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Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 06:43
In December I bought a couple piglets down near King City, CA, a couple hours south of me. It's pretty rough country where 4 wheel drive is not a bad idea in Winter if you're planning on going uphill. Lots of wild boar down there. The lady selling them, at $100 each, mentioned that she had some larger pigs for $50 each if I was interested. They were uncut males. So I got my piglets, went home, and did some research. The concern is "boar taint," a foul urine-like odor that develops during cooking and makes the meat inedible, though not dangerous. I learned that a) if you have meat with boar taint, you can still make uncooked products with it, b) it is much more common in Durocs than other breeds (I was looking at Berkshire/Old Spots crosses, and c) it generally develops only after puberty. So I thought I'd take my chances. I went back with a trailer to get a couple, and was surprised to see two market size hogs waiting for me - about 250 lbs. each. Took them straight to the processor where I paid $60 each to have them done up (the guys there thought I was a little crazy), and brought them home in 6 primals each to butcher. And they taste great! Feel like I really got away with something - 360 lbs of meat for $220, not counting those parts that resulted in the discount...open to suggestions! So far I haven't done very much - bacon, smoked hocks, breakfast sausage, csabai. I've got some trim thawing now and am leaning toward a nice mortadella, kabanosy, maybe some fuet. Will report back!
She's still selling uncut males for $50. Wish I had room for more.
Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 14:00
Here's a site that is all about hunting wild swine- .texasboars.com/phpBB2/. It's free to join and they have a section on cooking. You may want to join and post any questions there.
Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 15:54
Hi Nuynai - thanks for the site! But I guess my post is confusing because I mentioned wild boars. The pigs I bought were domestic crosses between Berkshire and Old Spots. So I got boar meat, but not wild boar meat. I have eaten wild boar meat a few times because I used to shoot them now and then. They were plentiful near where I lived, and would dig up the garden. But nobody in my family cared to eat them so I gave that up!
Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 17:32
Well Jeff you lucked in. Boar taint is common in non castrated males but not always a given. Apparently pastured pigs are less likely to have it than those raised indoors and it also depends on the breed. The substances that cause boar taint are accumulated in the fat and will smell horribly when heated. I still remember the time many years ago when my mother fried some pork chops and the house ended up stinking like the men's room at the Hofbrauhaus. The good thing is that if have a level of boar taint and you don't cook it, you can make dry cured products like salami and prosciutto without any issues. In fact I read somewhere recently where some guy claimed that the prosciutto from such boars is actually better tasting.
You definately got yourself a deal and if I lived closer I would grab one those boars in a heartmeat!
Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 19:19
I did get lucky. There is no way to know ahead of time. A neighbor of mine helped his friend slaughter a huge, 3-year-old boar, and said the meat was fine, and that this guy has been eating big old boars all his life. But I still see it as a risk, and I would have a hard time using that much meat just for uncooked products if I got unlucky.
Turns out that one of the piglets I bought was an uncut male. I was not savvy enough to notice. So I am going to have to get lucky again.
Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 22:48
You can take this with a grain of salt but its been my experience raising pigs the the boars will only taint periodically. This is just my observation. It seems when there are pigs cycling they go into "rut" like a deer and when they get this way the taint will be noticeable just by standing near the boar. You can even rub your hand on them and this smell will coat your hand but at other times there is no smell whatsoever. I think this is why its easier to find nontainted boar meat in penned animals as compared to finding them in the wild.
I don't know if this is related to testosterone levels but it was pretty clear to me that when all the pigs are bred this smell goes away and the meat is fine with no taint whatsoever but if you can smell it before killing its best to wait before you butcher him and see if the smell doesn't just go away.
Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 15:43
Butterbean thank you. I had never heard that they can go in and out of taint. These two are very friendly sorts so I can rub my hand on the male and see how he smells. My thought is to process the gal first and wait a week or two before slaughtering the boar. Also I have read that taint doesn't occur prior to sexual maturity but I don't know how to recognize when that happens.
Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 15:51
FYI, from what I've read on TXBoars, some guys will never kill a adult male for the reasons mentioned but others say the best meat they have had from feral swine is from big, old boars. Wish I could speak from experience but they're not in NY yet.
Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 01:22
Here are some we killed one morning. Some were boars that had no noticeable taint to them at all. The one's with taint could easily be smelled when we approached the carcass and were left where they lay for buzzard feed. As we started cleaning them one had a faint taint but one of more experienced guys said it would be alright and we cleaned it and it turned out fine.
One thing I know for sure, if you stick a knife in one and you get that strong taint you might as well toss it because that smell isn't going anywhere.
Out of curiosity I called a big pig hunter I know and asked him his thoughts. He, like me, seemed to think it has something to do with a deer like rut when open pigs are around but he's about as dumb as me so I turned to google and did some digging and though we are partially right in our observation its more complicated but interesting so here is what I found. It might be more than you want to know but its interesting nonetheless.
Apparently there are two chemicals that cause this taint and one of these chemicals - Skatole = can be found in both pigs and boars but the presence of this taint would be controlled by diet and its rare to find it in field raised pigs.
The other source of taint comes from a chemical called androstenone BUT they say only 20% of boars will have this taint. Here is a quote from the link I attached. It looks like I'm partially right in my observation but its more complicated and controlled by more factors than I thought.
The presence of sexually receptive females stimulates a rapid rise in
plasma androstenone and testosterone concentrations in boars.59
Boars mixed with gilts during rearing may have elevated concentrations
of fat androstenone.55,60 At 80 kg (176 lb) of live weight, androstenone
content in backfat is not affected by the social conditions during
rearing. Between 80 and 95 kg (176 and 209 lb), the proportion of
boars with an increase in androstenone content is greater in boars
reared with females.55 Mixed-sex rearing in some instances also increases
the intensity of odor in boar fat.61 Therefore, split-sex rearing
should be practiced if pigs are intended for slaughter at heavier market
Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 07:32
Thanks for the additional info. Since I like my pigs fat anyway, I'm going to play it safe and give this guy a good month of living alone. Hope I'm lucky!