Two studies, one using a trained taste panel and the other a consumer panel, were carried out to evaluate the eating quality of the Meishan breed. Entire male and female pigs of four genotypes: purebred Meishan (MS) and Large Wliite (LW) and the reciprocal crosses (MS♂ × LW ♀ and LW♂ × MS♀) were reared in single sex groups and given a commercial diet ad libitum from 35 kg live weight to slaughter at around 70 kg. For the taste panel, a loin joint was roasted under standard conditions and samples of fat and lean were presented to the panellists. There were no statistically significant differences between the genotypes for tenderness, juiciness, flavour, odour, incidence of boar taint or overall acceptability. Purebred Meishan samples had a higher incidence of abnormal odours but lower cooking losses and shear force values than the other three genotypes. Meat from gilts was judged to be significantly more tender and juicy, with a weaker pork flavour but a lower incidence of abnormal flavours and higher overall acceptability than that from boars. There were statistically significant interactions between genotype and sex for tenderness, abnormal odour and shear force which mainly involved the purebred Meishans and were of little practical significance. In the consumer study, loin chops and leg joints from purebred LW and the two crossbred genotypes were evaluated. Households received two samples of the same type of joint from the same sex in two separate distributions. Each household received an LW sample and a sample from one of the crossbred genotypes. In general, consumers found the appearance of the joints from the three genotypes to be equally acceptable. For eating quality, the within-household deviations of the crossbred compared with the LW suggested that MS♂ × LW♀ samples were considered to be of better eating quality, particularly for juiciness (deviation -0·71, s.e. 0·24, P < 0·01). In contrast, LW♂ × MS♀ samples were generally considered inferior, particularly in terms of juiciness (+ 0·59, s.e. 0·26, P < 0·05) and flavour (+0·63, s.e. 0·27, P < 0·05). However, the overall acceptability of both crossbreds was considered little different from the Large White. Overall, the results of this work suggest little benefit in eating quality for the Meishan under United Kingdom production conditions.