Monday, November 12, 2012

Seashore Boar – Tom Macon style!

Do you like pork? Have you ever had boar? It is very different. Recently, I had the chance to go poaching with a redneck friend of mine. We aren't sure if its legal or not, but we went down to the shoreline with our black powder muskets and got us a 240 lb. wild boar. That was crazy and so much fun. So if you are interested in some good eatin’, figure out how to get you a wild boar and then rustle up some pork rub seasoning, fresh lemon rind, green peppercorns, onions, potatoes, and a case of beer.

Gut and skin the boar. Be sure to dress it out like pappy showed you. Rub the skin with 3 cans of the beer and then sprinkle on the pork rub seasoning, fresh lemon rind, green peppercorns. Clean and quarter the onions and potatoes and placed inside the cavity of the boar. Completely wrap the meat in clean canvass cloth so the vapors are locked in as well as possible and the drippings will not escape. Drink the rest of the case of beer.

Slow smoke the primal cuts, turning or rotating as needed to insure even cooking. The time will vary greatly depending on the size and cut of meat you select. My friend and I did the ham. We found that if you are doing a whole boar, its best if you smoke it all day. However, quarters will usually cook in 5 - 6 hours. When we did ours, we dug an Indian-style chimney pit and placed the meat on a grate and covered it with 4 feet of dirt back-fill. When we returned the next day, the meat was perfectly tender and beautiful.

Just about any hardwood will do. Oak and hickory are some of the most popular and most commonly available. Mesquite and fruit-woods can add a sweetness to the meat, but don’t overdo it. Avoid evergreen trees because the high resin levels will give your meat an unpleasant taste like a bottle of PineSol toilet bowel cleaner!

My buddy says that if you are wanting to serve the meat in slices, you should cook it till you notice that the meat is about ready to fall of the bone and has become very tender. At that point you would unwrap the meat and brown and baste to firm up the meat.

If you're wanting the meat extremely tender and juicy then just cook it overnight like we did.

If you don’t want to dig a smoke pit, there are many different options on how to properly smoke meat. The basic issues to control when smoking meat are maintaining a low cooking temperature and maximizing moisture retention in the meat. Some people use the Reynolds Oven Cooking Bags instead of wrapping in canvass.

If you are trying to do low-temp cooking in lieu of smoking, we suggest a cooking temperature around 225°F. The goal is to slowly raise the internal temperature of the meat to 180°F and then hold it there for about 2 hours. “Slow and low” is the key to tenderness. I would guess that cooking time will be about 1.5 – 2 hours per pound of meat, but can vary based on thickness and whether or not it’s bone-in or bone-out.

Many recipes will tell you to pull the meat when it reaches an internal temperature of 190°F or even 200°F. That advice works because it takes about an hour for a modest size piece of meat to increase from 180°F to 190°F. I would not recommend going much higher than that for very long because you begin to lose moisture in the form of steam.

Lower cooking temperatures of 180°F - 200°F can be used to great success, but the cooking time will be much longer. Cooking at temperatures above 250°F is not recommended because the meat cooks too quickly causing increased moisture loss and does not allow ample time for the collagen to break down (it makes for dry, tough meat).

Don’t forget to baste periodically coating the meat with liquid to add moisture and flavor as it cooks. Just about any liquid will do as long as it is low in sugar. Sugar burns quickly so only add glazes and BBQ sauces during the last thirty or so minutes of cooking and only long enough from them to firm up.

My buddy Chad and I hope this gives you some ideas for Wild Boar!

- Tom Macon