Reared pigs originally come from wild boar, with important modifications that have transformed them first into a fat source (pigs for lard) and then into a source for meat, for the cold cuts and above all for the production of ham (large pigs, for cold cuts or raw ham).
Even more recently light pigs or pigs for slaughtering have come about thanks to efforts made in rearing technology.
These last two “types” of pigs differ not only genetically, but also for the rearing and in particular the feeding systems.
Therefore, the “types” of meat obtained are significantly different in regards to the quantity and the quality of the fat, which tend to gather outside the muscle and therefore can be easily separable from the “meat” (muscle).
Today fresh pork due to its relative cheapness is the alternative to beef, which is the most consumed in Italy.
The prejudice against the consumption of this meat, considered too “heavy” particularly during the hotter periods of the year, is related to the quality of fat in the pork that used to be obtained in the past. On the contrary today, pigs are reared with a cover of fat (so called lard) just 1-2 cm thick, against 8-10 cm years ago. Also the infiltrated fat in 5-6 months old slaughtered pigs (called “baconers”) has decreased to 2-4% from 15-20% in previous times.
Therefore, lean pig meat has become as excellent a source of protein and vitamins as that of Beef.
The meat of the younger animals are preferably roasted; that of the older animals are more suited for braising. The quantity of pig meat used industrially for preparing deli products, counts for approximately half of the quantity produced globally. The other half goes towards direct food consumption, along with the previously mentioned cuts.