Can You Eat Wild Hog In Short Hell Yeah

Can You Eat Wild Hog In Short Hell Yeah Outdoor Life

Can You Eat Wild Hog? Yes

Even big, smelly hogs can exude flavor and drip succulence when cooked correctly. Here we break down everything you need to know to cook wild hog.

What’s the Difference Between Wild and Domestic Pigs?

Domestic pigs weren’t domestic in the U.S. until Columbus brought them over in 1493. Free-range farming was practiced in some states through the 1950s. During wars and economic downturns, farmers abandoned their homesteads and turned their livestock loose. In the 1930s, the Eurasian wild boar was introduced to Texas for sport hunting, as this species was smarter and more elusive. The pigs roaming free today are a mix of feral pigs and Eurasian wild boar. They have differences in physical attributes, but all are recognized by the same scientific name, Sus scrofa, and are considered an exotic invasive species (read our guide to hog hunting here).

A domestic pig will generally eat only corn, soybeans, and grains, while a wild pig’s diet may also include animal matter like reptiles, amphibians, fawns, rodents, worms, insects, or bird eggs. Wild hogs will taste different than domestic pigs due to breeding, genetics, and diet. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Grocery store meat, gorged on corn and other supplements and injected with antibiotics and growth hormones, can adversely affect tastebuds. The more you eat wild game, the more you’ll appreciate that “gamey” taste.

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My experience has been that wild pig will have a wild taste, but also a hint of maple flavor. It will taste similar to the pork you know and love. Interestingly, while you’re butchering a feral hog, you might notice that maple smell. This indicates the pig is still fresh, says Micah Merz of Texas JAGD, our host for a recent hog hunt. He told me this while we were quartering a hog at 3 a.m. There was debate among our hunting crew whether a hog that had been sitting dead in the dirt since midnight in the May Texas heat would have spoiled. That slight hint of maple smell told us it hadn’t.

Do Wild Hogs Spread Disease?

The short answer is yes. But with proper preparation steps, all risks can be significantly lowered, if not eliminated. Diseases could include swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, leptospirosis, and trichinosis. Pseudorabies isn’t known to affect humans but can kill exposed dogs. Cooking wild hog to 145 degrees Fahrenheit will kill all trichinosis.

Wear gloves while field dressing and butchering, keep dogs away, and cook the meat to 170 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you feel ill after eating or handling wild hog, visit a doctor sooner rather than later.

Skinning and Butchering a Wild Hog

Butchering a wild hog is more challenging than cutting up a deer. Some hunters opt to pull only backstraps and perhaps a hindquarter in the field, leaving the rest for other animals. But when skinning a wild hog, the hide is still thick, and the fat layer is also thick, especially on bigger hogs.

A sharp, quality knife is crucial. With access to a mechanism to help pull off the hide, it becomes easier. Otherwise, you may spend an hour or more trimming back hide to get access to the meat.

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When I’ve got a hog dangling from a hook but no mechanical help pulling the hide, I might only get the primal cuts: all quarters, backstraps, and tenderloins. Neck, flanks, and trim require more commitment in terms of muscle and time, but I always advocate for it when possible.

How to Cook Wild Hog

Can You Eat Wild Hog In Short Hell Yeah Outdoor Life

How you cook wild hog will vary depending on the cut. Here are some general guidelines for cooking the major cuts and offal.

Backstrap, Tenderloin, Roasts, and Steaks from Hindquarter

Smoke prime cuts of wild hog. Season well with your favorite BBQ spice blends. Let it sit overnight in the fridge. Begin the cooking process using a sous vide at 130 F for 3 to 5 hours, or smoke at 160 for 3 hours to bring the hog to 125 or 130 F. Follow up with a hot sear to crisp up the outside. Let rest for 15 minutes. Ensure it’s 145 F or above before carving and serving. If the meat isn’t warm enough, put it back on the smoker or in the oven at 200 F. Once it hits 140 F, pull and let rest for 10 minutes.

A note regarding the fat layer on backstraps: Keep it on to allow those fatty juices to drip and keep meat moist, especially when smoking. Rub spices between the fat cap and the actual loin. Cut off the fat cap when searing since pure fat will burn before the backstrap cooks.

Front Quarters, Neck, and Trim Meat

These are harder-working muscles riddled with collagen. Treat these cuts as you would a pork butt or beef brisket. Cook at low temperatures, working around 225 F if smoking. Spritz with a 50:50 mix of apple cider vinegar and apple juice every half-hour. It will take several hours to cook. The final internal temp goal is 205 F, similar to a pork butt or beef brisket.

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Offal

Prepare wild hog testicles like venison rocky mountain oysters. Use any favorite beef or venison liver recipe. However, don’t keep the intestines; they are not worth using for wild-hog casings.

An Easy Wild Hog Taco Recipe

Ingredients (8 to 12 servings):

  • 3-5 pounds wild pork, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Meat Church Honey Bacon BBQ Blend
  • 50:50 mix of apple cider vinegar and apple juice in a spray bottle
  • Roasted corn and minced red onion
  • Roasted poblanos, cut into strips
  • Cotija cheese
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Fresh lime slices
  • Corn tortillas (three per serving), lightly toasted in the oven

Crock Pot Contents:

  • Smoked wild pork chunks (see instructions)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup Mexican Coca-Cola made with sugar cane instead of corn syrup
  • Chop wild pork into fist-sized chunks. Season well and refrigerate overnight.
  • Smoke chunks for 3 hours at 160 F, spritzing with a 50:50 mix every hour.
  • Remove and sear all pieces over an extra-hot grill until slightly charred.
  • Add to a Crock Pot, add apple cider vinegar, pineapple juice, and Mexican Coca-Cola. Cover and set to low for 6 hours.
  • Roast corn and minced red onion mix at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until brown. Set aside.
  • Roast poblanos at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until charred. Remove, cover, and sweat in the fridge for half an hour. Remove, seed, peel, and slice. Set aside.

Have any questions? Reach out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or comments.