Feral Hog Meat Care

bachunt

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Dec 14, 2020
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Looking for some advice on feral hog meat care. I understand due to their hide and fat it's important to field dress them quickly. My question is, what do you do when the meat is in your kitchen? Do you dry or wet brine? What meat do you grind? Do you make sausages or burger patties?

I have heard that boars can have off flavors and heavily benefit from a wet brine. Do you brine even if you are going to grind the meat?
Thank you for your help!
 

Copperhead

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Jan 5, 2021
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We pretty much just take the quarters and straps skinned and trimmed and drop them in a cooler of ice water and leave for a couple of days. Have had pretty good luck doing that before processing.
 

TSAMP

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Jul 16, 2019
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I hunt pigs every January. Killed a 200 lb boar 2 years ago. Ground most up for sausage but kept ribs/backstraps whole for smoking. The ribs were kind of a bust and I won't do that again but if the boar isn't all busted up with puss and wounds I would strongly reccomend doing a sausage grind. This is west Texas so these things don't eat the best diets either. In more Ag type areas I am sure its even better. Keep as much meat as you can carry so long as its been cared for and looks right.
 

Tartan

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Jun 27, 2016
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Argyle, Tx
I've killed and ate close to 2 dozen feral hogs in the last 10 years since I moved to texas. I've never had one taste bad, including some stinky boars and one that weighed over 240 lbs. Much like bears, I think any off taste has more to do with what they are eating than anything else. If they've been getting into some carcasses left by another predator its going to affect the flavor. If they've mostly been eating forage with some corn thrown in they'll be fine.

A big boar will be tougher and I do prefer 120-140 lb for eating, but that big one and several over 180lb were fine, just tougher like any older animal.

I treat them like anything else. Skin them, be careful not to get hair anywhere on the meat. Quarter, take backstraps, ribs, and tenderloins. I don't usually take the neck meat, but that is mostly b/c skinning down the gristle plate on a big hog is a pain in the butt and I'm lucky that it's easy to take a couple pigs anytime I can make a trip to this ranch. By the time i get everything else off I'm ready to be done.

Keep them on ice until I get back home. I don't like to soak them. Yes draining the blood via soaking in ice (as is popular in texas) will take out off flavors, but it will also take out any flavor at all.

when I get home, I debone, being careful to get out all of the glands that are found in both the front and rear quarters. If i nick a gland, that knife gets a solid wash before it ever touches meat again.

I usually keep the backstraps and a couple large cuts of meat from the rear quarters for roasts. If it is a big pig and tough, I will usually pound them flat for schnitzel or the like.

Sometimes I keep a front shoulder to braise for pulled pork. Ribs get braised and finished on the smoker or grill. The rest gets made into breakfast sausage and I usually just use uncured bacon to add fat.
 
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bachunt

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Dec 14, 2020
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Thank you for all of your advice. I like the idea of not soaking it in water Tartan, I think I will try that. I am hunting in East Texas in between timber and ag fields, so hopefully they have been eating well!

Also braising and then grilling seems like a great idea for the lean rib meat.
 

Bubblehide

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May 13, 2015
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I am with Tartan on this. This past season I harvested over a couple dozen hogs and got guys on as many. I personally target boars over sows, but I do take a few sows every year. I have never had any issues with how boars eat or noticed a difference between sows and boars over flavor and tenderness. I skin, bone, and put in an ice chest full of ice. When I get home I drain rinse and leave the meat in a brine (very often with lots of spices). I generally let it soak until the following weekend, but up to 2 weeks total, no more. Just avoid those glands. Don't forget to render the fat. My brines generally revolve around a sweet mesquite or a rosemary.
 

Stalker69

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Apr 12, 2019
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A friend of ours where we hunt in Texas contracted trichinosis( there are a couple other things you can contract from them as well) from feral pigs, he was really sick a very long time before they finally figured it out , and he still has “ issues” with it. Wear rubber gloves when handling them or the raw meat, and cook well. Other then that treat as you do any other “ meat”. Get cleaned and cold ASAP, And keep it dry.
 

Packin_packout

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Nov 1, 2019
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132
Everything above is pretty much dead on. Since you are in dallas...take the grind down to Kuby's off of 183 they do some of the best sausage I have had to date. I do pork chops and hams all the time w/o issue but this is wild game which can be eating anything...including their buddies.

One thing to remember is that some people do the diesel sour corn stuff...so just watch out for that...no way to really know what they have been munching on since they seem to move around a lot...but if they smell like soured corn just be aware of that.

Gloves are a really big deal...these things can be completely covered in parasites...especially once it starts warming up.

Be aware that sometimes these things may already have a few wounds / holes in them. I've cut up a few that have buckshot / broadheads in them still on the bigger ones.
 

Sevens

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Apr 14, 2020
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Dallas, TX
We pretty much just take the quarters and straps skinned and trimmed and drop them in a cooler of ice water and leave for a couple of days. Have had pretty good luck doing that before processing.
Same. Have made some great steaks and chops from hogs most folks would say are "too big" to eat.
 
