I love creating dishes out of wild boar, not only because it is extremely tasty, but also just to prove it can be done.
Take wild boar shanks for example. At the outset, they look chewy and not worth the effort. I took the challenge and turned these shanks into some of the most beautiful smoked meats I’ve ever had.
To be fair even though the shanks were divine, they do take a long time and a little monitoring. Most of the time is waiting, leaving you time to do other things.
Why Smoked Wild Boar Shanks Work
As I mentioned above, wild boar shanks are sinewy and can be chewy if not properly prepared. This leaves you with few options, you can either pressure cook them and make something like tacos, or you can smoke them.
These two cooking methods are the opposite, one is fast and hot the other is low and slow, both are equally as good.
For this recipe, I chose low and slow, not only to get nice tender ribs but I wanted to get the smoke flavor paired with wild boar.
I was however a little disappointed, not with the wild boar shanks, they were great, but I only had limited wood options.
After preparing everything I went to get some hickory for the smoker only to realize I had none. I only had a couple of fruit woods and oak.
The fruit woods would have been too mild for this recipe so I chose oak, but I will make it again at some stage with hickory because I believe it will give a better result.
There are a nominal number of ingredients required for this dish, but mainly dry spices.
The recipe can be broken up into 4 parts:
Dry rub – spice
Glaze – sweet
Sauce – sweet and savory
Wood – smoke
Most of the initial flavor will come from the dry rub followed closely by the sauce and the smoke. The first bite will taste of spicy smoke, quickly followed by a sweet flavor.
While I’m quite used to spicy flavors I find this a mild to medium spicy. If you are not that used to spicy flavors you may find this a little too spicy.
If you are worried this is the case you have a couple of options: forgo the cayenne pepper or half the mustard seeds.
You could do both but you would end up with a very mild spice.
Wild boar shanks take a long time to smoke, largely because of how tough and sinewy they are. When I first made this recipe I undershot it by about an hour.
So be patient with this one. I was traveling at the time of making this recipe so only had the Akorn JR grill allowing me only 2 shanks.
If you are making this at home on a large grill I’d recommend at least doubling the recipe to make it worth the while.
I did this recipe similar to 3,2,1 ribs because I was trying to get them super tender, but I needed to extend the cooking time.
The first part of the cook is low and smoky, keep the grill at around 200, don’t go over, but it’s ok to go a little under.
The next part is essentially steaming the shanks. Add the glaze and wrap them tightly in foil. Put them back on the grill and increase the temperature to 250f.
This will really help with the tenderizing, if you find your shanks are still not tender, extend this section.
Finally, brush them with the sauce and put them back on the grill one last time to get the sauce to set and turn sticky.
- 2 wild boar shanks trimmed
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika sweet
- 1 tsp Hungarian paprika spicy
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- preheat your grill to 200F
- As your grill is heating, remove the shanks from the fridge
- add all of your dry rub ingredients to a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder
- pat the shanks dry and toss in the dry rub. Press the rub in well.
- Add the wood of your choice to the grill ( I used oak, but other woods such as hickory would also work well.
- I used a charcoal grill so used a heat deflector, if you use a charcoal grill you will need to do the same.
- Place the shanks on the grill and smoke for 3 hours. Keep the heat around 200F
- Remove the shanks and add the sugar and butter glaze. Wrap in foil and plac back in the grill for another 3 hours. increase the temperature to 250F
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves
- Remove the shanks once again from the grill and carefully peel back the foil. Place the shanks back on the grill and cook for another hour until the sauce becomes sticky.
- Remove the shanks from the grill and rest on a wooden cutting block for 10 minutes before serving