Wild Boar!

I woke up on a sunny morning at the crossroads of US-66 and the 21st century. By nightfall, the smell of burnt rubber and blood filled my nostrils, and an old friend hit town. The next morning, the sun blinded me awake and I knew that it was no dream. Art had arrived in a fury.

My Task was At Hand.

I rose from my bed, dressed, and visited my secondary refrigerator; the Amana in the garage that we refuse to admit is all but done-in.

I pulled the door open, and ignored the imp that switched the light from off to on. I was distracted.

Blood was in the air. Fresh blood.

But not mine. For my Art is the Art of the Flame.

At 11am this Saturday past, I lit my trusty Weber Genesis Silver B and tossed the first of a series of pieces of meat on the cast-iron grates, a pair of ribs from a 240lb wild boar from Texas.

These were not your daddy’s baby-back ribs, either. Each set measured about 10” by 18”. I rubbed each rack with sea salt, garlic powder, and guajillo chile powder. I set the Genesis on indirect low and cooked them for about 2.5 hours, basting every 30 minutes with honey.

At high noon, the first guests arrived. I heard the rumble of an angry V8 and knew that Art, the person, had arrived.

He’s the one who shot the pig, the founder of the feast.

By 2 pm, we were ready for the second round of meat. This time, it was tenderloins. They received the same treatment as the ribs. Low flame, rub, and time.

At 4, we tossed on a shoulder and shank. They got the same treatment, sans honey.

By 6, everything was well-cooked.

* * *

Here’s what you need to know about cooking a wild boar.

1 – The meat is lean, leaner than the leanest beef you’ve ever seen.

2 – The meat is red, like raw beef.

3 – It must be cooked well-done. Trichnosis has been all but eradicated in store bought pork, to the point you can cook most store-bought pork rare without worry of any food-borne sickness, but wild game is totally different and should be treated with the utmost care.

Some personal observations about prepping and cooking wild game:

1 – You have to be ready for real blood, and a lot of it. And fur. Be ready to cut fur off of your food. If you are not used to this, it will shock you but it isn’t really that bad, and you may find that using a sharp knife may be more “in-tune” with the process than using kitchen shears may be. That said, my garage refrigerator may never be the same.

2 – You may get a little nauseous when you are slicing up pieces of a real dead animal, but it may help to recall that your grandparents probably did this on a weekly or more frequent basis. It was how they got their meat. They did it, and so should you. Also try to think that you aren’t the person stringing the dead boar up in your yard. If you think what you are doing in your kitchen or on your deck is gross, think about what happened before it got to you. You should be kissing that meat as you toss it on the grill.

I now know I can field-dress a deer or gut a fish, no problem. There’s a serenity that comes with preparing meat. Cutting the plastic wrapper will never get you there. It’s not about the generally gory task; there’s more to it than that.

3 – Flavor. Be ready for a more wild taste. I am not ashamed to admit that the ribs I made were not ‘good’ in the traditional sense of the word. I choked down the meat from two bones. I heard from Art that the middle bones were better than the ones from the edges, which was what I sampled. The tenderloins were almost as good in texture as any store-bought meat I’d made before, and the flavor was beyond good. The shank and shoulder which finished the grilling extravaganza were among the best-prepared meat I’ve eaten – in my life.

4 – Wild pork is so lean you have to cook it like beef brisket. There’s next to no fat to soften the tissue so you have to rely on cold heat and a long time to make things right. I would expect that if you are considering cooking any type of wild game, this may be something to remember. Slow, low, and lots of moisture in the heat.

* * *

Want to know more about how this Texas boar got to Illinois? Let me know! Have other questions? I’d love to answer them. Email me or just leave a comment via the links below.

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2 Responses to “Wild Boar!”

  1. Awesome, Frank. Sounds like it was an adventure!

  2. […] bought a bottle of Hendrick’s gin for the boar roast, thinking that none of us would be too cranked on beer to enjoy a martini or two…  Boy was I […]

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