Friday, February 20, 2009

Wild boar bellies

Every time I go into Savenor's, I walk past the first case in the meat section that has things like wagyu beef, venison, antelope, wild boar, and sometime even bear. That's all I do, though. I look at it, think how cool it is that I can get this stuff right next door, and then I buy something boring like chicken. Well, the other day, I walked past that case and saw this stuff staring back up at me. WLD BOAR BELLIES. This stuff is so wild it can't even be bothered to include vowels in its self-modifying adjective. Abby asked the butchers if this stuff was any good, and they said of course. For one, "its pig" (agreed...can't go wrong there). Secondly, "it has tusks." I'm not sure how this relates to flavor, but I liked the explanation.

I don't know the first thing about cooking boar bellies, so I tried this recipe. I was intrigued by the cure mix that uses just about every spice in my pantry.
While the cure is nice, the verdict is that it isn't the best thing for boar. Boars spend their life running around in the brush, not getting fat on some pig farm, so the boar bellies are quite a bit thinner than those of their domestic porcine counterparts. As a result, the ratios are just all wrong, and the cure totally overpowers everything else. The boar has quite a bit of flavor on its own, so next time I'll use the same cooking method but just stick to a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning.

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