What is Kurobuta Pork? Understanding the Premier Pork

November 25, 2022
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Kurobuta pork comes from Kurobuta pigs. The meat is especially tasty and succulent.

Even as a professional chef, I have only gotten the opportunity to cook real Kurobuta pork a few times. However, I have done my research on it in culinary school to understand just what makes this meat so special.

In this post, I will answer the question what is Kurobuta pork and go into detail about this delicacy. Let’s begin!

What is Kurobuta Pork

What is Kurobuta Pork?

Kurobuta pork comes from Kurobuta pigs – a breed of pigs also known as Berkshire pigs.

As the story goes, the Queen of England was involved in raising a certain type of black pig in the Berkshire County. At some point, these Berkshire hogs were sent to the Emperor in Japan. They became quite popular here.

Only meat taken from a Berkshire pig can be labelled as Kurobuta pork. In that essence, it is much like Wagyu beef or kobe beef.

So, what does this mean? Is Kurobuta pork from Japan?

Well, not really. Technically it is from England although the Japanese have perfected the art of raising the Berkshire pig. Despite its name, you can call this meat Berkshire pork as well, although it isn’t really know by this descriptor.

What is the Difference Between Berkshire and Kurobuta Pork?

There isn’t any difference at all as they refer to the same kind of meat. It is most likely to be referred to by the Kurobuta name if the meat comes from Japan rather then the UK or America.

Pork Chops

What Makes Kurobuta Pork Special?

Well, there are a few different things that make this type of meat so special in the pork world.

First of all, proper Kurobuta pork is only sourced from the Berkshire pig heritage breed. As such, they come from a lineage that produces pigs that have a higher fat content and more marbling throughout.

The pH level of the Berkshire hog is also higher. This means that the resulting meat isn’t just juicier, it also tastes a lot better.

It is also only considered Berkshire pork if the meat comes from Berkshire pigs raised in open air family farms. The pigs must have the freedom to walk around in fresh air.

What’s more, they have to be given wholesome and fresh feed free of antibiotics and other artificial components.

Where Can You Find Kurobuta Meat?

You are unlikely to find this kind of meat in your local grocery store. And, even if you do, it is likely to be fake commodity pork.

The reality is that there is a limited supply of this kind of meat. Due to this, you will only find it at specialty butchers.

Even then, there is no guarantee. The high prices of the pork mean that there isn’t as much demand for it from the lay person. So, many butchers may not bother stocking up.

Your best chance at finding this pork is online on a platform like Snake River Farms.

How to Find Authentic Kurobuta Meat?

This is actually a lot trickier than you might expect. A surprising amount of people try to pass off half breed or mixed breed pigs as purebred Berkshire hogs.

This is something that you are likely to even find in expensive restaurants. To make sure that your meat came from heritage breeds, it is important to look for pork that has been certified American Berkshire Association.

If you choose a well-known online store that will fact check these credentials for you, then you don’t have to go through the hassle yourself.

Keep in mind, that this meat can be quite pricey. So, it is worth it to you to make the proper inquiries.

From the first bite, you will be able to tell whether or not you have got the real deal so always check your sources.

Fat Pork Belly Getting Seasoned to Perfection

How to Cook Berkshire Pork?

Try a pork chop if you want to prepare Berkshire pork. The pork chops have just the right amount of fat ensuring the best possible texture and flavor.

What’s more, when it comes to a pork chop, you can easily cook it to just 145 degrees F. By not overcooking it, you can enjoy all that this delicious meat has to offer.

Baby back ribs are truly delicious due to all the fat in this meat. Keep the spice rub to a minimum. Also, don’t douse the ribs in sauce, instead daub it on.

Pork shoulder is great too but keep in mind that you may end up paying a hefty price for such a large cut. If you do, try to keep the rub or added ingredients simple. You want the natural flavor profile of the meat to shine through here.

Wrapping It Up

There you have it – all that you need to know about Kurobuta pork. If you want to find some for yourself or order it as a restaurant, you know just how to make sure that you are getting the real deal.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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