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It's not literally wild boar, is it?

As far as I know, a boar is a feral adult male pig with a complete set of reproductive organs, an irrepressibly pungent animal that, dead or alive, can make anyone's eyes water.

So the stuff they use in restaurants, sell in overpriced butcher stores, make into artisanal salami, etc...can't be him, right?

So what is "wild boar"? Wild...sow? Wild prepubescent boy pigs? Wild eunuchs?

Is wild boar even wild? Wouldn't the incredibly wide range of things a genuine feral pig eats (pine tree roots, skunk cabbage, snakes, bear poop...they can't all live exclusively on wild acorns) make it a dicey food choice for anyone other than a well-informed hunter?

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  1. as far as i know and i have read, it's merely a different breed of pig, related to wild pigs still extant.

    however, it is farm raised. for the most part, it is illegal for restaurants to sell truly wild game.

    3 Replies
    1. re: linus

      The thing is, at least in the South East, wild hogs are not considered game, they are considered the property of whoever's land they happen to be on.

      That said, I think the problem would arise because the meat would have to be inspected by the USDA like all other meat that is sold.

      1. re: linus

        Yes, "Wild Boar" also called razorbacks or European boars in the US, are a specific species of pig. They are the ancestor of domestic pig. They were introduced to the Americas by the colonists. Usually boar means adult male pig, but in "wild boar" it refers to adults and young of both sexes. They are raised commercially worldwide, and also their wild populations are hunted. I some countries the wild hunted ones can be sold commercially, in others they cannot.

        I've had wild boar that friends hunted and found the meat to be rich, sweet, and with better mouth feel than regular store bought pork. You mention that wild "wild boar" supposedly eat all kinds of nasty stuff. But in general they eat a healthier diet than farm raised. Yes, they are unparticular omnivores and eat ANYTHING, but when you hunt them in the fall they tend to have been eating off the fat of the land for several months. Acorns, grains, etc., and so are pretty tasty critters. Although old boars (as in the original term, adult males) can be tougher and gamier upon occasion.

        1. re: JMF

          Depends on where you take your wild hogs. In South Florida, as elsewhere in the south, we have a tremendous amount of feral hogs. We trap them and put them on a feed lot and worm them before you would even think about eating them. Otherwise, they are loaded with parasites, worms and what-have-you inside and out. They generally live on low-nutritional mast like palmetto berries, and carrion. This makes the meat pretty rank taken right out of the scrub. They clean up real nice, though. The whole process takes about a month.

      2. I don't know, could be. In Georgia wild hogs are not considered to be a "game" animal and are the property of the land owner. In other words, if I had pigs on my land I could shoot them and sell them, can't do that with deer.

        Also, a lot of hog hunters catch the hogs alive using dogs and bring them home to fatten.

        I suspect that what is commercially available are simply free range pigs.

        1 Reply
        1. depends on where you are and where you got it.

          I used to know folks who'd catch one alive, then keep it in a pen for a few weeks, feeding it vegetables and bread to cleanse the strong flavors.

          But yeah, sometimes it really is wild hawg.

          1. Where I am in the world, wild boar numbers are on the increase, after many years in decline. And, yes, wild boars are wild - although some are farmed, although are semi-wild in that the woodlands where they are raised are fenced off:

            http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              yep, the roti I saw this morning used to be wild. They do farm them in SW France and in Spain - dry-cured bellota ham (raised on a diet of acorns) is particularly sigh-worthy.

              1. re: sunshine842

                We've had wild boar many, many times and love that which are fed on acorns best. My husband has also shot them with his bow and arrow. Much of what we've had is truly wild.

            2. I know what commercially raised pigs eat, what free range chickens eat, and what wild fish eat. Given that, I'm not terribly concerned about the diet of wild boar/pig.

              1. Wild hogs are a horrible pest here in Missouri. They do eat anything, from crops to baby fawns, turkey eggs, snakes, endangered plants and animals. They root up vast tracts of forest and pasture lands, they spread disease to domestic stock, foul streams and they can be a bit dangerous to humans.

                They can be hunted any time, and the conservation folks I talk to say 'Please, kill all you can'. If a hunter shoots an adult male, it is generally left in the woods to rot, because the meat is inedible--smelly and bad tasting. The unpleasantness is called boar taint, and occurs in domesticated hogs as well. Little ones are delish, and older sows are turned into sausage.

                No, what they eat would not make the meat dangerous or unpleasant--chickens that run loose taste good, and they eat anything that doesn't eat them first..

                7 Replies
                1. re: sparrowgrass

                  That's what I'm talking about. Thank you, sparrowgrass.

