Wild Boar Recipes: Wild Boar Bacon
Recipe by Zane Dearien
Making fresh bacon out of a wild boar is a pretty great skill to have. Wild game chef Zane Dearien walks us through the process. It's pretty interesting and sounds like a good project for a cold weekend.
WILD BOAR BELLY 6-8 pounds (skin off)
470 g LITE BROWN SUGAR
800 g KOSHER SALT
30 g CURING SALT #1 (optional, for added preservation)
1 teaspoon CAYENNE
1 tablespoon BLACK PEPPER CORNS
2 teaspoons CHILIFLAKES
2 tablespoons YELLOW MUSTARD SEEDS
5 each CLOVES
2 tablespoons FENNEL SEEDS
2 tablespoons GARLIC POWDER
2 tablespoons ONION POWDER
1. Harvesting and Procuring Wild Boar Belly: If you're a hunter, the best way to get wild boar belly is to harvest one yourself. If not, you can go to Mossy Oak Gamekeeper Butchery and get one shipped to you.
2. Prepare the Curing Mixture: In a bowl, combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, spices, curing salt (if using) and mix them thoroughly to create the curing mixture.
3. Trim and Rub the Wild Boar Belly: Trim excess fat and any unwanted bits from the wild boar belly. At this time if there is still skin attached to the belly remove it and save for pork rinds. Lay the belly on a large tray. Rub the curing mixture generously over all sides of the boar belly, ensuring it's evenly coated.
4. Curing Process: Place the rubbed wild boar belly in a large in a large tray with a layer of the cure on the bottom between belly and tray. Stack the bellies on top of one another if you have to cut them to fit your tray making sure to add extra cure between each layer. Refrigerate for at least 5 days, turning the belly every day to distribute the curing mixture evenly.
5. Rinse and Dry: After the curing period, remove the boar belly from the refrigerator. Rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove excess curing mixture. Pat it dry with paper towels. If you have the time let air dry in your refrigerator for 24 hours before smoking.
6. Preheat the Smoker: Preheat your smoker or oven to 200 F. You can use wood chips for flavor; apple wood, cherry or hickory pairs well with wild boar.
7. Smoking the Wild Boar Belly: Place the cured and dried boar belly on the smoker rack. Smoke it for about 4-6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 150 F. Keep an eye on it to prevent overcooking.
8. Cooling and Slicing: Allow the wild boar bacon to cool for at least 30 minutes. Once cooled, slice it into thin strips or your desired thickness. You may also leave it whole and cut off as you need to make lardons, sliced bacon or grind for other applications such as meat balls and addition to burgers.
9. Storing: Store it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap or baggie for up to two weeks or vacuum seal in smaller portions and freeze for longer preservation.
Idea behind making your own bacon:
Making your own bacon from an animal that you harvested is some that cannot be mimicked in the commercial world of bacon making. You have the freedom to add, takeaway, tweak and impart any flavors that you wish too in your bacon. I love to take items I find around the area I harvested the boar like spruce tips, vegetables that grow nearby and take their greens and fruits and add them in. When it comes to recipes and how you are going to use this bacon just always remember where it came from and ate around and try to incorporate some of those flavors to the dish. This will accent the dishes in ways you would not have imagined.