I’ve gotten some good emails about my pig article in Slate magazine and I think I ought to address some of the points and questions that people have been raising.
First of all, wild pork does not necessarily taste ‘gamey.’ Most often it is bad or delayed butchering that causes gaminess. I have butchered wild pigs and domestic pigs and most of the meat tasted identical. There are two major differences. The wild pigs have less and leaner bacon, while the hams from the wild pigs taste much better.
If you kill a wild pig and butcher it within a few weeks of when the acorns drop from the oak trees in your area, then the hams are outstanding. All that I did was give them a a quick two day salt rub (with some bay leaves and other stuff in there as well) and then I did a hot smoke out back in a single afternoon. Not very complicated, but the flavor and appearance was very much like the famous Iberian ham.
You know what Iberian pigs and ham are? About 3,000 years ago a bunch of domestic pigs were crossed with Eurasian wild boars. These hybrids are allowed to run around freely in huge meadows and oak forests where they gorge themselves on acorns right before slaughter. The resulting meat, properly handled and cured, is hailed as among the finest pork in the world.
Does that sound familiar? This is pretty much the same situation that we have with most wild pigs in the US. Wild/domestic hybrids that get a lot of exercise and stuff themselves on acorns. The meat from most wild pigs is excellent. The sloppy DIY butchering, often delayed by hours while the corpse sits in the hot sun, not so excellent.
The next point that I would like to address is the question of whether I have ever actually killed a pig. Yes, absolutely. In fact, you can watch me on a successful pig hunt in Helenah Swedberg’s film about me (watch the trailer here).
This article orginally appeared on Jackson Landers’ blog, rule 303.