Wild Hogs Safe to Eat
Courtesy Greg Ray

By Greg Ray

As wild hog populations increase and continue to expand their ranges across the Southern United States, landowners are looking more and more to hunters to help keep hog populations in check.

While hunting hogs is a fun endeavor, it can also produce tasty table fair with lean and tasty protein. From smoked pulled pork and grilled tenderloin to spicy pork chili verde and hearty boar stew, more and more hunters are looking to wild pigs to provide much needed protein for their families.

Wild Hogs Safe to Eat
Courtesy Greg Ray

Eating wild game can potentially pose risks to those who partake. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites brucellosis as the main risk to humans who consume wild game.

Wild hogs, elk, bison, caribou, moose and deer can all potentially carry the bacteria, which can cause fever, chills, weight loss, and joint and muscle pain. The good news is that taking proper precautions when field dressing, butchering and cooking, wild hog is safe to eat for humans.

Brucellosis is caused by bacteria carried by certain wild game and can be contracted through contact with the animal’s blood, body fluids or tissue. The CDC recommends using protective gear, such as gloves and eye protection, any time a hunter handles a carcass.

Wild Hogs Safe to Eat
Courtesy Greg Ray

Proper field dressing, butchering and cooking the meat thoroughly will help keep hunters and their families healthy. The CDC recommends the following guidelines when handling wild hogs:

  • Use clean, sharp knives for field dressing and butchering.
  • Wear eye protection and rubber or latex gloves (disposable or reusable) when handling carcasses.
  • Avoid direct (bare skin) contact with fluid or organs from the animal.
  • Avoid direct (bare skin) contact with hunting dogs that may have come into contact with hunted animals.
  • After butchering, burn or bury disposable gloves and parts of the carcass that will not be eaten.
  • Don’t feed dogs with raw meat or other parts of the carcass.
  • Wash hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or more. Dry hands with a clean cloth.
  • Clean all tools and reusable gloves with a disinfectant, like dilute bleach. (Follow the safety instructions on the product label).
  • Thoroughly cook meat from any animal that is known to be a possible carrier of brucellosis.
  • Be aware that freezing, smoking, drying and pickling do not kill the bacteria that cause brucellosis.

Taking proper precautions and correctly cooking wild game gives hunters the certainty that their next meal will be delicious and healthy. Armed with knowledge and proper technique, hunters can rely on wild hogs for high protein and low fat meat and while helping mitigate hog populations.

Wild Hogs Safe to Eat
Courtesy Greg Ray

Outdoor Solutions believes there is no one more connected to their food than hunters. The company’s Culinary Events offer a one-stop, holistic hunting, butchering and cooking experience for wild game.

Hunters receive premium accommodations, expert instruction on shooting, guided hunts, proper butchering training and cooking classes from an award-winning chef. More details can be found here.

 

Greg Ray is the founder of Outdoor Solutions

87 COMMENTS

  1. I dont know about safe but the porker I shot tasted like a$$. I was later told the boars over 100#’s taste like that and to next time shoot a sow to eat and a boar for the tusks and dog food.

    • When I see balls, I switch over to the next one. Momma pigs and baby pigs are tasty. Baby pigs, I throw whole into a slow cooker. After 8 hours even the bones are soft enough to munch on. As a rule, I stew wild hogs. They reach higher temps on their insides more than BBQ, fried or smoked without burning, over-crusting or drying up. But that’s just me.

    • I have been killing, processing and cooking wild hogs for at least 20 years. It is rare that I come across a hog of either sex that isn’t tasty regardless of size. It does happen, but not often. It isn’t about the sex of the hog, rather everything that happens post trigger pull. Wild hog meat is some of the most versatile and tasty in the outdoors. I have made tons of different dishes and sausages with it. I’m making wild hog ragu today and carne guisada for tomorrow. You just have to spend some time and learn how to handle it properly.

  2. Biblical law forbade the eating of shellfish, pork and other items not because they were inherently evil, but because the technology didn’t yet exist to safely cook those things. In this day in age, most things can be safely cooked and consumed provided there aren’t any prions in it.

        • No. Just had this discussion the other day. The Old Testament is still the Bible, I can’t see leaving out any part of a Book. ,. personally I think the Bible, and any other diety books were written by space aliens.

