Wild boar are a hazard in the countryside. Their numbers are growing and with that has come damage to crops and the countryside in general. Boar are mainly localised around woodland with one area around The Forest of Dean and Ross on Wye in Shropshire being a cause for concern.
But, as with deer, the problem for the countryside is a bonus for the chef. Wild boar meat is organic, free range, natural and wild. The diet the boar eat is also natural. The meat is much leaner, darker and sweeter than pork and lends itself to slow cooking. Boar carcasses are similar to pigs.
Adding a wild boar dish, or two, to your menu is a smart idea because of the quality of the meat. Not only does wild boar make a beautiful stew – ask the Italians about a ragu of wild boar that is the ideal partner for a wide noodle like pappardelle – but there are also steak cuts as well from the loin and the rump. The shoulder is great for braising.
Like venison, wild boar meat changes through the season. When it is younger it is a pale colour like rose veal and towards the end, as the boar ages, it gets darker and richer. This gives chefs the opportunity to work with different flavours and different textures.
However, above all, wild boar is an opportunity to cook and serve a meat of superlative quality that is completely natural and by ordering it you are doing the countryside a favour because it needs to be controlled.
You can learn more about wild boar in the film where Tim Hanks of Hanks’ Meat & Game discusses the issues surrounding wild boar around Shropshire.