The cut: The Ibérico Cheeks are cut from the pig’s jaw. These are very tender and flavorful pieces, and highly desirable among chefs.
To prepare: They are at their best braised—cooked slowly in liquid. Traditionally braised in apple cider, but any liquid works well. Red wine or a tomato mix will give a stronger and richer flavor. White wine with herbs, or chicken broth will keep it light. Braised pork cheeks make the best comfort food.
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From Our Founders
“We believe in free range and humane farming, and use no antibiotics or hormones. At about 10 months of age, each pig is released in the oak woodlands, where it has plenty of land to explore, eating grasses, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, etc. and finishing on acorns. During the feeding season, each pig can consume acorns from as many as 40 oak trees and walk as much as 10 miles a day. Raising Iberico pigs preserves our California oak woodlands, too, and aims to rejuvenate the land.”
— ALBERTO SOLIS & HELMUT DREWS
What Makes Iberico Special?
Known as the “Wagyu of Pork” with its heavy marbling, Iberico really isn’t comparable to any other pork. Our Iberico pigs are raised in Lake County, California. They’re 100% natural and 100% free-range, consuming non-GMO grain and a diet of pasture and acorn, mushrooms, and whatever else they can forage. This diet gives the pork a wonderfully rich flavor and meaty texture, a perfect blend of 100% Spanish Iberico breed pigs raised on the finest California ranchland.
Around the world, it's known for its rich quality flavor and healthy fat profile. Iberico pork has until recently only been raised and been made available in its native Spain. But now, Encina Farms is raising the breed here in California, the first grower to do so exclusively.
We are dedicated to growing our Iberico pigs with the upmost quality standards, using no hormones or antibiotics, with goals to leverage regenerative agriculture, while also using traditional Spanish practices and methods finishing the Iberico on a diet of acorns to ensure its flavor and nutritional profile.
Our Farming Practices
The 1,200 acre ranch our pigs roam is located in the Coyote Valley of Middletown, California, with over 600 acres of oak forests. Encina means Oak Tree in Spanish. The oak, which produces acorns or “bellotas” in Spanish, is essential to the diet of the very finest Iberico pork you’ll ever taste.
That’s why we chose to raise our pigs on acreage in California, on land that’s blanketed by oak trees. With our sole focus on this legendary breed—and our commitment to the highest quality meat and environmentally friendly farming—we can now offer California-raised Iberico pork to butchers, fine meat distributors, restaurants, chefs, and home cooks who appreciate its special attributes.