I just got back from hunting California's Wild Boar in the hills of Northern California. It was a successful hunt. I managed to fill the freezer with 200 lbs of wild boar meat which will sustain my family at least until next winter. So the question pending for me was what was I going to do with all the meat I had just procured? Sausage? Ground pork? Chops? Ribs? Bacon?? Yes, yes and yes!
While I was sure that I could make all those normal cuts of pork and it would be fairly easy, Bacon seemed to offer me a bit more of a challenge. I'd made Bacon only once before with my brother in law out of pork belly from a pig raised on a farm. It turned out horribly. Acrid and vinegary flavor made it very unpalatable to the taste buds. I never made Bacon again. Until just a week ago.
I decided to give it a go one more time. I started with a basic brine, 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water, and then added the flavors that I wanted the bacon to have; garlic, pepper, onion, Worcestershire, and brown sugar. I was hopeful that this would work, yet hesitant because I didn't want to waste the wild pork belly that I had worked so hard to get. It turned out amazing! I brined the belly for 2 days, then rinsed the meat off and hung it in a clean area to dry under a fan for 1 hour. After that I cold smoked the bacon for 2 hours using apple wood chips and not letting the temp get above 100 degrees. After smoking the bacon I vacuum sealed the meat, froze it and sliced it very thinly on a meat slicer. I am not sure that I can go back to eating store bought bacon again, it's that good! I am posting the full recipe below:
Wild Boar Bacon
2 good sized wild boar bellies
2 gallons of water
2 cups sea salt
1/4 cup curing salt (pink salt)
1/4 cup whole peppercorns
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown sugar
Mix brine ingredients and soak pork belly for 2 days then take the belly out and rinse under cool water.
Hang meat in clean area and dry with a fan for 1 hours until pelicle forms
Cold smoke for two hours using apple wood chips.
Freeze, slice thinly and enjoy!
For a really great experience try making some home-made caramel candies and top each caramel with a bit of this Wild Boar Bacon. I like to call them Wild Lardon'amels! Genius!