Boar, hog, wild pig, or whatever you like to call it, is an edible and flavorful protein.
Many people are often wary of consuming wild boar, and some stories floating around may deter people from trying.
However, if prepared and cooked properly, wild boar can make some exquisite dishes.
History of Eating Wild Hog
Most people today wouldn’t even consider eating wild boar, as it’s not nicely packaged on a shelf.
I’ve even talked to some people who hunt them and won’t eat them.
However, this wasn’t always the case.
Wild boar has been a staple in many nations’ cuisines for millennia.
Ancient Greece and Rome are well known for their celebrations of boar hunting.
The Calydonian boar hunt is famous in Greek mythology.
Still, in Italy and many parts of Europe, boar is regularly consumed but has seen a drop with the rise of domestic pigs.
Wild boar is consumed in Asia as a delicacy and makes for many fantastic Asian dishes.
While wild hogs aren’t native to North America, they have been introduced and quickly bred with domestic pigs, creating a feral pig problem.
The rise of the pig problem in the US, from both feral pigs and wild hogs, has led to more people hunting and consuming them.
Nutritional Value of Wild Boar
Not only can you eat wild boar, but it’s often a healthier alternative to domestic pork.
Wild boar are leaner than domestic pork due to their more active lifestyle and healthier diet.
Wild hogs also have a healthier omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio due to their natural diets, which typically include nuts, roots, and vegetation.
Another benefit of their diverse diet is their broader array of micronutrients.
Below is a table of the typical nutritional value of wild boar meat based on 100 grams of cooked meat.
|Total Fat||~3.3 grams|
|Saturated Fat||~1.2 grams|
|Monounsaturated Fat||~1.5 grams|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||~0.4 grams|
|Total Carbohydrates||~0 grams|
|Dietary Fiber||~0 grams|
|Vitamin B12||~1.3 µg (55% of Daily Value)|
|Iron||~2.7 mg (15% of Daily Value)|
|Zinc||~2.4 mg (20% of Daily Value)|
Safety Precautions When Eating Wild Boar
One of the biggest causes for people to be thwarted from consuming wild boar meat is the fear of illnesses and diseases.
Most people are aware that wild boar can be carriers of trichinella.
Another lesser-known issue is Brucellosis. This is a bacterial infection that can infect humans through fluids.
There are other lesser-known diseases, but there are very few to no known cases so it’s not worth mentioning.
All of the issues and dangers of consuming wild boar can be treated by proper handling, especially cooking.
Preparing and Cooking Wild Boar
Preparing and cooking wild boar takes a little bit of knowledge to prevent any illnesses.
The highest risk with wild boar is trichinosis. However, trichinosis is preventable by cooking wild boar meat to 146F.
Most literature will say to cook to 160F and this is wise to err on the side of caution.
However, trichinella can be eradicated at 146F if held at that temperature for 3-5 minutes.
In fact, it can be killed at an even lower temperature of 137F if held for a longer period of time, such as in a sous vide.
However, if unsure, it’s better to be safe and cook the wild boar to 160F.
Wild boar is much like any other wild game such as venison when it comes to preparation.
The meat must be kept chilled.
Trim the meat from all bloodshot meat, and silver skin.
Cooking Wild Boar
As I explained above there is a little less leeway when it comes to cooking wild boar.
Unless you have had the meat tested you should cook the meat to 146-150F.
While this puts the meat firmly into the medium to well range for steak or wild boar burgers, it’s the safe thing to do.
However, many other fantastic dishes can be made that don’t focus on low internal temperature.
Popular Wild Boar Dishes
There is no limit on what dishes you can make with wild boar meat.
I’ve made many recipes from wild boar burgers to Ragu and everything in between.
This is a classic wild boar dish from Italy.
Some people compare it to bolognese, but this recipe makes a much more rustic dish with deeper flavors.
The meat is cut rather than ground, the flavors are rich and bold.
Overall, it’s a complexly flavored dish with many layers and suited to those who like rustic and old-fashioned food.
For anyone who has doubts about eating wild boar, I encourage you to try wild boar burgers.
These burgers would turn any nonbeliever into a wild boar connoisseur.
As with most wild game burgers, these are mixed with some pork fat.
However, if you wanted you could use wild boar fat, but most find it too potent.
Nevertheless, whichever fat you use, these burgers are incredibly juicy and flavorful.
Wild boar roast is another classic dish and one that can be quite versatile.
You can use many different cuts for this recipe, but my favorite is the neck.
You can also cook this roast in the oven, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker.
It’s another rustic dish with deep rich flavors.
If you have the patience for this, it’s one of my favorite wild boar recipes.
What people fail to realize is that wild boar and domestic pigs are very closely related.
So for anyone that is unsure, the fact that you can make a ham from wild boar that is not so different from what you find on grocery shelves should explain just how edible they are.
However, I would like to point out that wild boar ham is far better than any ham you can buy in-store.
You could say I saved the best for last, but this is one of the harder dishes to make from wild boar.
Wild boar is much leaner than domestic pigs. However, if you do get one with enough fat, you can make one of the greatest wild boar dishes of all time.
This bacon is the greatest dish that I have ever made from wild boar.
It’s a slow process of brining and smoking, although faster than the ham.
The finished product is something that can be eaten cold, or fried, but is downright delicious.