        • Howdy Yall,
          I’m a Real live “REDNECK ” from
          Mayo, Florida raised
          proper on a farm .
          I was born in Canada
          left when I was 10yrs.
          old . Moved to south Fla.
          St.rd. 84 Aligator Alley.
          When I was 12yrs. old
          my father left my Mom with 3 young’ins (boys).
          I was into fishin & huntin
          cuz it was a way to make
          my contribution to support my kin foke.
          Nobody taught me how to do shit. Ya’ll I figured
          out the right way and the wrong way to clean my kill r catch cuz cookn surf r turf there ain’t
          nothin to it ! Your Kin foke will let u know if its
          edible . How u handle the
          meat is the key to the flavor of your meal.
          I’ve eaten gators,frog legs,all kinda turtles,
          rattlers,garfish,ur not fussy with a fre meal is on the menu.
          Anyway 0we moved to a farm close to the Suwanee River, what a
          exrta cool place for a self made “REDNECK”
          and yes in the Flatwoods
          n swamps I killed anythin
          n everythin ,fished every time I could from the Gulf of Mexico to the Okeefinokee swamp .
          U know what u can do the right thing by the meat but the real difference in flavor
          comes from the location u took that cridder from.
          What they forage on is #1 flavor difference
          #2 Location a stagnant
          pond were a gator calls
          home or were hogs drink
          & wollar makes fer funky
          meat.
          When dealin with a
          bore hog Emediately u need to bleed them by sticking a long fillet knife
          by his sternum into his heart to properly bleed him out. Also they have
          nuts that release a musky sent to there glands so get rid of those while he’s still kickin . If he is skinned
          and the meat is cooled
          quickly they will have a good flavor.
          Be aware of what any
          kritter u plan to consume
          of their environment.
          Just a lil story by a real
          live REDNECK.
          Cap’t. Kirk Snider Sukkel
          AKA Cap’t. Bruzz-‘r

      • Nah, the Bible isn’t outdated. To my knowledge, there is no clear reason for the OT dietary laws, beyond the idea of keeping separate. Food safety reasons are possible but not specified. And if the sheet that was lowered down in front of Peter were to be dropped down in front of an orthodox Jew today, I suspect it would have things like ham sandwiches, fried catfish, and cheeseburgers on it, just so there would be no question.

        • Part of it may be that so far as pork goes, it’s hard to keep safe without refrigeration or salting the hell out of it fast. As for shellfish, there were no epipens way back when and so when someone allergic ate some, they’d pretty much die wriggling around trying to breath. See that enough times and you might decide “Keep that stuff away from me”

        • @SilentBrick

          Truth. The dietary laws preceded knowledge of microbes. The Ancients were not stupid; after seeing the disease in societies that ate pigs, they could put 2 and 2 together.

        • The USDA demands a certain amount of time away from dirt before hogs can be slaughtered. The meat tastes like what the pigs eat. I have heard that wild pigs taken near sugarcane fields are pretty tasty.

      • Not on matters pertaining to life of your Soul, eternal matters. The Jews were prohibited from eating foods Peter said all foods are clean.

    • If this is so, why was the prohibition limited to the ancient Hebrews? Chinese, Greeks, Romans, etc have been eating pork and shellfish for thousands of years.

      Chicken is actually considerably more risky to eat than pork yet is not prohibited.

      Trying to make ancient religious dietary restrictions seem like they made sense for reasons of public health is an exercise in futility.

      • The Hebrews were nomadic people. They followed the limited springs and fresh grass for their flocks. Pigs are disgusting, they eat sewage and the leavings of other animals, including their own. Generally, any animal that eats meat is not something you want to eat.

    • Too many Christians discuss the Bible without actually reading it. In Genesis 7, God tells Noah to take 7 pairs of clean and 1 pair of unclean animals. After the flood, gage takes the clean animals and offers them as sacrifice. Then in Genesis 9 God gives EVERYTHING that lives and moves to Noah and his family for food. Clean/unclean has nothing to do with physical cleanness and everything to do with which animals were acceptable sacrifices. Israel was held to dietary laws because they represented God, and were supposed to eat what He ate (metaphorically). The Bible isn’t a science book (GASP). Reading in 21 century concepts like parasitology, bacterial infection, and germs isn’t what the authors had in mind. They were thinking in spiritual terms about the reality of relationship between God and fallen man. Reading modern context into it will guarantee you never understand it.

