Sensory and physical quality characteristics of shoulder and leg ham, kassler chops, back and belly bacon derived from South African indigenous Kolbroek (KB), African (AFR) and commercial Landrace X Large White (LR X LW) pig breeds were compared. The chemical quality characteristics were only determined on the ham, kassler chops and bacon derived from the two South African indigenous pig breeds. Breed had a significant influence on the fat, protein and ash content of the shoulder ham, kassler chops and belly bacon. The only significant differences in fatty acid composition between the KB and AFR pigs were found in the less abundant fatty acids including myristic acid (C14:0), eicosadienoic acid (C20:2n-6), g-linolenic acid (C18:3n-6) and tetracoseanoic acid (C24:1n-9). The minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus of the back and belly bacon differed significantly between the two indigenous pig breeds. The objective colour measurements (L*, a*, b*, hue, chroma) and sensory quality characteristics differed significantly between the two indigenous and commercial (LR X LW) pig breeds. In most of the cases the KB and AFR pigs showed lower L* and higher a* values, indicating a darker and redder meat colour than that of the LR X LW pigs. Regarding the sensory quality characteristics, the KB and AFR pigs showed significantly lower scores for tenderness and juiciness for both the ham and kassler chops compared to those of the LR X LW pigs. In conclusion, although there were breed differences, the two indigenous pig breeds were found to be suitable for commercial processing into ham, kassler chops and back bacon after significant trimming of excess fat. This could open a niche in the market for traditionally produced pork products.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher