The pork you’re about to discover can’t be found in grocery stores. And until recently, you couldn’t even source it for your own kitchen. That is, unless you were a Michelin-starred chef. It comes from a family farm--our family farm--and it’s making diners’ tastebuds rejoice around the country. Today, we’re telling you the secrets behind our legendary taste.
To understand what goes into the pork that Detroit's top chefs flock to, you first have to understand how most industrial farms operate. Modern industrial agriculture promotes farming practices that raise animals quickly and profitably. Commodity pork is bred to grow quickly, with a lean fat ratio. Why? Within the meat lies the profit. This means that animals are kept in confined spaces, fed cheap GMO grains, and often given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick.
This style of farming is designed to bring young animals to market quickly while keeping costs down. Grain-fed hogs hold significantly less nutritional value than hogs given a balanced diet through foraging, rooting, and eating grains.
Part of what sets heritage breed animals apart is time. They typically grow for 1.5 years, compared to the 10-12 month period for non-heritage breeds. This allows for higher intramuscular fat content, which plays a significant role in the flavor and tenderness of the product.
Animals that don't pasture still gain fat, but not the prized intramuscular fat of a heritage breed animal. Unpastured animal fat grows on the outside of the muscle due to lack of exercise. The end result is woefully lacking in tenderness and flavor. That's why we only raise our hogs on our own family farm or on vetted local farms, guaranteeing that each is pasture-raised with a balanced diet and adequate exercise.
Our secret is simple: we co-locate two of the world's finest heritage breed hogs and let them live as nature intended. The Mulefoot is the base of our special blend, and the namesake of our restaurant The Mulefoot Gastropub. The breed is critically endangered; as of 2006, there were fewer than 200 purebred Mulefoot hogs in existence.1 We’re privileged to raise a number of full-blood mulefoot hogs on our family farm in Imlay City.
The other half of our special blend is the Mangalitsa hog, which the ModernFarmer.com calls "the Kobe Beef of Pork". The Mangalitsa is a hog originally reserved for Austrian royalty, known for its incredibly high fat content and out-of-this-world flavor. They are naturally great foragers, a skill that adds to the development of intramuscular fat. Our animals are given non-GMO feed, but are free to forage. Plus, we practice sustainable farming and pasture rotation without using pesticides.
We raise full-blood animals of both breeds, but our specific blend of the two is what makes the finest pork cuts in America. It’s this proprietary mix that earned The Mulefoot Gastropub its spot on OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants in America list.
Your journey to pork bliss starts now. Visit our shop in Ferndale, MI or have our meat delivered to your door. Just call (248) 509-8556 to order, or click the button below to shop now. But remember: only 10% of the products we have in store are available online. As a whole animal butchery, we carry every single cut of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and more. If there’s something you don't see online, just give us a call.