  3. I’m a big fan of wild game meat, but I got to tell ya,
    My neighbor gave me a wild pig roast, it was the most god awful thing I’ve tried to eat as far as game animals go,
    My two Labrador’s wouldn’t even eat it, tasted like sawdust. True story.

    • That’s why he gave it to you. XD In all seriousness, though, hog meat isn’t half bad if it’s not a stinky boar.

      • Noam, I’m drinking a fine homebrew, a mixture of Scottish Oatmeal Stout and an over-infused Jingle Ale from last Christmas.

        As I read your comment on cat poop, I almost blew it out my nose. VWD.

        +1 on cat poop. It’s high in protein. (ick!)

      • There is so little info about your negative experience that no one could offer commentary. I have killed and eaten wild boar for many years. Done right, just like domestic pork, it is ecellent table fare. We produce 5 star meals from it.

  4. Idle question: how did people survive in the days before disposable latex gloves? Or did they all suffer from brucellosis and tape worms?

    • They weren’t the pansy ass SFB’s living today. I grew up surviving on wild game of every variety. Still eat it today. With the exception of CWD. Most everything is safe to eat. If prepared correctly. In the case of wild hogs. Go for the younger smaller ones. The big boars and old sows aren’t fit to eat. If you’re thinning the population just shoot em and leave em lay. The other hogs will eat em. Be safe out there Maintain OP SEC and as always Keep Your Powder Dry.

      • I would say the advice about taking the younger animals is true with every species. I have killed 8-10 moose for the freezer. None of them was a trophy size – except to me. The trophy was 400-500 lbs of good quality meat. An aside: When grinding burger from any member of the deer family don’t use the animal’s own fat. Make arrangements with a local butcher to buy beef tallow or hog fat.

        • That’s why a blowtorch comes in handy. Hang em, slit the neck (just to help with drainage) and singe everything off. Scrape with a knife afterwards THEN you start gutting.

    • When my father was born in 1915, his life expectancy was 54. He lived to 97 but growing up I didn’t have a single uncle that made it past 65.

    • People did live but people died often. My grandpa used to tell me about life before anti biotics. People died all the time of what would be considered mild infection today.

      • President (Harding or Coolidge?)’s son got a blister playing tennis, it got infected, and he died from it in the early 1920s. That’s how crappy medicine was back then.

    • In those days people did not expect to live as long as we do. There were many reasons for reduced life expectancy. Tainted food was, and is, a factor. I have eaten a great deal of wild game meat. I lived in Alaska for 28 years and hunted for the freezer. There are things I won’t eat. Grizzly, brown, and polar bear are three. Anoter is any part of a seal other than the liver. While I haven’t tried it I have a friend who says the best venison he ever ate came from a cougar (The cat not the woman). I have heard the same about other American wild cats.

      If you are worried about what food you ingest I would stay away from fast food.

    • Lots of people did suffer and die from a variety of ailments that have largely been eliminated today due to knowledge, science, and technology.

      Tons of people used to die of cholera until the simple innovation of drawing water from upstream of where you dump waste. Sewers further reduced the disease. Cholera was on it’s last leg in the west by the time chlorine came along to finish it off.

      The reason ancient people used to drink so much beer and wine was because water would kill you. The grapes process it for you and the first step in brewing beer is boil water.

      • It’s all about heating above Pasteur temperature (180F). The proteins and DNA de-nature, twisted and useless. Just amino acids ready for digestion.

        Technically, the grain is mashed around 150F – it’s a biological process to convert barley starch to sugar. Afterward, brewers boil the heck out of the wort (sugar water) from the mash, which twists and congeals the proteins that converted the starch.

        Fire is the first Great Invention. The wheel is second. Refrigeration may be the third. All are used for beer. Tells you something about our priorities.

      • Hot drinks, like tea and coffee, serve the same purpose. There’s a theory that the rise of coffee and tea in Europe was a driving factor in the Age of Exploration. People went from regularly consuming depressants (beer and wine) to regularly consuming stimulants (coffee and tea). This led to an explosion of energy and creativity in society.

