Wild boar is a princely meat when that boar is young or it was a sow; old boars can get funky and are much more challenging to cook. As omnivores, whatever the wild pigs were eating before you came along and shot one will determine how they taste, and, in some cases, what you can do with them.
A pig shot in a California summer will have been eating a lot of juniper and other strong-flavored forbs, and so the meat will be fascinating but strong. That same pig taken in spring after eating much of a farmer’s green barley sprouts will surpass any domestic pig, no matter how well raised. As with most things, timing and location are critical.
Bears are even more variable. A black bear that had been eating berries — or in the case of one group of Southern California bears, avocados! — will be wonderful eating. But that same bear could taste like low tide on a hot day if it had been eating dead salmon by a stream. You will get some idea of the quality of the meat when you field dress it. Just pay attention to your nose.
Both animals lend themselves to curing, but both, unfortunately, can be carriers of trichinae parasites that cause trichinosis. This does not apply if you are making regular sausage, as these will be cooked before you eat them. Read this article on trichinosis in wild game for all the details you need to know.
Homemade Sausage Recipes
Recipes for fresh sausages with all sorts of meats, including wild boar and bear.
Pounded boar or bear loin breaded, fried in butter and served with lemon. Simple and good.
Another pounded cutlet — of any meat, really — served with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Japanese Ginger Pork
A simple Japanese pork loin recipe, served with mushrooms, ginger and soy sauce.
Pork Stir-Fry with Asparagus
A very easy, very simple and lovely dinner done with the loin of wild pig (or really anything) and asparagus (or really any seasonal vegetable).
Green Garlic and Pink Pork
Wild Boar tenderloin with roasted asparagus and a green garlic sauce.
Stews and Braises
Ajiaco, a Javelina Stew
A Yucatecan stew with all sorts of tropical flavors. Works great with any meat, really.
Another Yucatecan classic, this one may be the best thing you can make with a javelina or pork shoulder.
Venison Ossobuco Milanese
Shanks from a bear slow braised in the classic Italian method. You can make osso buco with large boar shanks, elk shanks or moose shanks, too.
Chinese Red Pork
Chinese barbecued wild boar belly. It is made of awesome. And yes, this works with bear and domestic pork, too.
A Mexican classic, the “colorado” refers to the color of the stew, not the state.
Possibly the national dish of Mexico, this stew predates Columbus. Great with pork, chicken, bear or whatever you have lying around.
Pork Chile Verde
Another Mexican classic, only this time the boar is braised in roasted green chiles and tomatillos.
Chilaca Pork Stew
This is a homey, easy dish from Michoacan, in Mexico. Pork, tomatoes, green chiles. What’s not to love?
Cheek by Jowl
Braised wild boar cheek with crispy jowl bacon.
This is the original feijoada, a thick pork and beans stew, made famous in Brazil. This version is more European.
Grilled Boar Heart with Peppers and Onions
Boar heart cut into cutlets, grilled over a hot fire and served with grilled peppers and onions.
Wild Boar Liver Creme Caramel
Yep. I went there. And it is really, really good!
Russian Bear Pelmeni
Russian dumplings, a little like big tortellini, served with onions and sour cream.
Sardinian Gnocchi with Wild Boar
A traditional Sardinian recipe of simple, handmade pasta with a rustic meat sauce.
Authentic Bolognese Sauce
An authentic Italian Bolognese sauce for pasta, made with wild boar or bear meat.
Wild Hog BBQ
Classic pulled pork barbecue made with a wild hog or bear shoulder.
Konigsberger Klopse, German Meatballs
German wild boar (or bear) meatballs. This is a very traditional dish in Eastern Germany.
French Pork Crepinette
This is a French style meatball wrapped in caul fat, which you can get out of a wild pig — or buy in a butcher shop.
Bear Fat Buttermilk Biscuits
Yep, you can make some really awesome biscuits using rendered bear fat instead of butter. Works with lard and duck fat, too.
Sichuan Twice-Cooked Pork
Classically done with pork belly or shoulder, this works well with a fat wild pig or bear.
Chinese Char Siu Pork or Wild Boar
Chinese style char siu pork, done with wild boar belly. You could use domesticated pork or bear for this, too.