Wild boar

Other Names:Cerdo or verraco (Spanish), cinghiale (Italian), Keiler (German), marcassin (French, young wild boar), sanglier (French, older wild boar).

General Description:The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the ancestor of the domestic pig and was brought to North America by Spanish explorers. Wild boars have been found from Europe to Central Asia and from the Baltic to North Africa since ancient times and were domesticated in northern Europe by about 1500 b.c. Often reaching 300 pounds with tusks up to 12 inches long, boars have a fierce disposition, a long mobile snout, a heavy, relatively short-legged body, a thick bristly hide, and a small tail.
In medieval times wild boar was often the main attraction of the Christmas feast; special songs about boar accompanied the meal. Wild boar meat is lean and exceptionally flavorful. Wild boar prosciutto and salami are much appreciated in Italy. Free-range wild boars forage on wild greens, acorns, and roots, and are lean with a mild, sweet, slightly nutty taste.

Characteristics:The lean meat of boar can range in flavor from mild and delicate to gamy, depending on variety, season, diet, and age. The most tender cuts come from the loin. Boar may be prepared using pork or venison recipes, but it must always be cooked well-done.

How to Choose:Younger animals, less than 1 year of age, are preferred for their tenderness. Boar may be purchased from specialty purveyors in many of the same cuts as domestic pig, including smoked bacon and sausage.

Amount to Buy:A 2 1/4-pound cut of boneless wild boar will serve four.

Storage:Store vacuum-packed fresh wild boar for 3 to 4 days refrigerated.


  1. Trim the meat of nerves, gristle, and fat, and cut into medium-sized chunks.
  2. Marinate overnight in a mixture of red wine, thyme, bay leaves, or other desired flavors.
  3. Drain the meat and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Brown in oil, remove from the pan, and brown aromatic vegetables (such as onions and carrots) in the same pan.
  4. Pour in red wine to partially cover the meat along with chopped resinous herbs (such as rosemary, sage, or thyme) and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Half-cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Flavor Affinities:Apples, bitter chocolate, brandy, chestnuts, cloves, grappa, juniper berries, prunes, red wine vinegar, rosemary, sage, savory, sugar, thyme.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com