The Secret to Exceptional Pork: Pastured and Happy Pigs

Have you ever wondered why cows can survive solely on grass, while pigs need a little extra in their diet? The answer lies in their digestive systems. At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we take pride in the well-being of our pigs, allowing them to spend ample time outdoors, grazing on grass, rooting through the soil, and being their natural, happy selves. This article will uncover the fascinating differences between cows and pigs, the truth about “grass-fed” pork, and why pastured pork is the superior choice.

The Digestive Divide: Cows vs. Pigs

Cows are ruminants, equipped with complex stomachs designed to break down tough cellulose found in grass. Their unique digestive system, which involves multiple chewing processes and symbiotic bacteria, allows them to extract energy and protein from grass efficiently. Conversely, pigs have a single stomach, making them dietary generalists rather than grass specialists. While pigs benefit from the nutrition grass provides, they are not equipped to survive on grass alone due to their less efficient digestion.

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Debunking the Myth: Grass-Fed Pork

Although we cannot claim to sell grass-fed pork like cows, our pigs thrive on a diverse diet that includes both grain and pasture. However, their metabolic flexibility enables them to flourish on various foods. At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, our pigs enjoy apples during the fall, clover, a variety of roots, and even expired bread or produce from the local health food store. This adaptability allows pigs to maintain their health without solely relying on grass.

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The Acorn Connection

You might have come across claims of “acorn-fed” pigs, such as the famous Iberico pigs from Spain. While these prized pigs are indeed released to feast on oak groves, they initially receive a grain ration. Only a select few are finished without any grain supplementation, resulting in the highly coveted Jamon Iberico de Bellota, which commands a premium price. Keep in mind that any farmer with oak trees could claim to sell “acorn-fed” pigs, but the true acorn-fed pigs lead a life deeply intertwined with oak forests, not merely snacking on a few acorns.

The Possibility of Grain-Free Pork

In theory, it is possible to raise pigs without any grain supplementation. In the wild, millions of pigs roam freely in America, particularly in the South. These descendants of escaped wild hogs have adapted to survive without direct grain consumption, though they have a penchant for cornfields much to the dismay of farmers. Historically, pigs were also allowed to roam semi-wild in the woods, foraging on a diverse range of foods. While they consumed little grain, they made up for it by devouring roots, bird eggs, and anything else they could find. However, this unmanaged foraging behavior was not environmentally sustainable and often led to damage. Feeding pigs grain allows for their controlled growth while maintaining a positive impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

Pastured: The Prized Choice

While grass-fed pork may not be feasible for pigs, opting for pastured pork offers exceptional quality. Our pastured pigs enjoy a diverse diet, rich in plants, roots, and high-quality hay during colder seasons. Unlike factory-farmed pigs confined to barns, our pigs live fulfilling lives outdoors, exercising, breathing fresh air, and relishing in a varied diet. This results in pork that surpasses anything found in supermarkets.

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At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we are committed to providing you with the finest pastured pork. Our pigs are raised with care, ensuring their well-being, and delivering pork of unparalleled taste and quality.

Hook’d Up Bar and Grill