About Iberian Pigs
Pigs are meat pigs from to the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian pig can probably be
traced back to the Neolithic, when animal domestication started. Currently they
are found in herds clustered in the central and southern part of PortugalandSpain.
The most commonly accepted
theory is that the first pigs were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by thePhoeniciansfrom the Eastern Mediterranean coast
(current dayLebanon), where they
interbred withwild boars. This cross
gave rise to the ancestors of what are today Iberian pigs. The Iberian breed is
currently one of the few examples of a domesticated breed which has adapted to
a pastoral setting where the land is particularly rich in natural resources, in
this case acorns from the holm oak, gall oak, andcork oak.
The numbers of Iberian Pigs has been drastically
reduced since 1960 due to several factors such as the outbreak ofAfrican swine fever and the lowered value
of animal fats. In the past few years, however, the production of pigs of the
Iberian type has increased to satisfy a renewed demand for top quality meat and
cured products. At the same time, breed specialization has led to the
disappearance of some ancestral varieties.
Pigs have a good appetite and temp to be very fat, they have a great
capacity to accumulate intramuscular and epidermal fat. The high intramuscular
fat content leads to marbling; and this, plus their feeding based on acorns,
makes for especially tasty meat.
Iberian pigs can be either red
or dark color colored, if black ranging from dark to grey, with little or no
hair and a lean body, thus giving rise to their familiar name pata negra,
or "black hoof". In traditional management, animals ranged freely in
sparse oak forest ('dehesa'), they are constantly moving around and therefore
burn more calories than confined pigs.