Are you game for a boar of a tale?
Jul. 7, 2011 1:10 pm
Updated: Jul. 11, 2011 3:45 pm
As some of you know, my guys plus one went on an out of state hunting trip last month. I was excited to have the weekend to myself so I was talking about them being gone. When I told you what they were going to hunt some expressed curiosity about it so
I thought I’d share the results of that trip. For those that have asked about Pippin, he has posted another blog if you’d like to drop in and check out his adventures-http://thesensiblyorganiccook.blogspot.com/2011/07/can-tiger-change-his-stripes.html<
Also, if anyone's plans have changed and they are interested in the upcoming roundup I'm having here,
http://allrecipes.com/cook/13436831/blogentry.aspx?postid=233279< that's the blog if you'd like to read it and the email address is in it if you are interested.
My DH, Jeff, and his BF, Al, have talked about going elk hunting in Colorado for years. They both have hunted deer for years but wanted to go after something bigger. Either their jobs, lack of time or money kept them from doing anymore than talking about
a big out of state game hunt. Then early last year my DH started researching the possibilities again. Plus, he thought it would be cool for his son to be able to go with them now that he was old enough. So each Sunday he’d share what he had found with Al.
See, depending on the season Al comes up every Sunday to watch either the football game or NASCAR. I fix a big lunch for them too cause Al always seems to help the DH with one project or another. Usually it is a major project like cutting wood for the winter
so I feel it is only fair I keep Al well fed.
After much consideration they decided to turn their sights on smaller game. Wild pig. Oklahoma is also a little closer to home than Colorado. Since I did not opt to go with the guys on their trip, I’m relying on their version of events and pictures they took
for most of my information. I can, however, reliably share what I’ve learned about cooking wild pig.
If you do any scanning of the TV listings you might have noticed “reality” shows about the damage wild pigs are doing in various states, what is being done to round up these destructive creatures and what happens to them after capture. The ranch the guys hunted
on buy captured wild pigs from Texas. When asked, the people at the ranch said those reality shows are a bunch of nonsense and the pigs are live trapped then shipped to places like theirs.
Here’s the first picture the guys were excited about showing me.
Goes to show what they were interested in. Yep, I’m afraid my requests for scenery pictures fell upon deaf ears and, yes, that is the family truck for the owners of the ranch. When the guys told me how cool the place was inside and I asked if they took
a photo of it, I got a blank look. Deep sigh. So the best I could do with that is include the website just in case anyone wanted to see other shots.
I really did not know how the hunt was to be conducted but I was told everyone was guaranteed a pig. I know my guys when they hunt deer here in Missouri sit out on frosty mornings in carefully constructed and concealed deer stands for hours. Usually only to
come home wanting a hearty brunch with a “Nope, didn’t see a thing”. It never fails to
amaze me how thundering herds of deer can simply vanish when it is hunting season. Same with those turkeys. I can hear them gobble around here every morning till opening day. I’ve even scared them out of the front yard but I have yet to cook a wild one.
Evidently it is no surprise where the wild pigs are. The ranch is well fenced since it is against the law to let any of these creatures back into the wild. This is also a working ranch so the wild pigs are fed and receive veterinary care to keep any diseases
from infecting the domestic livestock.
These shots are taking from the stands the guys were in. For those that feel this type of hunting isn’t sporting enough, I’m not sure if the guys knew how little hunting skill they would need to get their pig. As with any game they have harvested over the years
we do eat it. That’s one of our rules. You only shoot another creature if you intend to eat it or to keep it from killing you. However, I do think living out in the wild receiving food and care is better than being in an overcrowded feed lot. Also if it were
up to me to shoot meat for our table, I can guarantee our menu would be vegetable heavy with some fish every so often.
WARNING!!! Hunting pictures.
The next pictures are my two guys with their pigs. Jeff got a boar and Ryan got a sow. Al got one of each but somehow I didn't get pictures of his or him.
Now on to what I learned first hand about wild pig. After going to a meat locker that would process the meat, we ended up with this size cooler full. In it we had ground pork, 2 smoked hams, spare ribs and boneless pork chops.
Before the meat went to St. Joe, I took a bit of it just to see what it would taste like. I fried it in a skillet. The flavor is much stronger than domestic pork. Since I did nothing else to the meat it was tough. I generally like any game and have never
had a problem with a gamey flavor. My sister SWEARS she can tell venison jerky from beef because of the gamey flavor. Hmmm, wonder if that’s like the great beet and cilantro debate? Either you like it or you don’t!
I was rather concerned that all the meat except for the ground would be much tougher than my DH was used to. I believe I was right. When the pork came back, I decided to try tenderizing and marinating some chops for the grill. Again we both liked the flavor,
not quite shoe leather was the consistency. Now, Al did the same thing and left his overnight and claimed a successful grilling came out of it. After having fixed lunch for him for almost 20 years, I know Al is not near as picky as my DH either. So my next
attempt at the chops was the pressure cooker. I love that thing now that I am no longer afraid of it! I put my own dry rub on the chops, browned them in the PC and added ½ c water and 1 c white wine. Cooked for 40 minutes under 10 lbs of pressure. Much better
with an excellent flavor. I do think I could have gone even longer with the cooking time and if anyone reading this has more experience with the PC and game, please share your knowledge. I’m guessing the other cuts will have the same type of toughness.
Something my DH doesn’t understand at all. He figures one pig, domestic vs. wild should be like the other. Uh huh. I’m guessing a crock pot or a LONG slow cook on the hams. I’m not quite sure the best method for the ribs. Something long and slow I’m sure.
I did have great success with the ground pork. We grilled hamburgers over the 4th and we all liked them. The jerky was AWESOME! The spice mix pictured earlier on the right was just so so. I added more spices to it because it seemed rather bland.
The one from Cabela’s was purchased later so we can make more jerky. I guess! I barely had enough jerky hidden to take the photo. The jerky on the right was made with the “Hi Mountain”. Now if you are wondering why there is asparagus on the plate, they guys
brought that back from the ranch. Someone had left it down after their hunt and the owners told the guys they could have it. Given they can barely eat anything green, my DH said, “I bet my wife would like that is it all right if I take it for her?” It’s pickled
with some kind of hot pepper. Can anyone identify it? I don’t grow that type and am not sure. I’d also like to have a pickled asparagus recipe too. Man that stuff is good! Almost too hot for me. I’d go with jalapeno peppers I think. Now for the jerky on the
left, I used a mix that I had from previous years but I decided to add some of the spicy vinegar from the asparagus to it. YUM! That came out so good!
Overall per pound, I’m sure the wild pig cost quite a bit. I’m not even going to bother trying to figure that out because the guys had such a good time and really liked the ranch. One other old friend was supposed to go on this trip but couldn’t due to
his health. What a shame. Ryan is going into the Navy in Oct. so who knows when or if he will ever hunt with his father or Al again. I swear everyone needs a friend like Al. He is like a brother to Jeff so I’m glad they finally got to go on their hunting trip
out of state. Jeff is still laid off so it is a good thing he had put aside money to go. It was a trip that was well worth taking. Maybe not so much for the pig but for the three of them to have a weekend to remember for always.