Dense and slightly musky, with a savory, earthy flavor that hints of the forest, wild boar is a well respected addition to my dinner plate.

wild boarMost of the wild boar sold in the United States is actually not ‘wild’, rather it is a hybrid of wild boar and feral pig that is domesticated and raised in much the same way cattle or bison are. Genuine, roaming around the forest, wild boar is a special treat worthy of a place of honor on the dinner table. As a game meat it has a distinct flavor that is a reflection of its wild habitat.

According to historians, wild boar is not really native to the U.S. region and have had a relatively new and intermittent history on the landscape. They were first apparently introduced to the wilderness in the 1500’s in the New England regions, then hunted to extinction. A new group was then introduced accidentally when a few escaped from a farm and began populating the surrounding wilds. This occurred several more times until ultimately over time small pockets of wild boar are now pretty much across the U.S. In some states they are even considered an “invasive species” and are, sadly, treated as such. However, with the increase in consumer demand, wild boar is making a comeback and are becoming better tolerated in the surrounding wilds of many communities. If not least of all because they represent a commodity. Quite personally, I feel that eating wild game meats is far more humane and in many cases healthier, than consuming domesticated conventionally farmed animals. I especially feel a deep and abiding respect for the wild boar, marveling at their stature and tenacity.

wild boar raguFrom a culinary perspective, wild boar is denser with an earthier almost musky flavor compared to domesticated pork. It tolerates stronger combinations of herbs and spices and makes a hearty cool weather meal. When preparing wild boar I like to think of the wilderness that it comes from and pair my cooking herbs and flavors with what might have been in the similar environment. That being said, my absolute favorite wild boar dish of all time is Pappardelle al Ragu Di Cinghiale, otherwise known as wild boar ragu with pappardelle.

From a health perspective, wild boar, like most game meats, has a higher nutrient density than its conventional counterparts. It is a higher quality, relatively lean protein, rich with essential fatty acids and vitamins and minerals.