We believe that Tamworth pork really is the best. Not only are the pigs a pleasure to rear with bags of personality, but have so many attributes pertaining to jolly good eating. Here’s why…
Sadly, following the Second World War commercial breeds took over as farmers were urged to keep more economical and more productive pigs. At the same time consumer tastes were changing, with shoppers demanding leaner pork. This resulted in farmers choosing commercial breeds over Tamworths and they became a rare breed. In fact, the Tamworth is still classed as “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust despite the vast improvement in the number of registered pedigree Tamwoths being kept. Choosing Tamworth meat does not only mean you get some lip smackingly good pork on your plate, but you also help to keep the breed alive.
Fat means flavour!
Tamworths are much slower to mature than most commercial breeds, meaning that they build up great intramuscular fat which marbles the meat – and fat means flavour! Not only does this mean the best crackling ever (see below for how to get amazing crackling), but the fat covering also makes it ideal for curing.
Traditional farming methods
Thanks to the hardy Tamworths’ thick, coarse coat they are ideally suited to living outdoors all year round which lets them maintain their lively and active (albeit a little cheeky) nature. As they lend themselves well to outdoor traditional farming methods, the people who rear them tend to really care as well, making sure that their welfare is put first and they are happy, which in turn ensures that they taste great on the plate.
What to do with it/ How to cook it
Whilst some breeds are best known for their bacon or just their pork, Tamworth meat is highly versatile and is excellently suited for either pork or bacon. Therefore, there isn’t much you can’t do with it!
How to get good crackling
Once you’ve had crackling from a Tamworth you won’t look elsewhere. The belly is a great cut for crackling making, it’s fat-rich composition makes it really shine when it’s slow-roasted; the fat bastes the meat throughout cooking making it super succulent and the crackling extra crunchy.
To cook: ask for the thick end of the belly and leave it on the bone. Score the fat (making sure you don’t cut the meat underneath), then rub a decent amount of sea salt into the fat. Start it on a hot oven for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 150°C and roast for about 2 hours (if it’s a particularly large piece of belly you may need 3 hours roasting).