I'm off to collect my next two weaners this weekend, i've gone for mangalitzas this time as i believe that they were originally bred for curing, producing meat that is slightly darker and more marbled than other traditional breeds. I was wondering what is the best way to feed them if curing is the main object. In the past i've used mainly proprietory pig finisher supplemented with whatever veg i can grow for them, and this time i was hoping to increase the veg, along with brewers grains that i can pick up at a very advantageous price (Free!
) and grow them slower to achieve maximum flavour in the meat.
I was wondering how long the effect of the diet remains in the meat, i'm thinking for example of the acorn fed spanish black foot pigs that are used to make pate negra, presumably they are not totally fed on acorns as they are a seasonal thing (or do they store them?). I have read that when finishing a pig cut out the 'rubbish' and feed them on your choosen speciality diet (i.e acorns), how long before slaughter should one start to do this?
incidentally i've read that peas and hay are both good for flavouring the meat, and also that horse chestnuts are palatable to pigs and up here in the frozen wastelands of north cumbria i can get conkers far more readily than acorns, could they possibly be the secret ingredient to send my hams on the path to global fame and fortune?
Any thoughts or comments greatfully received.