                  1. re: knucklesandwich

                    Happy to be useful I work in agriculture, and attend lots of conservation department training sessions. (I can tell you all about bears and cougars in MO, too!)

                  2. re: sparrowgrass

                    Yes, my understanding is there is no season or limit because they are nuisance animals. My neighbor says they killed her pet deer. We did not really enjoy eating the one pictured here (yes, that is a full size tractor), but the flavor was fine, it was just dry and tough.

                    Shot in our pasture in SC.

                     
                    1. re: danna

                      Wow that is a beast danna. How much did that weigh? I'm not sure my 2210 would even pick that up!
                      I don't know of any state in the US that hogs are considered game so as others said the meat can be sold. Boars or ferral hogs are just a nuisance that cause a lot of damage.

                      1. re: TraderJoe

                        Sorry, we didn't weigh it either before or after the lame attempt at butchery. Since this wasn't a planned kill, we didn't utilize the meat beyond the hams. We had a lot of damage to the lower pasture and the fences, so when two of these guys showed up within rifle range of the terrace, husband took one out.

                      2. re: sparrowgrass

                        We have the same problem in Texas. They destroy huge amounts of land and multiply at an astonishing rate with no natural predators. Here, they can even be hunted by helicoptor.

                      3. A "boar" is an uncastrated male pig, whether confined to a farm, feral, or wild. A strict definition of "wild boar" would apply only to the wild pig of Eurasia and Africa. "Wild" pigs in North America are feral.

                        Culinary terminology tends to be loose, and this seems like an example.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: GH1618

                          sorry, you've lost me. If a boar can be feral or wild, why does it only apply to eurasia and Africa?

                          In the southeast US, the wild boars (which is what the local populace calls them) are descended from the animals bought by the Spanish.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            The wild pig is native to Eurasia and Africa, and is still found in the wild there. Most pigs we eat are domesticated breeds, and the pigs found in the wild in North America are escapees from farms, not directly descended from the original wild stock. Someone posted above that wild pigs are captured and farmed in Europe. I suppose if some were brought to North America and kept here, they would be true wild boar.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              There have been "real" wild hogs brought from Europe and stocked for hunting purposes. Those have mixed with domestic/feral hogs in some cases.

                              It used to be common, not that long ago, for folks to turn their hogs out in the woods in the spring and go catch them in late fall. Easy to see how there would be a lot of escapees using this method of farming.

                              Also, I think pigs, like dogs, easily make the transition from wild to domesticated and vice versa.

                                1. re: kengk

                                  Yup, feral pigs can be penned up.

                                  After a generation or two has passed the pigs are typically considered to be "re-domesticated" or "semi-feral". My great-grandmother told me that was how the old cracker families down here in Florida used to raise their pigs.

                                  The ranchers and farmers would cut the male and the females pigs loose in spring after notching their ears, and they would then round them back up around the beginning of winter.

                                  Any losses of the swineherd due to natural causes, diseases, or the rare occurrence of poaching/rustling (which if witnessed would be tantamount to starting a very real shooting feud), would generally be negated by the large amount of piglets the sows' would birth.

                                  Starting around the end of WWI or WWII most of the old farming families started selling off the properties to land developers. A few of the farmers released their semi-feral pigs into the wild. And out of a few semi-feral pigs, came many.

                                  They do make for good hunting though...

                          2. Haven't seen this item on an American menu, but certainly it's quite common in France and Italy. "Sanglier" (France) and "Cinghiale" (Italy) are absolutely wild, and very popular on the restaurant menus over there. Not illegal at all.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lemarais

                              Yes - I've had it many times in European countries, especially Italy and Croatia. A favourite of mine is wild boar goulash over creamy polenta. Mmmmm...

                            2. Wild boars are known to menace farms in and around Napa, where the animals' basic diet subsists of acorns, almonds, plums, figs and pinot noir grapes. If only they were a bit closer to Gilroy where they could feast on garlic, they would come completely pre-seasoned :) . They do get hunted, and I understand the smaller ones can make for some very good eating.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                I'm remembering when I lived in and around the Santa Cruz mountains they were frequently hunted there. Not far from Gilroy at all, but I think they prefer the wooded hills, and Gilroy is neither. But maybe some of those, ummm, gardeners up there could grow some garlic too …

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  I'm trying to get a visual on a wild piggy that's been rootin around and consuming some of that errrr magic gardening material. LOL

                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                    but will it give the brownie industry a run for its money?

                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                      Just look for the giggling pigs eating potato chips.