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What is Wagyu Pork?

What is Wagyu Pork

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Summary: What is the Wagyu of pork?

Wagyu pork is a recent popular name given by pork enthusiasts. Wagyu pork is neither a specific type of pig breed nor a type of cow’s meat. This term refers to very few specific high-quality pork breeds that best reassembled the premium quality of wagyu beef. 

Besides that, this is also a marketing gimmick to attract pork fans. Read more to discover which pig breeds are indeed high-premium quality and worth trying. We will also discuss wagyu pork belly and the best way to cook premium cuts of pig.

wagyu pork with dense fat marbling

Understanding Wagyu

Wagyu is a highly prized breed of cattle from Japan, known for producing exceptionally high-quality beef. It stands out for its marbling, which refers to the fine streaks of intramuscular fat throughout the beef, resulting in a tender and flavorful experience. 

Wagyu beef is renowned for its buttery texture, rich umami taste, and robust beefy flavor. Chefs and food enthusiasts worldwide seek Wagyu beef for its luxurious and indulgent dining experiences. Wagyu pork aims to replicate these desirable qualities in pork, and the next section will explore its unique characteristics.

wagyu beef ribeye

The Concept of Wagyu Pork

Wagyu pork refers to pork that aims to replicate the desirable qualities of Wagyu beef, such as marbling, tenderness, and flavor. While not a crossbreed between pigs and cows, Wagyu pork involves selectively breeding and raising pigs to achieve superior quality and marbling.

Wagyu pigs are raised on specialized diets prioritizing nutrient balance and flavor development to enhance marbling. Careful husbandry practices and stress reduction techniques are also implemented to ensure the well-being of the pigs.

The result is pork with exceptional marbling, tenderness, and flavor, providing a luxurious dining experience. However, standards and usage of “Wagyu pork” may vary, so it’s vital to seek out reputable sources and producers.

Pig Breeds Known for High-Quality Pork

When it comes to Wagyu pork, because Wagyu itself is a Japanese term, we are usually referring to Kurobuta pork. Besides that, Iberico is another pig often referred to as Wagyu pork. However, I will extend the list to other high-premium quality pork, Tamworth, Duroc, and Mangalica.

  1. Berkshire or Kurobuta: The Berkshire pig, also known as Kurobuta, is a heritage breed originating from England. Famous for its rich marbling and flavorful meat, Berkshire pork is sought after by chefs and food enthusiasts. The intramuscular fat in Berkshire pork contributes to its tenderness, juiciness, and distinctive taste.

    Berkshire or Kurobuta
  2. Tamworth: Tamworth pigs, another heritage breed, are celebrated for their lean yet flavorful meat. While Tamworth pork may be less fatty than other breeds, it can still exhibit good marbling when raised under specific conditions and feeding regimes. The meat of Tamworth pigs is often praised for its robust flavor and tenderness.

    tamworth pork
  3. Duroc: Originating from the United States, Duroc pigs are well-regarded for their exceptional meat quality. Duroc pork is known for its marbling, tenderness, and rich flavor. The breed’s genetic characteristics make it highly suitable for producing premium pork that satisfies even the most discerning palates.

    duroc pig
  4. Mangalica: It is also known as the Kobe beef of pork. Hailing from Hungary, Mangalica pigs, also known as “woolly pigs,” are recognized for their unique appearance and remarkable meat quality. Mangalica pork boasts abundant marbling and a thick layer of fat, contributing to its juiciness and intense flavor. It is often considered a delicacy among pork enthusiasts.

  5. Ibérico or Black Iberian pig: Originated from Spain or Portugal. The Ibérico pig breed, primarily known for producing exquisite cured hams, can also yield remarkable pork. Purebred Ibérico pigs, particularly the acorn-fed variety (Ibérico de Bellota), produce pork with unique marbling and exceptional flavor. Ibérico pork is highly regarded for its richness and complexity.

    iberian black pig

Cooking methods that showcase Wagyu pork

You can cook Wagyu pork in numerous ways to uncover its unique flavors. I promise you won’t regret giving it a try! If you’re looking for a delicious way to cook pork chops, grilling them is a great option! The marbling in the meat will create a yummy crust while keeping the inside moist and juicy. 

Braising or sous vide methods can make it extra tender and flavorful if you cook your meat nicely and slowly. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try using thinly sliced Wagyu pork for a fancy hot pot meal!

kurobuta raw meat

Wagyu pork belly

The term “wagyu pork belly” recently gained popularity among enthusiasts. This term refers to a superior quality pork belly with high-quality fat comparable in texture and taste to wagyu beef.

When people refer to Wagyu pork, generally, they are referring to the whole pork. A pork belly is a specific cut of meat underside of a pig, located just behind the front leg. This part is super versatile among all the pig cuts; it is also the most flavorful one. 

Cooking Wagyu pork belly using a simple cooking method is recommended for the best results. In our culinary home cooking world, if you got a priced and high-quality cut of meat, the best way to cook it is through simple seasoning, salt and pepper, and nothing else.

So, the best way to cook Wagyu pork belly is by roasting, barbeque, or sous vide. You want to bring out the sweetness and savory taste of Wagyu pork belly as much as possible without much seasoning, saucing, and marinating. Check out this simple recipe for roasting or air frying the pork belly.

roasted pork belly

The Availability of Wagyu Pork

Specialty Butcher Shops, Gourmet Retailers, and Online Platforms:

  • Seek out specialty butcher shops and gourmet retailers known for their high-quality meats.

  • Additionally, explore reputable online platforms that offer Wagyu pork for convenient ordering.

Direct-to-Consumer Sales from Farms and Producers:

  • Some farms and producers offer direct-to-consumer sales of the meat.

Restaurants and Fine Dining Establishments:

  • These establishments often feature Wagyu pork. I have got to warn you; this is very pricey.

By now, you should know that although Wagyu Pork refers primarily to Kurobuta or Berkshire. Some fans even name Wagyu pork the “Kobe beef or pork.” As I mentioned initially, any premium quality pork cut with good fat marbling from the pig can be Wagyu pork. 



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