I HEART BACON
Thursday, March 9th, 2006

2006 Independent Food Festival Award – Best Result of Pigs Gone Wild

The second annual Independent Food Festival is here, and I have been asked to give an award. I know it’s predictable, but something in the world would be amiss if I didn’t give my award to bacon. Not that I’m giving this award out randomly; this bacon truly deserves an award—or maybe even several. So I present to you the 2006 Independent Food Award – Best Result of Pigs Gone Wild: Wild Boar Bacon.

I discovered wild boar bacon about a year ago and ever since have made it my mission to introduce it to as many people as possible. I’m like a drug dealer except what I’m pushing is legal and much better than crack (so I’m told).

In researching my award, I was shocked to find out that there are an estimated two million wild boar (a.k.a. feral hogs) roaming wild and free in the state of Texas. So many that they are deemed pests—albeit 200 pound pests with razor sharp tusks and a nasty fighting technique called disembowelment. Wild boar are also 90% vegetarian (i.e. they create significant crop damage) and have no natural predators, so hunting season for wild boar is open year-round with no limits, and can be hunted by any means possible, at any time of day.

For this particular bacon, the meat comes from Southern Wild Game, Inc out of Devine, Texas where freelance trappers can exchange their hogs for cash. The wild boar are then sold to Sierra Meats in Reno, Nevada, which then sends the bellies to Dale’s Exotic Game Meats in Brighton, Colorado for smoking. The boar bellies spend 2-3 hours in a vacuum tumbler with a salt and sugar brine, then are cold smoked over hickory for 10 hours. Then the bacon travels to Exotic Meats in Bellevue, Washington where it can be purchased by the public. Yes, the food miles are ridiculous, but this bacon is so worth it.

UPDATE: Keiko just posted a beautiful award for rare breed pigs… check it out!

====================
THE BACON RATING SYSTEM
====================
(see B.R.S. for more information)

BACON STATS

Brand: n/a
Name: Wild Boar Bacon
Cost per pound: $9.50 (sold in 1-2 pound packs)
Where purchased: http://www.exoticmeats.com

Packaging: Vacuum-sealed in thick plastic and flash frozen
Cut: Whole slab; sliced at home into medium-thick slices
Preservatives: Sodium nitrate

Cooking heat: Low
Total cooking time: 25-30 minutes

BACON RATING

Pork Flavor
not enough << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too much

Smoke
not enough << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too much

Salt
not enough << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too much

Sugar
not enough << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too much

Fat
not enough << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too much

Texture
too chewy << 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 >> too crisp

OVERALL SCORE: 4.67 out of 5

BACON TASTING NOTES

  • Beautiful raw slab with deep, deep red meat—colored more like venison or elk than pork.
  • Very hard to visually tell the “grain” of the meat, but knife meets slight resistance if cutting with the grain. You want to cut against the grain, otherwise the bacon is too chewy.
  • Optimal cooking requires low heat for a long time in order to render fat and crisp bacon without burning; it’s like torture waiting for bacon to cook as the smell is incredible.
  • Extreme shrinkage was evident, due to the large amount of fat rendered. Keep fat at all costs, it’s simply amazing to cook with—much more flavorful than regular bacon drippings.
  • Flavor is out of this world. I wouldn’t call it gamey, but it has a pronounced, rich pork flavor that’s almost sweet. The bacon tasted almost maple-y and bordered on slightly too sweet and too salty, but the whole combination was heady and gluttonous in the best possible way. This is bacon that’s meant to be savored.

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42 Responses to “2006 Independent Food Festival Award – Best Result of Pigs Gone Wild”

  1. Kevin says:

    Megan,

    Groannnn….

  2. joey says:

    Oh man! I am in agony reading this post and knowing that the chances of me and this wild boar bacon ever meeting are slim…it looks and sounds INCREDIBLE!

  3. Dr. Biggles says:

    Hey EXCELLENT bacon review! Ain’t seened it here. MMmmMm, bacon.

  4. Robert says:

    Oh my god that’s beautiful. And on a completely unrelated note, this is the second award that’s made me think of Meathenge. :D

  5. William says:

    Curses! Shipping from Exotic Meats is soooo expensive. I may have to pony up….

  6. GC Philo says:

    Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this right. This entire blog is dedicated to bacon?

  7. megwoo says:

    Kevin, It really is worth groaning over!

  8. megwoo says:

    Oh Joey,
    That is a bummer. I doubt they’d ship to Manila…

  9. megwoo says:

    Thanks Dr. Biggles!

  10. megwoo says:

    Thanks Robert! I was so happy and delighted to see so many MEAT awards this year as well!!

  11. megwoo says:

    William,
    I know, it is pricey… but maybe you just need to get all your friends together and place a huge order. Exotic Meats sells a lot of fantastic things—my favorites being anything wild boar and their elk tenderloins. Mmmmmm.

