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Feb 23, 2010 06:34 PM

Fishy-tasting Pork + Ethical Question About Giving Away Weird Tasting Meat

We try really hard to buy meat from animals that are ethically raised, decently fed, and humanely slaughtered. Usually this results in pretty expensive and TASTY meat...but not always.

Our last half pig was a bummer. If I had less experience I would probably swear off the whole animal purchasing idea. That bad.

Fancy bay area farmer. Small scale. Whey fed from stellar cheesemaking outfit. Friend spent 12 hours on the road there and back but there were no defrosting issues. Very expensive.

But...badly cut and with this weird fishy undercurrent. Every time we've had a (badly cut) pork chop it tastes like the cutting board we used was rank. But it wasn't. The badly cut is really bumming out because we used to share the big with a chef and he would do the chops so beautifully.

So, two questions:

1) what is the source of the weird off taste?

2) Since we've been avoiding eating 100 pounds of expensive meat and it is clogging up our freezer and we hate to throw away and it was expensive and we know, from a health and safety perspective, that nothing is wrong with it

Is it weird to give away meat (on say Craig's List) that we think tastes weird?

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  1. Just a couple of guesses on my part.

    1. Maybe the taste comes from the feed that the pigs were raised on?

    2. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving away food that is not spoiled but something you simply find unpalatable. Think of clothing as analogy. People give away perfectly fine clothes all the time simply b/c it no longer fits, they've outgrown the style, etc. In other words, they just don't like it. Same with your pork. You might think it tastes like Chicken of the Sea, but the next diner might think its the tastiest swine that's ever roamed this green earth.

    All that said, too bad about your experience.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I was thinking the whey might have something to do with it, is that a normal feed for pigs?

      If it was me, I would call my local Salvation Army or other soup kitchen and see if they could use it. The one by me gets donations of venison all the time from hunters. (Not to sound greedy, but then you could write it off as a donation too, it's a lot of money to just give away)

    2. I would tell the farmer. I know this has nothing to do with your question, but the farmer would probably want to know why s/he's losing customers.

      As for giving it away, if you're upfront about it I don't see any problem with it. I'm sure most people would rather have weird-tasting meat than no meat at all. And that way you won't be wasting it.

      1. I'd blame the feed, definitely. Too bad. Whey? That's odd. I've read many cases of a direct correlation between odd feed and flavor to discredit this theory (for instance, cows who eat a lot of wild onions give onion milk ;-)

        You might want to do what I've done in the past (got a batch of bacon--an entire pork belly's worth!) that we hated the cure and I gave it away on Freecycle, assuming that the odds of it going to someone in need would be greater that way, than on Craigslist.

        1. Fish meal is a popular protein supplement in animal feed with the bonus of adding omegas.

          I strongly urge you to speak to the farmer 1st. Explain about the flavor and butchering issues, you may being doing him a favor by bringing a problem to light. You will probably also glean new info for your next purchase. He may wish to replace or exchange so that he can see the problem first hand. Good butchers can be hard to find and a bad one can create real problems of taste and safety.

          If the farmer ends up stating its safe and no exchange etc. then donate it to the local food bank. Good cuts of meat are almost unheard of and would be a special treat, I know I was once a recipient. For something this large they may come to you for pickup and of course it's tax deductible.

          Please post back on how it all ends. I'm looking forward to purchasing in this fashion and would love to know what to look out for and how this all ends up. Thanks M

          1. I'd nix the giving away idea. "Why thank you for 100 lbs of free meat. Why are you giving this away?" "Well, it tastes like fish." "O K then. You mean you are giving this to me because it tastes bad? Why thanks alot."

            2 Replies
            1. re: PeterL

              Not everyone will find the same tastes objectionable, and I'm sure many people who could not otherwise afford any meat would be glad to take even weird-tasting meat. Surely it could be cooked in a way that disguises the fishiness: chili and other spicy preparations come to mind. Would you advocate throwing it out? That seems to me a much worse idea.

              1. re: PeterL

                A better answer would be "We are giving it away because our family cannot possibly use it all and would like to share it with others rather than see it go to waste." As other posters have mentioned, not everyone may think it tastes bad.