Local Farm: Littrell Farms in Green City, Missouri
Mulefoot hogs are named for their hooves, which unlike most pigs, are uncloven and resemble – you guessed it – mule’s feet. Although the breed’s origins are murky, during the early 20th century, Mulefoots quickly became prized in the U.S. for how easy they are to fatten up, although they fell out of favor by midcentury in comparison to modern hybridized pigs prized by industrial farms. The American Livestock Conservancy estimates that there are fewer than 200 Mulefoot hogs in the U.S. – most of them in Missouri and western Illinois. They were thought to be extinct until a few were found on an island in the Mississippi River, and farmers like Eric and Barb Littrell of Littrell Farms in Green City, Missouri, have been keeping the breed alive with their pasture-raised and grass-fed herd. “I often refer to our full-grown boars and sows as gentle giants, as they weigh between 600 to 700 pounds,” Barb says. “Their meat is lean and as red as a beef steak with lots of flavor and marbling. All the cuts are great, but the bacon, ham and pork steaks are superior. We don’t eat any other kind!” The hog fat produces creamy lard, and the meat itself is rich and has even been described as melt-in-your mouth.
Littrell Farms sells cuts and weanlings for butcher or breeding stock through its Facebook page at facebook.com/mulefootpigs. To learn more, visit littrellorganicfarm.com.