When you order Ibérico pork at Campo Grande, you'll probably notice that each of our cuts notes a specific weight range. A cut of Ibérico Secreto, for example, will vary in size, from 14 to 21 ounces. Or a rack of ribs (the 4-Rib Rack) weighs in at 24 to 33 ounces.
This isn't some obligatory weight we tack on or take off on a whim. And it's definitely not a sales tactic to trick you into spending more for less product. It's intentional and circumstantial based on our values, and the reality of working with a highly unique product. Weight variability exists for a reason with Ibérico. Here's the deal:
Ibérico Pigs Grow Slowly
Unlike industrial pigs, Ibérico pigs are slow-growth animals. They're fed a highly natural diet of grains, grasses, and acorns rather than the typical corn-based diet given to industrial pigs. Corn is a super cheap feed loaded with GMOs that helps the pigs fatten up quickly, but leaves behind nutrient-empty qualities in the meat.
Ibérico pigs are also never given hormones to speed up their growth. This combination of diet and hormone-free growth means it takes them much longer to achieve ideal slaughter weight. In most cases, it takes Iberian pigs double the time it takes industrial pigs to grow. A period of 10-12 months is typical, but it can even stretch into 12-18 months depending on the seasonality of the acorn trees.
Why does this matter? Pigs that grow and are bred naturally, without engineered spurts of unhealthy feed or hormones, often grow at different rates with slightly different sized muscles. And that leads to slight variations in their cut weights.
Ultimately Ibérico pigs are unique animals, just like humans. They're not cogs on a conveyer belt but rather each is bred and cared for individually with all their unique characteristics and special variations.
In Spain, We Cut by the Muscle
Our Spanish butchers practice what's called seam butchery. Seam butchery is an artisan style of butchery in which the butcher cuts with the natural separation of the muscles rather than in equal hunks of unevenly distributed levels of fat, tendon, and muscle types. In other words, there is a variability on the muscle size because they are portioned out by their muscle type and not simply their weight. This natural and uniform distribution of whole-muscle butchery makes each cut easier to cook.
In the U.S., meat is generally cut by the net weight rather than the individual muscle. Turns out, this actually makes the cuts more expensive. On our end, it would increase our costs by 20-30%. And in an effort to keep our prices as low as possible and make Ibérico more accessible to a larger population, this just won't work for anyone.
No Tricks, Just Quality Pork
Regardless of what you order from us, the weight of your box should always be in the range given in your total order. Even if one cut is slightly above the limit and another cut is slightly below, the total average weight of the order should be in the right range. You may even find out that the total weight of your box is slightly above this range. But hey, no one's ever reaching out to pay us more for more Ibérico pork!
We obviously want to make sure you get exactly what you need (or as close as humanly possible) and that all your Ibérico expectations are met. So if you feel like something is too varied, you didn't receive what you hoped for, or you're just incredibly disappointed, we want to make it right. Reach out to us. Our stellar customer service team is here to chat and ensure you have a super positive Campo grande experience.