First Wild Hog

Background Story: I have a friend whose family owns acreage in Central Florida. One of the things they do with this land is allow hunters to rent the hunt camp during the different hunting seasons. This past week he had three hunters from the Midwest US who came to hunt Osceola Turkeys. The first day two of the three men were able to get their turkeys and so later that day one asked my friend if he could try to get a wild boar. A few hours later Gary came back to the camp with his hog.

Gary Wilcox, Jr. and hog
Gary Wilcox, Jr. and hog
Skinned and ready to process
Ready to process

The hog weighed in close to 150 pounds and was dropped within 10 feet of where it was shot. Not long after the hunt I received a call from my friend asking me if I would like some of the boar meat. I thought about it with a bit of reluctance. I have only tasted wild boar once and it wasn’t a good experience. (Admittedly by one of the cooks, it wasn’t done correctly and thus wasn’t a good reference.) So, after a pause I told my friend I would take some of the meat. The next afternoon there was a knock at my door and my friend stood there with one half of a wild hog in a large bag. He handed me a shoulder, a rack of ribs, a loin and a ham. My friend then asked me if I would smoke some of it the next day and bring it to the hunt camp for them to enjoy. Again, with a bit of trepidation, I agreed.

The Cooking Section:

That night I prepped the ribs and the loin. The ribs received a ample amount of Emeril’s Rib Rub  and were placed in a large zip lock bag and refrigerated over night.  The loin received a good coating of BBQ Brothers  Kansas City rub and then tied it into a roast. Once the meat was tied I injected the loin with an Organic Apple Juice and then placed it in a large zip lock bag and refrigerated over night.  (If your curious as to why I don’t make my own rubs click here.)

Wild Hog Ribs after the rub
Wild Hog Ribs after the rub
Wild Hog Tender Loin after the rub
Wild Hog Tender Loin after the rub

The next morning I decided to use my 18 1/2 ” Weber SMS to smoke both the loin and the ribs.  I filled the water bowl to within two inches of the top because I really wanted the temperature to stay between 225 and 235. I placed the loin on the bottom tray and inserted my meat thermometer into the thickest part of the loin. The ribs were cut into three sections and placed in a rib rack.

Uncooked ribs in a Weber rib rack
Uncooked ribs in a Weber rib rack

From this point it was all “All About The Smoke”.  The temperature stayed where I wanted and the apple wood brought a steady stream of grey/white smoke from the top vent. At the 3 1/2 hour mark I wrapped all the ribs and the loin in heavy duty aluminum foil and placed then back in the smoker for another hour until the loin reached a internal temperature of 165 degrees.

The Rest of the Story: I think the most difficult part of this project was the 18 mile drive to the camp with my SUV being filled with the aroma of these meats.

I arrived at the hunt camp around 4:45 and by 5:15 the three hunters returned to camp. They quickly thanked me for smoking the meat and asked where it was as they were “Sort of hungry.” I unwrapped the tender loin and cut a couple of pieces for them to try. The expression on their faces told me it was a success. That is until they tried the ribs.  Once the ribs hit their taste buds, the expression went from “pretty good meat” to “holy cow!” (or in this case pig.)

Wild Hog Tender Loin 4.5 hours later
Wild Hog Loin 4.5 hours later
Wild Hog Ribs 4.5 hours later
Wild Hog Ribs 4.5 hours later

One of the hunters told me they were the best tasting ribs he’s ever had.  A compliment I never expect and still regard with highest gratitude.

 

 

 

Epilogue:  This project really fit into what I am trying to express when I say “Smoking is an Art.” This project took me out of my comfort zone which was based on one bad experience I had with wild hog meat. This project presented me with something I’ve never done before, smoking freshly killed meat. It also had the added pressure of being judged by men who have eaten game their whole lives. (Two of the men are from Montana.) So I can say I am very thankful to my friend (Thanks James) for giving me the opportunity to try something new. I am also very thankful for the many years of practice I’ve had on my Weber SMS. Most of all I am thankful that it turned out so well.

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