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Fresh Meat: How to prepare that hog

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Fresh Meat

So you've ventured into the great outdoors in search of wild pork, had a great time, and managed to put one on the ground. What next? You could just pass your kill off to the local processor to take care of, or you could go hands on. Here at RECOIL, we like the DIY approach. Before leaving the ranch, we had our outfitter joint out the backstraps and haunches from the pigs we shot (Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet article, page 60, RECOIL issue 7) and packed the meat in a cooler for the trip home. Once back in the kitchen we set about creating some spectacular breakfast sausage.

Step 1: Spice It

This is your chance to make sausage just the way you like it, so think about how you want it to turn out. We like ours to have a bit of a kick to it, but you might want to adjust the heat level. Sage, thyme, garlic, and cumin all work well; just chop any fresh herbs finely and mix thoroughly.

Step 2: Bone It

Grab a sharp blade and remove as much meat from the legs as possible. You're not trying to carve the perfect roast here, so just run the blade along the bone and free up the large muscle groups. Cut the large pieces into smaller chunks to fit into the grinder. If you have more than a couple of legs to process, keep the meat cool by nesting a couple of bowls with ice water in between and toss the smaller chunks into the inner bowl as you work.

Step 3: Fatten It

Wild pigs are much leaner than their domestic counterparts, so to make sausage you need to add in about 25-percent fat. You can usually find beef fat in the meat counter at the local supermarket, or you might have to ask the butcher for it. Either way, cut it into 1-inch cubes and mix it into the meat, along with your spices.

Step 4: Grind It

We used a grinder attachment on our mixer, but a food processor works well also. Because we're making patties, we don't need to worry about stuffing sausage casings, but that's always an option for the overachievers among y'all.

Step 5: Form It

Take one-pound handfuls of ground meat and form it into logs on food wrap. Wrap it again and then freeze. When you're ready to kick the day off right, pull one of these packages out of the freezer, and form the sausage meat into patties. Throw them into a frying pan and serve with eggs and plenty of coffee. Congratulate yourself on preparing the finest breakfast ever.

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