should "make sure the animal has had an outdoor life - free range, if you like - and I always recommend buying meat from a traditional breed," says Jimmy.

What to look for when choosing a whole pig

At Jimmy's Pannington Hall Farm, they sell all joints and cuts of pork and make their own sausages. Jimmy says, "If you want to buy from a butcher near you, make sure the butcher is a Q Guild butcher, or accredited to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Remember to buy meat with a good layer of fat around it, which helps cooking. And make sure you always buy British, and know exactly where the meat comes from."

You'll also need to consider some basic practical points - a fully-grown pig is a large animal, so you'll need to consider transport and your freezer space. It can be economical to buy a pig to share between friends and freezers.

Pork recipes to try

Mexican-style chilli ribs
Barbecued leg of pork with grilled summer vegetables
Rolled pork belly with herby apricot & honey stuffing
Herb-studded roast loin of pork with apple & cider gravy
Maple-mustard pulled pork
All pork recipes...

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