Wild boar. Feral pigs. Wild hogs. Feral swine. Call it what you want (since the terms are oftentimes used interchangeably) but the truth remains the same: Texas has lots of them. It is a good thing that people make, buy, and eat wild boar meat, and wild boar ham is in demand.
If this is the first time you are hearing of it, then yes, there is a kind of ham made from the meat of wild boar. How does it compare to pork ham? Well, many people believe wild boar ham tastes better because it is leaner compared to pork. Other people have reservations about eating wild boar meat. To be sure, buy from meat vendors or manufacturers licensed to operate and produce wild boar ham for commercial sales. They are required to follow health and safety standards during production so that you can enjoy wild boar ham assured that what’s on your plate is perfectly safe to eat.
Wild Boar Ham Trivia
- Call it HAM-azing! At 82.95 kilograms or 182.87 pounds, the ham of Fratelli Beretta is considered the largest cooked ham in history.
- Ham comes from pork – pig meat. Explorer Hernando de Soto brought 13 pigs in the US in 1539, in Florida specifically. The number of pigs grew, populating the country. It is the reason why pork is a major red meat in the US.
- Salted pork is a staple food among colonial farmers during the 17th century.
- Ham is one of the most consumed meat products in the world.
- The origin of ham is not known; some claim it was China who made ham, while others believe it was from Gaul.
- The true wild boars have gone extinct in what is now Great Britain even before the development of modern English.
Wild Boar Ham Buying Guide
Where to buy wild boar ham? Your first stop should be the supermarket or grocery. If it is not available there, look for specialty stores, butcher shops, or delicatessen selling exotic meats. Your last option is ordering online. Ordering online is convenient, but buying from the store is still better because you can inspect the product before you pay for it.
If this is your first time eating wild boar meat, buy wild boar ham in small quantities. While wild boar meat, in general, tastes better than regular pork, there is still a chance you may not like it, and should this happen, it is a good thing you didn’t buy a lot.
If this is your first time buying wild boar ham and you don’t know which brand to buy, ask friends for recommendations or read online reviews. Or simply read the packaging and choose the healthiest option from the items available. Read the details in the packaging and compare details like sodium content to help you decide which is a better choice for you.
Check the expiration date or best-before date. If you are planning to cook it later or stock up, make sure to buy wild boar ham with an expiration or best before date suitable to the date you are planning to cook it.
Check the packaging for signs of tampering or product safety issues. The safety and quality of the product may have been compromised during transport and handling. In any case, do not buy frozen wild boar ham with damaged packaging. Report this to the store attendant so that it is checked, and if necessary, removed from the freezer to avoid having customers less attentive to details buy it.
Wild Boar Ham Production & Farming in Texas
There is a big population of wild boars in Texas, which is why the production of wild boar meat and wild boar ham is a big industry in Texas, a state that supplies not just Texas-based stores but also other businesses located outside of Texas, like Marx Food in Seattle, Washington (their wild boar meat comes from wild boars trapped in Texas Hill Country) and Butcher & The Boar which is located in South Carolina. It serves the Butcher’s Platter which is good for 2 to 6 people and the food consists of Texas wild boar ham, turkey braunschweiger, wild boar head cheese, artisanal cheeses, and crackers.
If you are dining out, there are restaurants in Texas that serve wild boar ham. Dai Due has Baking and Glazing a Wild Boar Ham on the menu.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Preservatives such as sodium nitrite (E-250) and sodium nitrate (E-252) are used in dry-curing ham. Nitrates and nitrites protect consumers from botulism. It is also used to make the meat appear redder, as well as to improve the aroma of the ham. However, the danger posed by these inorganic compounds found in ham is the potential to cause cancer.
Other additives include the antioxidant sodium ascorbate (E-301), which is used to reduce the adverse effects produced by preservatives, and the acidulants trisodium citrate (E-331-iii), which is used to regulate the meat’s pH (acidity) and reinforce the role of antioxidants.
Wild boar ham is made and sold in the United States, particularly in states like Texas where there is a big population of wild boars. In some states, meat vendors and restaurants also sell wild boar hams, from Texas or other sources in the US or even abroad. Some Asian countries like Japan also have wild boar ham. Many European countries make wild boar hams. Some people there hunt and make their own, which they call wild hog country ham.
It is difficult – if not impossible – to find wild boar hams sold in Muslim countries since they are forbidden to eat pork.
Wild boar ham from the deli is usually wrapped in butcher paper packaging or sold wrapped in a stockinette. A tray is used for sliced wild boar ham sold in smaller quantities, covered with sealed plastic wrap. Wild boar ham sold in the frozen section of the supermarket or grocery is sold in a sealed plastic pack that is compatible with a thermoforming machine for a modified atmosphere or vacuum options during packing.
The label is important in the packaging of the wild boar ham. For one, it indicates the ingredients found in the product – some contain only cured ham, while others are sold with brine, water, or natural juices in them. The label also informs the consumers what preservatives or additives are present in the food.
Enjoying Wild Boar Hams
Eating wild boar ham is no different from eating pork ham. And because wild boar meat is lean and low in cholesterol compared to domesticated pork meat, wild boar ham is the better choice over pork ham.
You can call the taste of wild boar ham “nutty” probably as a result of the animal’s diet.
You can use wild boar ham in any dish where you would normally use pork ham. You can slice wild boar ham into smaller, thinner slices and use it as filling for sandwiches (for your next ham and cheese sandwich, perhaps?) You can also try using wild boar ham as a pizza topping or have it during breakfast of ham and eggs.
Christmas ham is a traditional Christmas food served during Christmas eve dinner and if you are adventurous or daring enough, you can put a new twist to a classic tradition by serving wild boar ham instead.
Because of the carcinogenic nature of ham preservatives used in curing, eating hams in excess can cause cancer.
Make sure that the temperature where your wild boar ham is stored is not in the 40°F and 140°F range because this is the temperature where bacteria grow quickly. You can store fresh wild boar ham and cured wild boar ham in the refrigerator. How long it will keep depends on what type of ham it is, and how fresh the wild boar ham was when you bought it, as well as other factors. Leftover wild boar ham should be refrigerated immediately. Wrap it in butcher paper. If you are not cooking your wild boar ham in the next four days, it is best to put it in the freezer.
Make your own grilled wild boar ham and cheese
A ham and cheese sandwich is a timeless classic. Easy to prepare and cook, and easy to enjoy. You can wrap it and bring it to school and office for lunch, or have it at home for breakfast, snack, or even for dinner since this is very filling. A fully-loaded ham and cheese with all the trimmings is very nutritious. It goes well with hot beverages like coffee or tea, or cold drinks like soda or juice.
This recipe yields 1 serving
- 2 slices of wild boar ham
- 2 slices Swiss cheese
- 2 slices of whole grain bread
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon mustard
*note: optional: you can add more, like greens (i.e. spinach, lettuce), tomato slices, jalapeños, and salsa.
Step 1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.
Step 2. Place one slice, butter-side down in a hot skillet.
Step 3. Top each slice of bread with Swiss cheese and ham.
Step 4. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on the unbuttered side of the second slice of bread.
Step 5. Place the slices of bread butter-side up on top of the sandwich.
Step 6. Cook until the bread turns golden brown and the cheese is melted. This will usually take 3 minutes per side.