Berkshire and Mangalitsa pigs are both known for their fine tasting pork. Berkshire has achieved wider fame in the United States. Sellers of Berkshire pork like D'Artagnan and Snake River Farms are known all over the United States for selling Berkshire Pork. Mangalitsa is a breed that has produced less volume in the United States, as an import from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is rising quickly.
Our farm, Acorn Bluff Farms, set out to raise Mangalitsa (also often called Mangalica) pork in Southeast Iowa. We believe that Managalitsa or Mangalica is arguably the best tasting pork in the world, but Berkshire is also a delicious complement.
(If you're interested in trying some Mangalitsa pork, click here to order now)
Berkshire Pork Appearance
Berkshire Pork are black with white "points.". They can grow up to 600 lbs. Typically, Berkshires or "Berks" have a little less of a belly than Mangalitsa Pork-instead they are slightly heavier muscled and resemble their contemporaries in build.
Mangalitsa Pork Appearance
Mangalitsa come in one of three colors-blonde, red, or swallow-bellied. They have a ton of carcass fat which is obvious in appearance as well. Fat is flavor, and Mangalitsa have a ton of it, which means they look more like the pigs you'd see in old paintings.
A Mangalitsa Pig Carcass for reference
Here is an ancient picture of a Mangalitsa pig.
As you can see the ancient pork has a larger belly, less muscle and looks like you would see in older paintings. This means that Berkshires are slower growing than conventional pork, and Mangalitsa grow even slower than Berks.
We all can agree that Berkshire and Mangalitsa meat are both absolutely delicious-someone even compared the two while smoking them.
Generally both are going to have much more flavor from intra-muscular fat as well as tenderness. The tenderness is entirely different than you can get in a grocery store.
The additional fat, the flavor genetics, etc, lead to both having a taste that will blow your mind-especially the Kurobota varieties of Berkshire, which come from Berkshires brought into Japan, and the standard Mangalitsa cuts. Mangalitsa and Berkshire cuts include most everything you can imagine coming from a pig-bacon, of course, as well as ribs, pork chops, roasts, and hams.
Mangalita Pigs are also well known for their lard.
To order Mangalitsa meat, click here to buy and have the meat shipped anywhere from our farm in Iowa in the contiguous 48 states.
In our view, the Mangalitsa we've seen often has a little more marbling than Berkshire, and the taste is definitely different. It's tough to quantify or explain exactly how the pork tastes different- the best explanation that we have is that the pork for Mangalitsa is slightly sweeter and richer, and the Berk potentially has a flavor profile with more instant "pop."
In this image of a Mangalitsa Pork Chop, you can see the white specks and veins in the meat- this is all fat, providing the Mangalitsa with a flavor profile that has more in common with steak than it does with other pork, sans Berks.
Both Mangalitsa and Berks are known for their sweet disposition. On our farm, our Mangalitsa are quite sweet and nice. Even the boars. Occasionally people have been known to buy Mangalitas and fall so in love with their personalities that they keep them as pets-just a warning, Mangalitsa can easily exceed 300 lbs!
Berkshire pigs are originally from the Berkshire region of England. The pigs were brought to the United States but the most famous type, as mentioned above, are Kurobota pigs, which are a strain of Berkshire that were further refined in Japan.
Mangalitsa were the original pig of the Royal Habsburg Family in the Austro-Hungarian empire. They were later imported to the United States and only recently have begun to be available widely.
Which is the winner?
You! The person reading this gets to enjoy two distinct, delicious and amazing types of pork, Berkshire and Mangalitsa. While we prefer Mangalitsa on our farm, others prefer Berk, and there is no wrong answer- just whichever you prefer.
If you are interested in purchasing some Mangalitsa pork, you can order everything from roasts to hams to bacons at this link from our farm, Acorn Bluff Farms.
For Berkshires, we went ahead and Googled it for you :)