The Red Wattle is a rare breed and legends abound with the origins of them, the most popular being that they came to the America’s back to the late 1700’s when the French colonists brought the Red Wattle hogs with them to the Louisiana territory. They adapted well to the land and became known for their exceptional flavor, hardiness, foraging abilities and a natural rapid growth rate.
Today, after almost becoming extinct, breeders around the USA are determined to bring the Red Wattle Hogs back to the forefront. Many fine dining restaurants are realizing the significant difference between the quality of the Red Wattle hog and mainstream pork products.
Renowned St. Louis chef Julie Ridlon (owner of Chanterelle Catering co-founder of Clayton Farmer’s Market, and founder of Missouri Chef's Collaborative) reported the following:
"On Oct. 24, 2006 I hosted an industry pork butchering and blind tasting, which included around 20 cooks, interns and chefs (including St. Louis area's Andy White and Ed Neil). We compared water content, fat color, what the pigs were fed, and varieties of heritage breeds....and of course a loin from Sam's wholesale just to contrast”
The RED WATTLE entry won 1st place in the blind taste test.
Editor's note: Julie told us after the taste test that most of the pork samples were fresh slabs of meat, whereas the RED WATTLE meat came to them frozen.
The meat is lean, and yet has fine marbling characteristics. Chefs across the country have been astounded by the richness of flavor and succulence of the meat, which has been described as tasting like a cross between pork and beef and is definitely "the other RED meat"!