  12. megwoo says:

    Hi GC,
    I WISH this blog was only about bacon, but I write about all kinds of food. Just like your site isn’t about… uh… well, what’s in your title. (I was too scared to click on your link at work. Too funny!)

  13. Hi Megan:

    Using the B.R.S., what score would you give to Kevin Bacon?

    Sal

    PS: Sorry. Although I haven’t checked, I’d suspect that you Comment boards are full of Kevin Bacon references. If so, then please replace “Kevin” with “Francis” in my comment above. :-O

  14. Great post, Meg, I really like your scoring system.

    Cooking anything with nitrates, as opposed to nitrites, at low heat is a good idea anyway, because exposing nitrates to high heat can create nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic in large amounts. Nitrites are safer in that regard.

  15. Rose says:

    Meg,

    Please excuse this public comment (I could not find an email address on your site). I know that you are out of Seattle and I’ll be going there in mid-May. I wanted to know if you had any food suggestions. send an email along if you can.

    Thanks!

  16. steve says:

    Awesome review, Meg!

    Have you tried any of the other wild boar products from the site?

  17. megwoo says:

    Sal – Surprisingly, I think that’s the very first reference to Kevin Bacon on my site. Ha ha! You should win a prize or something. I’m actually not a huge Kevin Bacon fan, so I think his rating might be a tad low… he definitely errs on the side of too chewy.

  18. megwoo says:

    A ha! Thanks for the info PC. I get confused when it comes to nitrates vs. nitrites…

  19. megwoo says:

    Hi Rose,
    Of course I have suggestions! Ha ha! I’ll shoot you an email…

  20. megwoo says:

    Thanks Steve! I’ve tried some, but not all of the other wild boar products. The wild boar patties and the sausages are both great. I really want to try that shoulder roast though… I bet it’s spectacular.

  21. Shari says:

    What a great site you’ve got here! Such an obscure topic, and such illustrious descriptions and photographs! If you are into food blogging, which it seems that you are, you should check [this out] ! Take care!

  22. megwoo says:

    Thanks Shari!
    Your link didn’t come through… can you post the url again?

  23. tracie b. says:

    i just found your website—i just have to tell you:
    I heart prosciutto :)

  24. megwoo says:

    Mmmm. I heart prosciutto as well, Tracie!

  25. Jeff says:

    Oh man…I can’t believe I’ve come across this site dedicated to bacon…this must be shared with others!

  26. megwoo says:

    Ha ha! Thanks Jeff!

  27. Rex Morris says:

    Boy! And I thought I loved bacon. Great site, great recipes, although I expected them all to have bacon in them (for some reason.) Thanjks for the site.

  28. megwoo says:

    Ha ha! Thanks Rex. For all bacon recipes, all the time, you should check out The Bacon Show. YUMM!

  29. Sean says:

    omg i need had this bacon its like little delicious boars are just bouncing off my taste buds

  30. megwoo says:

    Ha ha! Yes, little delicious boars!

  31. Didi says:

    i absolutely love bacon!! thank god i found your blog!!! cheers!!

  32. Tim says:

    Fabulous site! The whole idea of blogging bacon is seriously interesting in itself – helped along of course by the way we heart bacon so!

  33. Adrienne says:

    I just came across your site! I too am a bacon lover! I searched but couldn’t find anything on your blog regarding scrapple…or what my father calls “everything but the oink!” Have you ever eaten (or written about) this particular pork product?

  34. Christine says:

    Wow, I am salivating! My cheeks hurt.

  35. Ljato says:

    the best bacon is deep fried or fresh, everything else stink

  36. maygan says:

    i love it to it is so good (^.^)

  37. Shai says:

    Megan – you are awesome!
    Bacon does indeed ROCK!!!

    I like the applewood smoked bacon (for traditional bacon mind you) at the Broadway grill. Just a bit chewy and I could eat a whole plate of it! Welcome back to MEAT!

  38. Richard says:

    If you love it as much as me than this bacon is for you. Bacon in a can. Yep, I found it and ordered it from a company called ready depot. http://www.readydepot.com . There was about 45 slices, cooked 75 percent of the way and ready to eat. I put the first 5 slices on a blt. THe next morning I through another 5 slices in the pan and crisped them up a bit. There was still enough oil in the bacon to fry my eggs afterwards. This is good stuff.

  39. Pam Chavez says:

    We are having Baconfest 4 on Sunday Aug 31st from 5pm-10pm. We had apporx 75 people last year and are looking for many more this year. Prizes are awarded to the ‘best’ bacon dish entered!

    You are all invited, please come and celebrate this bacon FEAST!

    contact us if you would like more info

  40. [...] a bacon flowchart, a web tool to baconize your site, a bacon rating system, bacon salt and a video on how bacon is [...]

  41. Nulte says:

    Tasty foods and looking great, I like very much. Thanks for sharing these kinds of foods items.

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