Who isn’t looking for new menu ideas? How about one that’s unique, incredibly tasty, all natural, free range, humanely handled, lean and reasonably priced? Plus, how would you feel if adding this food to your menu could also ultimately help the environment?
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, when you get to know more about Wild Boar.
The most common names for boar are Wild Boar, Wild Hog, Feral Pig, Feral Hog, Old World Swine, Razorback, Eurasian Wild Boar and Russian Wild Boar. Unlike domestic pork, wild boar is a bit sweeter with notes of nuttiness and a clean taste that’s neither gamey nor greasy. They are leaner than pork with one-third less fat, calories and cholesterol.
Wild boar grow to about 5 feet long and weigh up to 300 lbs. – smaller and leaner than farm raised hogs for pork production. Their diet includes acorns, hickory nuts, pecans, grass, roots, apples and just about any farmed crop they can invade. It is their diet, which gives their meat a unique flavor profile.
In Europe and Asia, boar is farmed for their meat and treasured for their taste. Called, “Sanglier”, in French, and “Cinghiale”, in Italian, boar can be commonly found in butcher shops and offered as a staple in restaurants. Boar is one of the highest priced meats in Germany and thought of as an aphrodisiac in China.
Hogs, wild or otherwise, are not native to the United States. They were first brought to the new world by Christopher Columbus who introduced them to the Caribbean. Hernando De Soto brought them to Florida in the 1500’s, and they made their way across the Southern United States.
Early Texan settlers let pigs roam free until needed – some were never recovered. During wars and economic downturns, many settlers abandoned their homesteads and the pigs were left to fend for themselves. In the 1930s, Eurasian wild boars were brought to Texas and released for hunting. They bred with the free-ranging domestic animals adapted to the wild.
An Invasive Species
Today, most domestic wild boar, are feral hogs, which can rapidly increase their population. Sows can have up to 10 offspring per litter and are able to have two litters per year. Each piglet reaches sexual maturity at 6 months of age. They have virtually no natural predators and thrive in just about any condition.
With a population in the millions in the U.S., Wild Feral Hogs are wreaking havoc across the Southern states. Traveling alone or in packs, they devour whole fields of rice, wheat and/or vegetables. Corn Farmers have discovered that the hogs methodically trod their planted rows during the night, extracting seeds one by one – they even go after food set out for livestock. The hogs also erode the soil and disrupt native vegetation when they tromp the ground; this also makes it easy for invasive plants to take hold.
Wild Boar is a free range animal. No gestation crates, no antibiotics, no growth hormones – the ultimate humanely raised all natural meat.
Most domestic wild boar come from Texas where state laws require they must be taken alive and humanely handled for harvest purposes. Hunters are allowed to kill wild hogs year-round without limits. Hunters also have the option of live capture for transport to slaughterhouses to be processed and sold to grocers, butcher shops and restaurants as exotic meat. When sold commercially as meat, wild hogs must be taken alive to one of nearly 100 statewide buying stations.
One method of capture, popularized by the A&E reality television series American Hoggers, uses trained dogs to sniff out the wild boars, chase them down and hold them by their ears. Trappers then tie them up and cart them off to holding pens for transport.
Where the reality show makes for good TV, the preferred method for capture is a lot less exciting. Trappers simply bait a cage or a large fenced area with food attractive to the wild hogs, such as fermented corn, but not to other animals. The trapdoor is left open for several days until the hogs become comfortable with it enough to walk in and eat; the trap door then closes.
From the buying stations, the trapped hogs are taken to a processing plant overseen by USDA Inspectors and Veterinarians. Processing includes a testing regimen for e-Coli, Salmonella, and Trichinae. Food safety is paramount and supported by a Letter of Guarantee.
Compared to pork, Wild Boar is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and higher in protein – higher in protein than pork, beef, lamb and chicken, to be exact.
Wild boar comes in the same type of cuts as pork and can be substituted for pork in like dishes. It can be smoked, barbecued, grilled, roasted, braised, fried and, marinated. Ground Wild Boar is also popular in Italian Bolognaise.
- Frenched 10 Rib Rack
- Strip Loin
- Legs – bone in
- Legs – boneless
- Baby Back Ribs
- St. Louis Ribs
Adding Wild Boar to your menu gives you something unique to offer your guests with the benefits of all natural, free range and humanely handled marketing. You can help the environment, offer a healthy protein and provide a delicious feature with Wild Boar. Try it!