Hearing the words “wild boar” conjures up different images to different people. To me, those words are reminiscent of the days I spent living in Germany many decades ago. Back then, wild boar appeared on the menus of all kinds of restaurants, from fine dining establishments to the local gasthaus. Today wild boar recipes are also making their way into mainstream America, where these destructive swine are considered an invasive species capable of wiping out local flora and ruining farmers’ crops.
Interestingly enough, many wild boars in Germany are now unsafe to eat due to radiation poisoning from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of all wild boars in Germany exceed legal limits of radiation for consumption. For that reason it is recommended that you know where you product comes from, and stick to local sources.
Tendencies of Wild Boar Meat
Because it is a pig, you might think of wild boar as being a fatty, light-colored meat. But due to its diet and free-ranging habits, the meat of wild pigs tends to be very lean and darker in color than domesticated hogs.
Because the meat contains very little fat, it has a tendency to be quite tough if not cooked properly. In general, wild boar needs to be cooked just long enough to raise the internal temperature to 140 degrees.
Recipe: Roasted Wild Boar Tenderloin (serves 2)
2 wild boar tenderloins, ~ 1/2 pound each
Seasoning mix (enough to coat all sides): salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
*1 Tbl. duck fat (or lard, or vegetable oil)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Sprinkle seasoning mix liberally over all sides of tenderloin pieces.
3) Place duck fat in cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.
4) Once fat has melted and skillet is hot, quickly brown all sides of meat. It should only take about 30 seconds on each side.
5) Once all sides are browned, break up 2 of the rosemary sprigs and scatter the pieces on top of the meat (still in the skillet).
6) Place skillet in oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Be careful not to overcook.
7) Remove from oven and let rest for 8 minutes. Garnish with remaining rosemary and serve with German fried potatoes and roasted beets.
* Tip – Because wild boar is such a lean meat, cooking it in duck fat adds flavor and succulence. Roasting one average sized duck will render more than a pint of fat. It will keep at least six months in the fridge if stored in a tightly covered jar or other air-tight container.