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How to use/preserve BIG feral hog?

 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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A huge feral hog has been coming around a couple of mornings now. He's so intent on his acorns and rooting that I was able to stalk up to within thirty feet of him! Next time, I'll have my rifle with me!
But what is the best way to deal with it? Will the meat be tough and overwhelmingly strong/wild tasting? Is it even worth paying attention to any of the conventional recipes for salting, curing, smoking, or even freezing; all of which seem to assume an ideal, fairly young age? My default recipe for other wild critters and old goats is curry. Canned curry is wonderful, and that's what I'll probably do if I don't get some great ideas in the meantime. It's well into spring here, with highs in the 70's (though it does get cold at night), so it would seem risky to try to hang or age it for very long. Maybe if I can keep the flies out of the barn I can leave it in there so as not to have to cut and can all night.....
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I think the way I would approach this is to have a few separate plans. A good, bad and ugly plan so to speak. The plan I go with would be based on a sampling taken from the carcass just after slaughter. Choose a few samples from the carcass. Light meat, dark meat, fatty bits and lean. Cook each sample separately without flavoring additions. Taste test and then choose a plan that suits your palate.

Plan A: The meat is good quality so process as you would any other hog with good flavor. Salting curing smoking ... your choice.

Plan B: The meat is "tainted" but edible with a lot of flavor masking. CURRY that sucker!

Plan UGLY: Meat tastes like pig ass through and through. Compost to recover nutrient or process for animal feed.

In any case the bones could be used for Sepp's bone sauce. I bet it works even better from a nasty old pig's bones.



 
Joe Braxton
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Back-up plan - sausage!
 
mick mclaughlin
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Best plan; shoot a smaller pig! Under 150 is excellent! Do anything with it.

If ya got one, ya should hsve msny. Some of them old boars just flat stink!
 
Bill Erickson
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My buddy in Germany hunts feral hogs all the time. He treats them just like he would a regular pig, and since it has been feeding on acorns it will likely be tasty. He also grinds up a lot of it and makes sausage - he is German after all and he makes some fine cured meats. Craig's suggestion is a very good one too. Sample different parts of yon beasty and decide whether you like it or not. Bleeding wild game is the key to a good taste. Residual blood is what often makes for that "gamey" flavor that most folks don't tolerate well.
 
Walter Jeffries
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I would set things up and be patient so that I could get a perfect head shot just like I do with stunning for our domestic hogs. If he's busy eating acorns you can set up the situation to your liking and a rifle gives you range. Then I would get in there and bleed him out properly immediately. First thing is to ground bleed him to finish the kill. Then two loops on the hind legs and up in a tree to hang for a while to finish bleeding while I'm doing what ever else. I would probably then transport him back as is in his skin to where I wanted to do my slaughter work.

Unlikely to have much fat so I would probably skin him out hanging peel down, gut, split and hang the carcass. Where I am it's cool most of the year at night, days most of the year too. Planning when to do it is part of the process. If you don't have the option then quartering head off to primals and packing in ice is second best.

I would age the meat, ideally hanging, for a week. During that time I would also take a chunk of fat and a chunk of lean to test fry them up to check for taint. Not all pigs have taint, most don't in fact. Those that do, sometimes it can hang age out. Those that still have it take the fat off as that is where most of the taint is. Use the lean with fat from sows, barrows or beef and make spiced sausage. If there's no taint then you've got good pork - congratulations.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Walter,

Can you describe a little more of the hanging process? What temperatures would be best for hanging and aging a carcass? Humidity? If it's to be done outdoors, what tips can you give to help minimize possible negative effects that Mother Nature sometimes throws our way? Temperature spikes and dips would be one thing that comes to mind that may vary the outcome.
Thanks


 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:Walter, Can you describe a little more of the hanging process? What temperatures would be best for hanging and aging a carcass? Humidity? If it's to be done outdoors, what tips can you give to help minimize possible negative effects that Mother Nature sometimes throws our way? Temperature spikes and dips would be one thing that comes to mind that may vary the outcome.


Mid to low 30's is best. Protection from flies, of course. Cool season gives that well. Out of sun and cellars are good.

Humidity is not something I've messed with. I've read studies that suggest in the 70's RH, others that say otherwise so the word is not firm. On the farm for our own consumption

I just hang in a shed - this is not for resale, of course. We're talking home use. (Although now I've built a butcher shop which we're about to start using so for us that is soon changing...)

You want to keep it cool, clean and cloistered. The goal is for the meat to stay sanitary and doesn't grow bacteria. First you have to get the animal heat out of it reducing it from 103°F to ~35°F and you want to do that fairly quickly, twelve hours or so as measured in the thickest muscles not touching bone. Then you want to keep it hanging cool. The longer you hang for the more this becomes an issue so if you do not have good hanging conditions then you want to hang shorter times or put it on ice. Don't get sick.

A big advantage of scald and scrape is that it leaves the skin on so humidity can be lower and the meat is protected by the skin and fat layer.

 
Renate Howard
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When we butcher we gut, skin, then cut into the primals (cut off each leg with the hunk of meat attached, the split the back) and put them into large ice chests to cool quickly. We didn't age the last pig we killed at all and I liked it better that way. It wasn't tough at all, and it didn't seem to get rigor mortis, or if it did, it relaxed overnight like chicken meat does.

Once the primals are in the coolers, I like to cut off the bacon fat and start curing that in ziplock bags, then I put the cure on the hams (maybe cut down to size so they fit in my containers), and get them all aging in our meat refrigerator. I then attack the sides and cut off the tenderloins and loins, and put them in the refrigerator to cool more (overnight - I freeze them the next day). The I cut up all the sausage meat. Since I've discovered smoked link sausage, we do a lot of sausage meat, in the ratio of 1 part fat to 2 parts meat. I cut it into the size chunks that I can fit in my grinder and chill it more. At this point I could go ahead and add the seasoning, half-freeze it, and then grind it but I'm usually tired by then! I take the remaining fat and render lard, slicing the fat bacon-style or into lardons, then as the fat separates and melts, ladling it through a strainer into clean canning jars. I cut up the remaining bones and simmer them for stock, which can replace chicken stock in most recipes You can make the stock in a crock pot and let it go overnight on low.

We give the head and feet to the dogs as treats (freeze them until later- they're busy enough with the skin and guts on butchering day!)
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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