Can You Raise Pigs to Taste Like Whiskey?
A distiller in Iowa is trying to find out.
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Whiskey—particularly bourbon—works great as a flavor additive in ice cream, pie, meat marinades, and even beer. It’s so popular, in fact, that the owners of a distillery in Iowa are trying to reverse the flavoring process: They’re trying to make pork that tastes like whiskey.
The founders of Templeton Rye Whiskey in Templeton, Iowa, are currently raising 25 purebred Duroc pigs—all of which are eating a diet of spent distillery grain used during the whiskey-making process. (They are not, in fact, drinking any whiskey.)
But regardless of how noble an endeavor this may be, it’s difficult to see how this could work. Many livestock farmers already feed their animals spent grain from breweries, and so far there haven't been any reports of their beef and pork tasting like beer.
Templeton co-founder Keith Kerkhoff seems to acknowledge as much.
“We have a little motto here,” Kerkhoff told Iowa’s WQAD. “My dad always told me, ‘Nothing good happens after 12 p.m.’ So, it seems like that’s when this idea was probably thought of—after we had a few drinks.”
That said, Templeton is going all out on the project. The company has hired a doctor of “swine nutrition” from Iowa State University to develop the weekly diet regiment for the pigs, and they'll be cared for by Dr. Nick Berry, who holds a PhD in animal science from Iowa State.
The distillery's project has also apparently turned the heads of some high-profile chefs, including Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, who Kerkhoff says inquired about the pork.