Here’s what you need to know about chomping on these Texas pigs

Houston – Feral pigs are a problem in Texas, with KPRC 2 being widely reported over the years. Many hunters and fishermen do their best to get rid of the condition of these destructive creatures, and there is plenty of meat to offer to their workers.

But can you and should you eat this meat?

We’ve wondered about it once or twice and have seen some warnings about doing so. We decided to research this delicious topic and learn more about eating wild pork.

Can you eat wild boar?

Wild boars – or wild boars as they are sometimes called – are descendants of the Eurasian wild boar that were released or fled from domestic pigs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are more than four million wild pigs in at least 35 states and they can destroy farmland and crops, compete with local wildlife for food, and can spread diseases to other animals and humans.

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Pigs can be eaten for their meat, But you need to harvest and process it safely.

Wild boar hunting is a popular sport among hunters, as well as a method of population control supported by wildlife agencies. Pork is a vital food source, although you need to be careful with it. The CDC notes that there are more than two dozen diseases that people can contract from wild boars. Most of these diseases make people sick when they eat undercooked meat. But brucellosis – a risk factor with feral pig meat – is different. The germs that cause brucellosis are spread among pigs through birth fluids and semen. Infected pigs carry the spores for life. People may become infected with the germs through contact with the blood, fluids, or tissue of an infected pig (such as the muscles, testicles, liver, or other organs).

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You may be at risk of contracting brucellosis if infected pig tissue, blood or fluids come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, or a cut in the skin. You can get sick when dressing in the field for an infected pig, or when slaughtering or eating undercooked meat. The CDC notes that you may begin to feel sick a week to months after coming into contact with the germs that cause brucellosis, with symptoms such as fever, decreased appetite, chills, fatigue, sweating, joint pain, headache, and muscle aches.

To protect yourself, avoid any contact with animals that are visibly sick or those found dead, use clean, sharp knives for dressing and slaughter in the field, wear eye protection and rubber or latex gloves (disposable or reusable) when handling carcasses, and avoid Direct contact (bare skin) using pig fluid or organs Burn or bury gloves and inedible parts of the carcass After slaughter Wash hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or longer and dry hands with a clean cloth and clean all tools and gloves Reusable for field dressing and slaughter with an antiseptic – eg, diluted bleach.

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Meat hanging from wild boar caught in Texas (Byron Nichols)

How do you deal with wild pork when preparing it to eat?

The CDC recommends the following food safety guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or longer.

  • Clean surfaces often with hot, soapy water.

  • Separate raw pork from cooked pork and other foods.

  • Cook the pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit using a food thermometer.

  • Refrigerate raw and cooked pork immediately. For more information on food safety, visit: www.foodsafety.gov.

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension adds “feral pigs make great table fare.” However, always use a meat thermometer to ensure an internal temperature of 160°F is reached and the meat is completely cooked.

What does it taste like?

Byron Nichols, a KPRC 2 photographer and wild boar hunter, said the animals taste a lot like domestic pork, but with a slightly bland aftertaste.

He explained that females are what is usually eaten, although males can also be eaten. The bait of males is more pleasant, especially if they run while hunting.

Nichols said that smaller to medium-sized pigs taste better. Although you can eat pork chops and ribs alone, Nichols said he likes mixing pork with venison for sausage. It also makes pork.

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He said he likes to soak animal meat in vinegar on ice for several days to achieve a specific flavour.

“It’s a little more game than house ham,” he said, “but you wouldn’t really know.”

Here is more about taste.

Wild boar mixed with venison for sausage (Byron Nichols)

If you are a fisherman

You do not need a hunting license to hunt feral pigs in Texas if you own private property with permission from the landowner. Here is more information.

Hunting wild boars in Texas (Byron Nichols)
Hunting wild boars in Texas (Byron Nichols)

If you have a lot of meat

As we know from crazy pictures like these, feral pigs are huge. If you can’t eat all the meat, you can give it up to help the hungry in the Houston area. KPRC 2 has learned about feral pigs for the hungry. The organization said on its website that it is “supported by donations from hunters and fishermen who capture live pigs and deliver them directly to participating local slaughterhouses that have been inspected by the USDA.”

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The organization adds that food banks cannot accept meat from feral pigs harvested by poachers. Under federal law, feral pigs must be examined “before and after slaughter” or live and dead in order to ensure their safety. Poachers are allowed to eat their own wild boar meat, but they cannot donate it to food banks.

KPRC 2 has confirmed with the Houston Food Bank that it accepts meat from Hunters for the Hungry, but that organization does not currently accept feral pork due to state and federal guidelines.

Where to buy it in Houston

If you want a taste of feral pig or what many restaurants call wild boar, you can try it in Houston area restaurants.

Moon Tower Inn – Wild Boar Hot Dog

Pete’s Fine Meats – On the menu, listed as Exotics.

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Bistro Le Cep – For Dinner – Medal Wild Boar Sweet and Sour Marcassin

Irma Southwest Grill – wild boar sausage, wild boar tamale

Grid – Ground Boar “Gallagher” Chop

Patagonia Grill & Café – Argentinian Beef & Beef Dish (picada-taba, family style) 48 tapas mixed with prosciutto di Parma, dry wild boar salami, Patagonian venison salami, Gouda cheese, Malbec cheese, Parmesan cheese, Roquefort cheese, olives, hard – Boiled eggs, quince, figs and nuts

Rainbow Lodge – Wild Game Mixed Grill – Grilled venison and elk, Texas quail and wild boar, buttered mashed potatoes, asparagus, mustarda, game sauce

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Da Marco – pappardelle, wild boar, Tuscan Pecorino

King’s BierHaus – Wild Boar – Blueberries, Merlot Wine and Brown Sugar

Wild Pork Lovely Recipes

People should not be afraid to eat wild boars. They are very lean. The meat is very good, but you have to take precautions just to be safe, Billy Higginbotham, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, wildlife specialist, Texas A&M Agrilife, said in an article for the Texas Farm Bureau.

Here are some wild boar / wild boar recipes online with positive reviews:

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Do you eat wild boar? Why and why not? If you do eat it, join the conversation in the comments and tell us how you make it.

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