What is Kurobuta Pork? (2024 Update) Origin, Price & More

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: February 8, 2024

Kurobuta is known in the meat world as the "Wagyu" of the pork family. What makes this premium pork cut juicy, tender, and flavorful is the marbling and fat content of each cut. As a professional chef and advocate of the carnivore diet, I would like to share my personal experience as well as those who tried and loved kurobuta pork.

I conducted considerable research to learn the history, raising practices and characteristics that make kurobuta pork the prime meat in its line.

Quick Summary

  • Kurobuta pork is a Japanese term that translates as “black hog”.  It is a heritage breed of swine that is raised under a special program.
  • Kurobuta pigs originated from Berkshire, a county in England, and were imported by the Japanese in the 1800s.
  • According to the 2024 USDA price report, Certified kurobuta meat is high-quality pork that costs an average of $14 per pound, whereas commodity pork is priced at $4 per pound.

What is Kurobuta Pork?

Kurobuta pork is a premium type of meat derived from Berkshire hogs raised under natural conditions and fed a special, chemical-free diet, renowned for its superior quality and tenderness.

Kurobuta meat is better than regular pork due to marbling – fine fat within the meat fibers. Kurobuta hogs have rich marbling, thanks to Japanese hog raisers' nutritious diet and natural environment. During cooking, fat blends in, making it moist and tasty. Fat's softer than muscle, so well-marbled meat is more tender.

According to a 2021 study by PubMed Central, mixed rearing of barrows and gilts significantly reduced backfat thickness, with the optimal mixing ratio found to be 7:3 (barrows to gilts), leading to improved carcass quality and profitability for pig farms [1].

Is Kurobuta Pork The Same As Berkshire?

Kurobuta pork is the same as berkshire pork in the sense that it is the same heritage breed from England that was imported by the Japanese. It's like Kurobuta pork, but not every Berkshire pig gets the Kurobuta label. In the US, the American Berkshire Association reserves 'Kurobuta' for purebred Berkshire hogs with English ancestry.

Where Does Kurobuta Pork Come From?

meat on a chopping board

Kurobuta pork comes from England, and has made its way to Japan in the 1800s. It hails from Berkshire and was later dubbed 'kurobuta,' meaning 'black hog.'

In Japan, every Berkshire pig is raised in or around Kagoshima, just like how cattle are bred for Wagyu beef.

Chefs often rave about the rich flavor of Japanese Kurobuta pork, thanks to their diet and free-range lifestyle.

In the United States, this pork comes from Berkshire breeds raised on reputable farms like Snake River Farms. They enjoy low-stress environments that keep them calm and maintain their pH levels. The American Berkshire Association awarded the Kurobuta designation to a heritage breed known as the "Ace of Spades."

In England, most Berkshire breeds are raised and bred in Reading, Berkshire county. They follow a farming method similar to Japanese and American farmers. The first Berkshire pig meat was savored by Oliver Cromwell in 1640.

How Are Berkshire Pigs Raised?

Berkshire piglets are raised on small family farms.

They're hormone-free, nitrite-free, and antibiotic-free, just like the cattle ranches that produce Wagyu beef. Farmers raise Berkshire pigs on pasture, ensuring they get a daily serving of grain. Berkshire hogs are raised in small herds and receive top-notch care, always in a humane manner to keep them calm.

Some Japanese farms even let the pigs swim daily to stay active.

What is the Difference Between Kurobuta and Regular Pork?

The difference between Kurobuta and regular pork lies in taste, meat quality, tenderness, and fat. According to a 2016 study by PubMed Central, meat from Berkshire pigs exhibits significantly higher quality characteristics [2].

For instance, Berkshire pork is juicier and more flavorful due to its higher levels of essential amino acids. These findings suggest that Berkshire pork offers superior attributes for consumers.

Kurobuta pork is set apart by its intense, thin stripes of soft, white fat that showcase the main difference between the two types. That's why it's known as the Wagyu or Kobe beef in the pork world [3].

Also Read: Mojo Pork Recipe

What Are the Different Kuobuta Cuts?

different meat cuts

The different kurobuta cuts include kurobuta pork chop, bacon, pork belly, baby back ribs, and tenderloin.

For the most part, the pork comes from a local farm in the US or England. You may not be able to find these flavorful meat cuts at your local food grocery store, so we recommend shopping at online food delivery services such as Crowd Cow or Snake River Farms website.

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How Expensive Is Kurobuta Pork?

Kurobuta pork costs more than regular meat and isn't typically found in grocery store chains because it comes from heritage breeds [4].

A pork chop from a grocery store is priced at $3 to $4 per pound, while a Berkshire heritage breed pork chop costs $10 to $14 per pound.

Regular pig ribs go for about $5 per pound, whereas Berkshire hog ribs from Japan breeds are priced at around $20 per pound.


How are Kurobuta Pigs Fed?

Kurobuta pigs are fed with a diet of corn, nuts, clover, apples and milk, and bred in free-range farms.

Which Takes Longer to Cook, Kurobuta Meat or Commodity Pork?

Commodity pork takes longer to cook than kurobuta meat because the latter contains more marbled fat which melts and cooks quicker.

Kurobuta Pork

Kurobuta or Berkshire pork is one of the highest quality pork cuts available. The premium fat of these prized pigs is what makes the experience unique.

Now that we've settled the question on what exactly Kurobuta pork is, we're sure you'd like to get your hands on the tasty cut of this new pig in town.

Berkshire pork could be a good option for you to use to add some variety to your keto or carnivore diet. Many people think that steak is the only way to go, but this may be an option for your next barbecue or meal plan.

We recommend you check out several meat delivery websites that offer Kurobuta pork.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9285486/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112427/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34738692/
  4. https://www.laurelridgefarm.com/pricing
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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy is a professional chef and the main man behind Carnivore Style. He’s an advocate of the carnivore diet, an athlete, and a pure health enthusiast. Timothy believes that a good steak is a great conversation starter, and his love for food eventually brought him to start Carnivore Style, a website designed for meat lovers and all things meat-related.
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