What Does Boar Taste Like?
Are you looking for meat that is packed with vitamins such as iron, niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium but low in sodium? Is this a very specific description written simply to make you wonder what this super food might be? Yes. And the answer is: boar.
Boar, otherwise known as wild hogs or feral hogs, are actually a source of lean meat. Boar aren't exactly pigs; there are a few differences. A boar is an "un-castrated domesticated pig" or "wild pig." You'll find that a boar has a longer and more straight tale than a pig's. They also have longer legs than pigs. A pig, for example, could escape from a farm and live life as a feral pig. After a couple of generations, those pigs will look like any other wild boar.
Wild boar are not native to the U.S. Early European settlers introduced wild pigs to North America. Per the Austin Chronicle, a Spanish explorer named Hernando de Soto first brought 13 pigs to what is now known as the Tampa, Florida area in the mid-1500s. Naturally, the herds grew, and, according to the Chronicle, were often the subject of attacks on American Indians from explorers who wanted the pig meat to eat fresh and for salt pork and preserved pork.
As Sports Illustrated reported in January 2020, there are between seven and eight million wild pigs in the world, and about 2.6 million of them are in Texas. This has led to an overpopulation problem in the state, where wild pigs overrun the state and destroy farmland, property, and small businesses, such as golf courses. As SI noted, some farmers have reported up to a $70,000 hit from pig damage to their land, and the the federal cost from pig destruction is about $1.5 billion a year. Per the USDA, wild pigs are "the worst invasive species we'll ever see."
With all that said, it's clear that wild boar is definitely one type of game meat you shouldn't feel guilty about consuming. In fact, feral hogs are a great alternative to domestic pigs. It tends to be leaner than regular pork and has what many have described as a sweet and nutty, rich flavor.
Here are some things to know about boar meat, how to acquire it, and prepare it.
Does Boar Meat Taste Like Pork?
You might think the answer to this would be "yes," but as previously mentioned, boar has a very distinct flavor all its own. Many consumers and sellers think that boar actually tastes better than domestic pork and doesn't have a gamey taste. Feral pigs and domestic pigs might be related, but feral swine meat is darker because of its high iron content.
Wild boar can be used for a variety of recipes as well. Think of anything you'd prepare with domestic pork, and you've pretty much got your answer for what can be made with boar. You can cook wild boar to make meatballs, tenderloin, wild boar ribs, and many kinds of bbq dishes.
Wild boar ribs can be prepared the same way you might make domestic pork ribs, and you might even find you like the taste even better. Once you clean the boar ribs of sinews and unwanted fat, you can soak it in the marinade of your choice or apply dry rub to it. Other good recipes include wild boar leg in red wine sauce, roasted leg of wild boar, and marinated wild boar chops.
Because wild boar is so lean, it's best you cook it a lower temperature than what you use to cook other meats. Depending on how you want your meat cooked, it's best to stay within 120 to 155 Fahrenheit for the internal temperature.
What is Boar Taint, and Should I Be Concerned About It?
You might not find that wild boar has a game taste, but there is one specific problem you might have heard of: taint. To put it simply, boar taint is the odor produced by a male pig that has not been castrated. In some cases, it can affect taste and smell of the meat, and two main compounds are responsible for it: androstenone and skatole. That's not to say that everyone who eats boar will taste or smell taint.
The taste of the taint can be subjective, though. A 2013 study from Wageningen University found that what consumers read on the packaging can affect what they smell and taste when they actually eat the boar. There's also some discussion about whether women might have more sensitivities to androstenone than men.
Bottom line: Don't let taint keep you from trying boar. There is, however, an ongoing argument about pig castration, which prevents taint. Here's more information if you want to learn more about it.
Is Wild Boar Healthier Than Pork?
Wild boar is lower in cholesterol and calories than pork, so that's something to consider. If you're preparing a big boar following a hunt, you won't have to deal with the additives that you might find in meat that has been raised on farms and processed in factories.
It is possible, however, for ranchers, such as those at Broken Arrow Ranch, to still have "wild boar" on their properties. This typically means that the boar live wild on the ranchers' land and cannot be kept in pens.
Is Wild Boar Meat Good to Eat?
Okay, so if you hunt a wild boar and bring it home, is it safe to cook and eat? The resounding answer is yes! If you've field dressed and cooked it following USDA regulations, you can definitely cook and eat the wild boar.
There are, however, some safety measures you should take if you're cooking wild boar that you have hunted yourself. Remember, boar are still wild animals, and if you're bringing them home from the wild straight to where you're planning to prepare it, you should watch out for a few things. First off, is the meat emitting a smell? Is it slimy or sticky? Does it have an unusual color? If there are any signs that you can see that the hog might have an infection, this meat not be safe to consume.
These warnings are true for any meat you consume, though. Even if you bring meat home from the grocery store, it's best to do a smell test and keep a close eye on its color or texture. Overall, boar meat is perfectly safe to eat!
Another option is to purchase our Wild Boar Meat Sticks. Enjoy!
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