In recognition of #Aporkalypse2014 week on Sportsman Channel, we asked Scott Leysath, The Sporting Chef, to provide us his top five wild pig recipes.
The Sporting Chef, hosted by Scott Leysath, leans on Leysath’s 25-year career as a fish and game chef, along with some of the outdoor industry’s most-talented and innovative experts on the topics of fish and game preparation, outdoor cooking, camping, harvested game handling and storage. The show offers outdoor programming in a fast-paced magazine format covering a variety of topics from stuffing quail with rabbit-rattlesnake sausage to local game feeds to finding out whether farmed salmon is a good thing for our bodies or the environment.
Simple Smoked Shoulder
My favorite way to cook wild pig or boar is by slow roasting or slow smoking the shoulders, allowing the heat do all the work. It beats the tedious task of boning, trimming and chopping into usable chunks of meat. If you don’t have access to a smoker, use any grill with meat as far away from the heat source as possible. Drop a few wood chunks onto the coals or in a pan above the heat source before adding the pig. Larger bone-in cuts will require more time to reach the tender stage. If, after several hours, you check it and it’s still not tender, keep cooking. It’ll get there eventually. As long as I’m smoking one shoulder, I usually smoke several and freeze the pulled meat for another time.
Step 1. The Rub
Remove any excess fat from the shoulder. Season liberally with salt and pepper and, if desired, a little brown sugar for added sweetness or some cayenne pepper for heat. I use 4 parts Hi Mountain Garlic Pepper Rub and 1 part light brown sugar. The exact amount of seasoning isn’t critical. Rub it in, wrap the shoulder in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. If your shoulders are boneless, make sure to season all the cracks and crevices before wrapping with plastic. I usually tie the boneless shoulders with butcher string so that it will cook more evenly.
Step 2. The Cooking Part
Place in a 250 degree smoker for 6 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the shoulder. Cook until the internal temperature is 185 degrees.
STEP 3 – Make it Tender
Remove the meat and place in the center of a large piece of heavy-duty foil (“standard” weight foil will always tear apart). Pour your favorite barbecue sauce over the meat, about a cup or two. Wrap snugly in foil and return the meat to the heat for 2 more hours.
STEP 4 – Shred
Allow to cool and then shred meat with tongs or forks. Pile high in a soft bun and top with coleslaw, at least that’s the Southern way!
Wild Pig Chile Verde
A great way to cook the stink out of an old boar hog, but even better with a younger animal. The idea is to render as much of the fat out of the meat before adding the flavor.
8 – 10 servings
3 pounds boar shoulder, loin or ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Anaheim peppers, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups fresh tomatillos, skin removed; quartered (or canned / drained)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add boar and brown evenly. Drain off any fat or liquid rendered during browning. Add 2 quarts chicken broth and any additional broth or water to cover meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until meat is tender and breaks apart, but doesn’t fall apart, with moderate finger pressure.
2. Drain liquid from stockpot. Add 2 cups chicken stock and all remaining ingredients except cilantro. Simmer until peppers are tender. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wild Pig, Peppers and Black Beans
Whether you use shoulder, hindquarter or loin, trim as much visible fat as you can from the meat before cooking. Wild pig fat is often the cause of unpleasant flavors. The first thing I do after trimming the meat is to cut it into cubes, brown it and pour off any fat that was rendered while browning.
2 1/2 – 3 pounds wild pig shoulder, hindquarter or loin meat, trimmed and cut into 1 – 2
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 quarts beef broth
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 small hot peppers (jalapeno, serrano, Thai, etc.) seeded and minced
2 cups bell peppers or any sweet peppers, sliced or roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha, etc.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with equal part cold water.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 green onions, shredded
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
warm steamed rice
1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add pig and brown evenly on all sides. Pour off any excess liquid rendered during browning. Add beef broth and next four ingredients to pot. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 2 – 3 hours or until meat breaks apart with moderate pressure. NOTE: Do not cook until meat falls apart! It should still be firm, but not tough and chewy.
2. Add remaining peppers, chili sauce, soy sauce, black beans and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring often to thicken. Stir in lime juice. Place a mound of rice in bowls and spoon pig over. Top with green onions and peanuts.
Wild Pig Tacos
Once you’ve slow-smoked the shoulders (See Simple Smoked Shoulder recipe), the pulled meat makes excellent stuffing for tacos, enchiladas and any other Southwestern or Mexican dish that calls for tender shredded meat. You can also do the same process in an oven or covered grill and with any part of the pig. Season it, slow-roast it, wrap in foil with sauce and keep cooking until it falls apart. Once cooled, you’re ready to shred the meat. The same recipe works great with venison shoulders.
4 servings, 2 large tacos per person
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups “pulled” wild pig meat
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 14 1/2 can diced tomato, drained
corn or flour tortillas
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add venison, cumin, oregano leaves, chili powder and diced tomato. Cook for 5 minute more, stirring often to blend flavors.
2. Distribute stuffing evenly in the middle of the tortillas. Add lettuce, cheese and tomato.
Pan-Roasted Wild Pig Chops
There is a relatively small danger that your hog, boar, etc. may carry the parasite trichinella, which causes trichinosis… a bad thing. Make sure that the meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees for several minutes, just to be safe. It’s also best to trim most of the fat from the chops as it often imparts unpleasant flavors to the cooked meat. Use any vegetables in season to accompany the chops if you don’t want to use shallot, celery and carrot.
2 – 3 lbs feral pig chops, bone can be in or out (looks better with the bone!)
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 lemon, juice only
8 – 10 whole garlic cloves
6 – 8 whole peeled shallots
1 cup baby carrots
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into 4 pieces
1. Season meat with salt and pepper. Toss seasoned chops with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, rosemary and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 6 – 12 hours.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add chops and lightly brown on both sides. Remove chops and set aside. Add garlic, shallots, carrots and celery and cook until lightly browned. Return chops to the pan and place the pan in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes more or until chops are just done and shallots are slightly soft.
3. Remove pan from oven. Remove chops from pan and keep warm. Place pan over a medium-high burner and add wine. Reduce wine to about 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and whisk in chilled butter until melted. To serve, place vegetables on plates and arrange chops over. Drizzle sauce over chops.