Duroc, origin of this breed and its use in Spain
Although you may not know it, the Duroc breed is present in many of the sausages that you usually consume, being perfect for the preparation of fresh products such as secret, fat, loin ... Pieces that are very appreciated. You can also find it in high quality hams and with Designation of Origin (Teruel, Huelva or Guijuelo, some of them that will sound familiar to you.)
That is why we are going to go deeply into the origin of the Duroc or Duroc-Jersey breed and its specific use in Spain.
Duroc ham emerged in the 19th century through the crossing of the Old Duroc and the Red Jersey breeds in the USA. These two breeds come from different European pigs such as the Berkshire or African pigs, such as the Colorado of Guinea. The Duroc breed genetically has more similarities with Iberian pigs than with white pigs.
In Spain they were introduced in the 60s and for some time now, they are being used in white pig crossings because they provide fat infiltration and improve their quality and flavor. This is the only breed allowed within the Iberian Quality legislation in force for crossing with Iberian pigs as long as it is limited to 50% of its origin and only through male.
We can say that the 50% of the products that are labeled as Iberian in our country come from the crossing of Iberian mother and Duroc father, although nothing is indicated on the label. This may cause detriment of pure iberico pieces to the consumer and to the manufacturer.
Physical characteristics of Duroc hams
The skin color of Duroc hams can range from light yellow to very dark red. Although the color does not influence their reproductive capacity, as there is a certain preference in the market for those having a darker color.
The head of this type of pig is small in relation to the size of its body while their legs are long and strong.
Breeding of Duroc hams
These animals have a high resistance to diseases, consequently, they are suitable for intensive farming. They also have great adaptability that allows them to live in any kind of climate, even at tropical countries.
On the other hand, this pig breed gain high weight daily and easily converts them into kilos of meat, which translates into profitability for farmers. The average adult weight maybe around 325 kilos.
The use of Duroc hams for crosses
The reason why Duroc hams are used for crosses is that their productivity is improved, as they are strong and better growing. The inconvenience is that the infiltration of fat decreases in comparison to iberian hams. This means that although the Duroc may be very good but the lipid composition of the Iberian is more healthy.
Nutritional properties of Duroc hams
Duroc ham is low in sodium, in addition to being an important source of protein and potassium, and containing a high proportion of vitamins, zinc, and phosphorus.
How do we translate this into positive values for humans?
The nervous and muscular systems of those who include it in their diet is improved, in addition to benefiting the strength of bones and the immune system.
Gastronomy using Duroc hams
Due to the privileged genetics of these animals, Duroc hams are present in almost 90% of the high quality hams marketed in the world. About Spain, we can say that it is one of the most common in meat production thanks to its exceptional flavor, aroma and juiciness.
But also, thanks to all these qualities, its presence is gaining more strength in the gourmet cuisine of the world. It is ideal for preparations that require long cooking times, such as stews and roasts.
Another of the most commercialized parts of the Duroc pigs is the loin. The meat from the lower part of the neck has a lot of infiltrated fat, giving juiciness.
Duroc pigs are juicier, more tender in texture and more intense in flavor, ideal for both stews and grilled dishes thanks to its high fat infiltration. Its meat is also present in the production of hams, loin and other sausages that we consume regularly and it is mixed with white pork.
Duroc pigs are medium in size, with a reddish color and long hair. The trunk is of medium size, counting with long and moderately thin legs and black hooves.
Its meat of Duroc hams is very similar to that of the Iberian pig in terms of nutritional and organoleptic characteristics.
The most common white pig breeds to make serrano hams for human consumption are Landrace, Large White and Pietrain. They are animals with thick and short legs, with a characteristic pink or light and delicate skin, that can even burn if exposed to the sun.
Although it may appear that their meat contains a high level of fat, actually white pigs have lost the ability to accumulate subcutaneous fat and therefore do not infiltrate their muscles either. The meat of serrano hams is leaner but has less flavor.
Do you want to try a Duroc ham? We make it easy for you: at Jamonarium we have a 100% Duroc Gran Reserva Ham that you should try. You will love it.