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bachunt

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Dec 14, 2020
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Just had some hog chili tonight. Delicious. Thanks for all the help everyone
 

rbljack

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Dec 5, 2014
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Location
Snyder Texas
I bought a box trap this fall and have trapped 5 so far. The largest was close to 300 pounds. He stunk so bad, I didn't process the meat on that one....but that may have been a mistake. Since that date, I've trapped 4 more, and all the meat has been fine and they have all been 150-250 pounds.. I have made breakfast sausage, salami, and summer sausage from the rear quarters and trim, and have kept the front shoulders whole in the freezer for bbq at some point. The backstraps have been used for Schnitzel and it was damn good! Also...the Legs #10 sausage spice is a great breakfast sausage and we made bisquits and gravy from the hog meat which came out damn good also. we did mix in some bacon for fat content.

I did have an issue with one hog that's worth mentioning: when I cut up the meat it had red spots all throughout the backstraps. I thought it was a parasite so threw them away and was going to get rid of the whole hog. But..i decided to take a shower real quick and research this before throwing the quarters away.

I was able to find info on what's called bloodsplash. That particular hog moved when I went to dispatch him and he was hit in the nasal cavity instead of the correct location. This caused him to experience high levels of stress which can cause small blood vessels to burst in the meat before I could get the second kill shot into him ..hence bloodsplash.

To date, I haven't done anything to age the meat before cutting it up. Its a short ride from the hunting spot to home...so I haven't gutted them. Instead, they were dispatched and brought home whole. Then quartered using a gutless method basically to get the quarters and backstraps off quickly. I do not "go in" for the tenderloins or mess with the upper neck meat. Front quarters were wrapped and frozen whole (cut off the lower portion of the legs for trim). Rear quarters got cut up into cubed meat and into the freezer to cool off. Once cold enough, they went thru the grinder for breakfast or summer sausage or salami. The backstraps got cleaned up and one goes in the freezer. The second goes directly into a zip lock bag of Italian dressing to marinate in the fridge. It then becomes Schnittzel in short order! LOL

I may try to age the meat on ice in a cooler if I get them during warmer weather and cant act quickly to get the meat off the carcass.
 
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bachunt

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Dec 14, 2020
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Same. Have made some great steaks and chops from hogs most folks would say are "too big" to eat.
Seems like a lot of bigger hogs are less muscle dense than the 100-200 pounders. Unlike some other animals. Big ones get fat and lazy lol
 

Western_hunter87

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Feb 18, 2020
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eat a lot of wild pigs out here in cali. I smoke Hams, shoulders for carnitas or crock pot, Backstraps tenders smoked and steaked, Grind goes for Chili or sausages. Older boars are tougher but younger boars and sows are delicious. Whatever you dont wanna eat cook up and feed to your dogs
 

Azone

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Apr 21, 2018
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The Far Left Coast
I am with Tartan on this. This past season I harvested over a couple dozen hogs and got guys on as many. I personally target boars over sows, but I do take a few sows every year. I have never had any issues with how boars eat or noticed a difference between sows and boars over flavor and tenderness. I skin, bone, and put in an ice chest full of ice. When I get home I drain rinse and leave the meat in a brine (very often with lots of spices). I generally let it soak until the following weekend, but up to 2 weeks total, no more. Just avoid those glands. Don't forget to render the fat. My brines generally revolve around a sweet mesquite or a rosemary.
The brine idea sounds worthwhile. What ratio of salt and water are you using? I’ve always skinned out hogs and hung them in a walk in cooler and then processed within the next few days. If it’s a top secret kinda thing not to be shared I get it but I actually wouldn’t mind trying this out.
 

mdtennant

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Jan 7, 2021
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SW NH
I have not had any issues with off taste with boars and really don't treat them any different than anything else that I process. I always wear gloves with hogs and try to keep it as clean as possible when skinning. I think the issue can be if you taint the meat with piss or seamen. That's where stuff goes to hell...

For processing, I just seam it out, remove glands, trim and cut to size, then pack and freeze. [Second the no cutting the glands] Typically I don't brine as a rule, but have used a marinade on occasion. We do our own grinding and sausage prep.

For Trich... it can be an issue, so gloves are advised. I have always been told that it can be killed by freezing if the animal [and therefore parasite] is not typically exposed to harsh winters, but I don't rely on that and tend to cook hogs more than I would other game.
 

Bubblehide

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May 13, 2015
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The brine idea sounds worthwhile. What ratio of salt and water are you using? I’ve always skinned out hogs and hung them in a walk in cooler and then processed within the next few days. If it’s a top secret kinda thing not to be shared I get it but I actually wouldn’t mind trying this out.
I do not measure. But I will try to remember to look at the spices I generally use and give you a good guestimate.
 
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