Wild Boar Sweet Italian Sausage

Begin with an 11 pound boar shoulder with the roasting ham intact and 4 and a half pounds of either fat back or bacon belly.

Carve away anything that is bone or silver skin or hard tendon, but render everything else into 1-1.5 inch cubes.

You want to end up with roughly twice as much lean as fat so that your final grind is basically 1/3 fat.

For us, the 14.5 pounds we started with rendered about 10.5 pounds of lean and fat.

Pass a relatively even 2/1 distribution of lean to fat cubes (so that you don’t have to over-mix later to fully integrate) into a meat grinder with a fairly coarse screen choice.

Spread on a hotel sheet into as thin and flat a layer as you can without over working it so that it all fits on the pan.

Sprinkle approximately one gram of kosher salt for every 60-80grams of meat (and fat) depending on your personal seasoning preferences. The charcuterie book I was referencing actually said 1 per 45 grams, I cut that back to 67 and then didn’t even put all that salt on because it looked like way too much and the end result was plenty seasoned for my tastes.

Put yellow mustard seeds and black pepper corns in a spice mill and render fine. Blanket the meat with this powder. When I say blanket, I mean don’t hold back. Make it hard to see the meat.

Apply a sparing amount of smoked hot paprika (or a mixture of smoked and hot if you can’t find smoked hot) depending on your taste — remember the result is a sweet Italian, not a hot Italian and not a kielbasa.

Blanket with fennel pollen. If you can’t find this, grind fennel seeds to powder. The result will be a bit more licorice, and not as sweet, but it still works.

Fold the meat in on itself to the center, gently. Repeat this only as often as you feel necessary to integrate the spices.

Pull out a small ball and pan fry it in a skillet until cooked through to check seasoning and spices.

I recommend portioning into one pound amounts in freezer bags with labels and dates. If you have access to natural casings and equipment and a lot of patience, knock yourself out. I don’t, so I keep it loose.

I also recommend taking at least one pound back to the nice person you bought your wild boar carcasses from.

 

In Texas, wild boar are treated like a type of infesting vermin on cattle ranches. Eating their meat is encouraging neither their domestication nor them being hunted wild. It is a way of ensuring that an animal which will be shot one way or another, doesn’t go to waste. If where you live doesn’t have a wild boar problem, consider finding an ethical source of pork. You will struggle to get beef, lamb or poultry sufficiently fatty for this to produce a sausage which doesn’t seize up and become bone dry when cooked.

A few more successes with basic pan sausages and we’ll be moving on to cured salumi.

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