I recently made a simple pasta dish with minced pork and I noticed that the taste was very "porky" or I think some people call it "gamey," and I found it quite unpleasant.

I rarely cook with pork mince, so this surprised me. I'm used to pork flavours from dishes with cuts like tenderloin, or the classic loin porkchops (cuts which don't tend to have a lot of thick fat, or are not super close to skin). These usually have that funky smell when cooking (frying in a pan) that I'm used to, but the minced meat retained a lot of that unpleasant flavour. It's a little difficult to find words to describe it.

I read up about lamb potentially tasting "gamey" from ChefSteps (due to oxidising), and they solved this by introducing a lot of antioxidants - mustard powder, black pepper, salt. Could this be related?

Is there a word for this? Is it porky, gamey, etc?

How would I go on about preventing this porky flavour? Is it possible with things like minced pork meat?

3 Answers 3


I know this is a couple years too late but I found this post while looking up ‘ground pork tastes weird’ and thought you might still appreciate an answer. This is what I found:

“Boar taint is the offensive odor or taste that can be evident during the cooking or eating of pork or pork products derived from non-castrated male pigs once they reach puberty. Boar taint is found in around 20% of entire male finishing pigs.”

Apparently some people are more sensitive to it than others:

“Studies show that about 75% of consumers are sensitive to boar taint”

  • 2
    Welcome. You are citing some things. Where from? Please share the appropriate links.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 14:20
  • 1
    As it sounds like it's pheremone related, I wonder if females might have a similar issue. Goat milk tastes different (stronger / gamier) if males are kept near the lactating females.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 15:31

As I am sure you know, different species have different flavors...beef tastes like beef...chicken tastes like chicken...and, well, pork tastes like pork. Further, when animals are butchered, we find that different parts of the same animal have different flavors. Further still, the animals diet before slaughter greatly impacts the flavor we perceive. Finally, after butchering and during storage and transportation decay begins, and meats can pick up flavors from storage settings. Then there is cooking, where method and seasoning impact flavor.

All of this is to say, that it would be fairly difficult to pinpoint your particular version of "porky", what that means, and what to do about it. I think the best advice I might come up with is to try a different producer of pork mince...or purchase a larger cut and mince your own. Maybe, it will turn out, that you just don't like pork...so move on and use something else.

  • Thank you, I'll definitely experiment further. I understand that the flavour is kind of innate and maybe I should just accept it. Still, I'll be waiting for an answer that could maybe scientifically clarify what's happening, but you're right that it's difficult to pinpoint it and my question probably wasn't super informative.
    – Surobaki
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 19:25

I'm part of a meat CSA (aka a farm share) where we get pasture raised meats from a ranch each month, including pork. The pigs are Berkshires, which apparently have an especially "porky" or gamey flavor. I notice this the most in fatty cuts, such as bacon, the minced pork used in the ranch's sausage, pork belly, etc. It's possible what you got came from one of these heritage breeds with a stronger flavor, especially if you shopped at a specialty store that sells grass-fed/free range meats.

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