The Van Trump Report

Have You Ever Eaten “Wild Boar”… This Ranch Sells The Meat!

Wild boar, wild pigs, feral hogs, razorbacks – call them what you will, these invasive pigs are a $2.5 billion problem for US crops, livestock, and forests. An estimated 6 million wild boar have made themselves at home in at least 35 states now. The beasts can grow to more than 200 pounds and come with razor-sharp tusks they use to root up every bit of ground they come across.  

The USDA and state wildlife departments have been battling wild pigs for decades, with little success. Many states with wild boar problems now allow hunting – some even with no bag limits or official season. In Texas, where the boar population is estimated to be well over 2 million, chefs, hunters, and professional trappers have teamed up to turn this destructive animal into delicious meals.

Broken Arrow Ranch, an “artisinal purveyor of high quality, free-range venison, antelope, and wild boar meat from truly wild animals,” is a Texas outfit that works with trappers. The company accepts hogs anywhere from 40 to 200 pounds, though they say the sweet spot is between 80 and 180. According to Chris Hughes, the second-generation owner of Broken Arrow Ranch, as the hogs get larger, they are continually producing hormones that taint the meat.

Broken Arrow takes the hogs they receive straight to approved USDA slaughterhouses for processing and packaging, which they sell online. The company also field-harvests wild deer and antelope from mobile meat processing units that are sent to nearly 40 ranches every year. When the harvest is complete, farmers are paid for every pound of meat collected.

Unfortunately, Broken Arrow can’t field harvest wild boar. That’s because the animals are considered “pork” meat rather than “exotic” meat like venison or bison. Instead, wild pigs must be slaughtered at a federally inspected processing plant and the meat is subject to mandatory federal inspection under the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), whether the pigs were raised on a farm or caught in the wild. There are only 15 USDA approved sights in the country for processing wild boar.

Broken Arrow Ranch started off offering non-native deer that were outcompeting the native white-tailed deer for resources in 1983. But a few years later when founder Mike Hughes heard about Texas’s wild hog problem, it became the first meat purveyor in in the US to get a USDA label approved for “wild boar”. It now sells 1,500 to 1,700 hogs a year. Broken Arrow’s wild boar has also been featured on restaurant menus across the US as chefs begin to take notice of its growing availability and experiment with the product.
According to wild boar eaters, the meat has a “nutty/bacon” flavor that sets it apart from everyday domesticated pork. If harvested before exceeding the 200 pound level, the meat is generally not gamey tasting and is often described as a cross between pork and beef. The meat also tends to be darker and leaner than domestic pork, giving it a tender and juicy texture. Wild boar needs to be cooked at lower temperatures than more fatty meats. Ideally, low and slow is the best way to prevent it from drying out.

If you’d like to give it a try, check out Broken Arrow Ranch HERE. Other specialty meat purveyors that deliver wild boar include D’Artagnan and Fossil Farms, both in Texas. Wyoming-based Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co. also sells wild boar HERE.

smoked wild boar meat on the wooden board

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