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Cooking with Wild Hog

Get tender, flavorful wild boar, and use it in place of standard pork in your favorite recipes.

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by Kristi Cook

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say wild hog tastes terrible, I’d be rolling in nickels. Truth is, with a little preparation, wild hog, or wild boar, as many refer to it, makes a flavorful addition to virtually any recipe calling for standard pork. When cooking wild boar, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a tasty and tender meal.

Careful with the Meat

Processing is the most important step to ensuring flavorful wild boar. Cleanliness is key, whether you’re field-dressing the animal yourself or taking it to a butcher. Wild boars are filthy, so make sure that no dirt or muck contaminates the meat. Also, take care that organs are fully removed, as any remaining organ tissue can lend an overly gamey taste to the meat. In regard to flavor, the biggest element in cleaning is to make certain the scent glands are removed properly. Even a tiny nick in a single scent gland will render the meat unusable, as the scent and the scent gland’s liquid will stick to your hands, the blades, and any meat it comes into contact with, making the meat musky and foul tasting.

Low and Slow Is Best

Because wild hogs’ diet consists of acorns, roots, and even small rodents, rather than being high in corn, their meat is significantly leaner and initially tougher than that of commercial hogs and hogs raised on small farms. Although great for health purposes, the meat’s leanness and tougher muscle fibers require more careful cooking methods. When dealing with large cuts, such as roasts, shoulders, and loins, it’s best to cook them over low heat for longer periods of time to make sure those tough muscle fibers have enough time to fully soften and become tender. Slow cooking, smoking, and roasting are wonderful cooking methods for making this lean meat fork-tender, moist, and full of flavor.

The exception to cooking wild boar low and slow is when cooking small cuts, such as fajita strips or thin steaks and chops, in which cases higher heat and quicker cooking will yield the best results. The higher heat will brown the outside nicely, while keeping the inside tender and juicy.

No matter how you cook it, be sure all cuts are cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For ground boar, cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Recipes


Kristi Cook and her family have been building their homestead for many years. Kristi shares their vast experiences through her articles, workshops, and her blog.

Published on Oct 1, 2019

Grit Magazine

Live The Good Life with GRIT!