Wild hog meat is often leaner than commercially-raised pork, so a slow cooker, often referred to by the brand name Crock-Pot, is an ideal cooking method to achieve a moist and tender roast. A wild hog roast generally has a layer of fat covering it, and it may or may not have a bone. Cook a wild hog roast much as you would a pork roast from the supermarket, but if the gamey aroma or taste bothers you, you can mask it by combining herbs, rubs or sauce ingredients in the slow cooker with the meat as it cooks. Also keep in mind that wild game should be cooked to a higher internal temperature than farm-raised meat.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp knife
- Large pan or dutch oven
- Herbs and seasonings of choice
- Acidic liquid of choice
- Fruit (optional)
- Vegetables (optional)
- Instant-read meat thermometer
Mix together pungent herbs such as bay leaves, sage, rosemary or thyme with salt and pepper to make a dry rub or to stir into an acidic liquid such as cider, wine, lemon or other citrus juice. Other simple, but flavorful combinations are cinnamon or cloves mixed with cider, or blend honey or maple syrup with tomato sauce and spices to make a tangy-sweet red sauce. A variety of commercially prepared dry rubs are available, such as Cajun blackening spices.
Trim excess fat from the roast with a sharp knife, leaving a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Preheat a large pan on the stove top to medium-high. If you use a dry rub, scatter the rub on a cutting board and roll the roast over it until the outside of the roast is covered with the seasonings. Brown the roast by placing it in the pan with the fat side down, turning it to brown all sides. Sear the meat well before turning it.
Wash baking apples and core and quarter them while the roast browns. All fruits will soften as they cook, but Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Jonathan are some firm apple varieties that tend to hold their shape. Substitute firm pears, such as Bartlett, for apples if you prefer. Place the browned roast in the bottom of the Crock-Pot and surround it with the fruit. Pour the seasoned liquid over everything, using enough to pool 1 to 2 inches deep in bottom of the Crock-Pot.
Slow cook on low or medium heat for at least 60 minutes per pound of meat. Don’t open the cooker or stir the contents, but let the roast and fruit simmer in the liquid until the meat is fork-tender. A typical 4- to 5-pound roast should slow-cook at least 6 hours, or until the internal temperature of the roast registers 170 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.
Tips & Warnings
- Substitute vegetables such as bell peppers, sweet onions, turnips, potatoes and carrots for fruit.
- Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices help disguise any gaminess while complementing the flavor of the meat.
- Wear food-safe latex gloves when handling raw wild hog meat, and wash your hands afterwards.
- Prevent swine brucellosis by cooking wild hog meat to 170 F.
- “Crockery Cookery”; Mable Hoffman; 1975
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- Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images