Wild hogs are a scourge to habitat and wildlife conservation, causing millions of dollars in damage across the country each year. But if there’s a bright side to the darkness of this feral pig invasion, it’s that wild swine are extremely fun to hunt and the meat is awesome. Hogs provide so many opportunities for filling freezers with free-range protein.
In nearly every Southern hog hunting camp I’ve been in—from Texas to Florida, Alabama to South Carolina—the same sentiment is frequently echoed: “Wild hogs don’t taste good.” Well, as I’ve ranted about endlessly during my hunter/wild-game chef career, this is just hogwash. Pork from feral pigs is tender and tasty. But like with any wild game, you need to handle and cook it properly.
It goes without saying, but take care to keep your meat clean while butchering hogs. Yes, they’re nasty animals on the outside, but their meat is clean and beautiful on the inside. Don’t puncture the guts or let innards run onto the meat while field-dressing. Wash your knife regularly if it gets soiled while skinning, or just use different knives for skinning and removing meat. Avoid cross contamination and remove any hair from the meat. Treat it like you’re going to eat it!
A low-and-slow cooking technique will help to retain moisture in wild hog meat. That’s key. You can take it a step further with this delicious liquid injection to boost flavor throughout your wild pork. The finished product can be used for sandwiches, tacos and more. As pictured here, it works nicely refried and crispy to accompany a rich breakfast.
- Bone-in hindquarter from medium-sized wild hog
- Peanut oil
- Light beer (pilsner or lager; not hop-heavy)
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or dissolved brown sugar)
- 1/8 cup Worcestershire
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chipotle chili pepper
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup garlic powder
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cup fine ground coffee
- Let hindquarter reach room temperature. Pat dry with paper towels. Coat heavily in dry rub.
- Brown in well-oiled Dutch oven. Remove from heat source.
- Inject with marinade throughout.
- Submerge meat 1/3 in beer. Cook uncovered in 300-degree oven for 3 hours, frequently flipping meat and adding beer to maintain moisture.
- Remove from oven, let cool, and pull meat apart to desired consistency.