When it comes to choosing a protein for your main dish, wild boar is often overlooked.
In my opinion, this is a shame, as it is one of the most complex proteins I have ever tried, and I have tried many.
Wild boar tastes of a deep earthy flavor, sometimes with nutty tones.
Does Wild Boar Taste Good?
As you may have gathered from the intro, I am a big proponent of wild boar meat and am disappointed to see so many people pass it over.
I do, however, understand the intimidation of cooking wild boar, but many simple dishes can also be made from it.
One of the fascinating things about wild boar is its versatility. This meat can be stewed, grilled, fried, smoked, braised, or most any other method of cooking proteins you can think of.
To get to the answer of taste, wild boar tastes excellent. However, many people fail to handle the meat correctly and thus are left with a not-so-good-tasting dish.
From this comes rumors that wild boar does not taste good.
But properly handled and cooked wild boar will pleasantly surprise you. Keep in mind that proper handling starts from when the animal was harvested.
One interesting thing about wild boar is that it always keeps its natural flavor profile. Many proteins will readily adopt the flavor of the surrounding ingredients.
However, wild boar will always hold hints of its own distinct taste no matter how you cook it.
Factors That Influence Wild Boar Taste
Though wild boar has a distinct taste that it always keeps, there are nuances between each animal depending on many different factors.
One of the biggest contributors to the taste of wild boar is age. This is also under the category of size.
Bigger and older wild boars tend to have a more intense flavor which can be overpowering for many.
Some may even go as far as calling it “gamey” although this term is used fast and loose for many people who don’t understand wild game.
The bigger issue with older boars is the texture. As a boar ages the meat becomes tougher. This leaves fewer cooking options, and mostly for forms of stewing.
If you have a choice of boars, I suggest choosing younger or smaller boars.
The best size of boar for eating is 50-125lbs. Anything after this starts to get a bit tougher.
However, larger boars shouldn’t be written off, as they still work well for sausages, pulled, stews, etc.
Often we hear the term “You are what you eat.” Well, this is true for most animals.
A boar that feeds on acorns comes with that nutty flavor we hear so much about. Other boars feeding on tubular roots, and mushrooms develop an earthy flavor.
What you want to avoid, if possible, is wild boars that feed on carrion. Similar to bears that feed on decaying fish, they will adapt the flavor.
The good news is that for most animals, much of this flavor is stored in the fat, and unlike with bears, this is typically cut away from wild boars.
As I mentioned briefly above, wild boar is an extremely versatile protein, especially smaller ones.
The rich flavor profile goes well with so many ingredients, and the only limits are usually your imagination.
Some of my favorites are pulled wild boar, wild boar ragu, steak, and wild boar pie.
You will notice that most of these dishes have deep flavor profiles; however, wild boar can also be cooked more subtly.
For this, you need the more premium cuts such as the tenderloin and backstrap.
The manner of cooking does influence the taste to a certain degree, but as I mentioned earlier, wild boar does have its own classic taste that is easy to spot in any dish, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Does Wild Boar Taste Like Pork?
This is a common question and a fair one, given that both animals are from the same family.
However, wild boar does not taste anything like pork. In my opinion, pork doesn’t have near the depth or complexity of wild boar and is a simple protein compared to wild boar.
Depending on how each meat is cooked, sometimes you may get an almost sense of similar texture, but if the boar is cooked properly, it is typically more tender than pork.
Wild Boar Taste Compared to Other Animals
To give you a complete idea of the taste of wild boar, it’s best to compare it with other more popular proteins.
Often when people don’t know how to describe a protein, they say it tastes similar to chicken.
This is because chicken has an adaptable flavor profile, meaning that it absorbs the flavor of the ingredients around it very well.
As I mentioned above, wild boar is almost the opposite of this. To infuse it with other flavors, it usually has to be marinated for up to 24 hours.
Wild boar always holds its own flavor, which is much stronger and richer than chicken.
Chicken would be considered bland compared to wild boar.
Beef is a lot closer to wild boar than chicken and shares many similar cooking techniques.
However, beef also lacks the deep-rooted flavor of boar.
Perhaps the most similar protein to wild boar is venison. They are visually similar, and the flavor profile is also rich.
The similarities lie in the fact that these animals live similar lives. They often eat the same foods, are both wild, and are extremely active.
However, boar is a little fattier than venison and has a slightly sweeter taste.
Often an overlooked protein, wild boar tastes of natural, earthy flavors with nutty notes.
The flavor profile is rich and lends itself well to a wide array of dishes, particularly stews and sauce dishes.
Rusty enjoys connecting food and nature and has done so since a child. He was fortunate enough to explore cuisine worldwide and work at great European restaurants. He now enjoys thinking up new recipes that he can find around him in nature in North America.