        It’s an interesting idea. I don’t know how true it is.

        • That makes sense; the Age of Enlightenment and Age of Exploration flourished following the Renaissance & discovery of America. Coffeehouses became centers of intellectual discussion and tea from British India became a popular stimulant. Interestingly, wine and beer were being promoted as beverages of moderation produced locally; it was imported distilled liquor that was said to lead to debauchery and ruin.

          FWIW, modern day Mormons are prohibited “hot drinks”, and are forbidden the use of alcohol, as noted in their Word of Wisdom. Worth some research, IMO.

  5. It’s interesting to me when things we’ve lived with, survived with and thrived with since time began get highlighted as though they are new and, dare I say, novel threats.

    The way society operates you’d swear we were only just dropped off on this rock six or so years ago and a good percentage of us fully expect to be picked up in another six.

    • People are freaking out over toilet paper, which I (and I think a lot of people here) would consider to be firmly in the “luxury good” category.

      I mean, it’s super nice to have, and I’m rethinking its value as a bartering commodity, but.. it’s not a necessity like food, water, shelter, and free access to internet pornography.

      If I had children, at this point I would pay them to go TP somebody’s house, just so the neighborhood could see all those rolls strewn about all willy nilly. I’m super curious to know if people would try to re-roll it.

  6. Killed and ate hundreds of wild pigs. Don’t care to fool with them or most any big game. Just give them away now. However, when I would shoot a hog for meat I would only do it during a cold snap. Clean immediately. Keep on ice and well drained until processed. If anyone didn’t enjoy wild pork, or any wild game for that matter, from duck to deer it was mishandled or improperly prepared.

    • Gonna have to toss in my 2 cents.
      Duck rhymes with Yuck.
      I’ve tried it around a dozen times since that first duck shooting trip. I’ve never been duck shooting since.
      I’ve had fish, turtle, frog, squirrel, rabbit, small hog (I was told early about old boars and sows.), deer, elk, bear, and several species in Africa. I love it all.
      Except duck.
      Grumble, grumble, grumble

      • Tom, I don’t eat yellow squash and English peas. Not fit for human consumption. If your duck tasted like liver it was overcooked.

    • Exactly. It has to be handled properly from the beginning. We hunt wild pigs all the time, in fact I will be brining some this weekend and cook for a pulled pork.

  7. For boar, you need to set it in a water and salt solution, rinse/repeat about 4 times(+-) until the blood is mostly gone ant the solution only turn a transparent light pink. Use a dedicated big plastic garbage can. Instead of dumping it over for rinse: cut a hole near the bottom for cork or get fancy with a valve/faucet. When done clean can with bleach.

    This should be done regardless of future smoking, freezing or cooking method.

    P.S. Nothing works well for greasy ass bear meat.

    • This is what I have always heard. I plan to hunt some wild boar in the future, once I get my freezer chest. Everyone I have talked to about it says you have to soak it in brine or you might as well leave it for the coyotes.

      • Yea, the main thing is to make sure they are field dressed properly with no contamination. Once on the cutting board all silver skin and sinew has to be removed (that’s what gives it a gamey taste) also any blood shot meat from a bullet or broadhead wound should be removed right away as well. Once butchered yea a good salt brine will do wonders, you can even inject a brine.
        I just finished making a brine and going to soak some wild pig for 24 hours before smoking it tomorrow. Going to make some pulled BBQ pork 🙂

  8. fyi
    I like the Meat Eater TV show. But He violated the basics of food cooking safety. Just because you harvest your own meat doesn’t mean you don’t follow the same food safety guidelines for a butcher shop, Or a restaurant, Or a grocery store.

    Steven Rinella Explains How He Contracted Trichinosis on an Episode of MeatEater video 5 minutes long

  9. Hmmm…my question for today is Smithfield(China Choice©) pork safe to eat?!? Several plants shuttered because of Kungflu. No wild pork anywhere near Cook County,ILL😏

    • We’ve been eating on one of the spiral sliced ones for a few days now with no ill effects, but we baked it long and low with lots of basting to get a crust like candy. Not saying it wasn’t full of mercury, or ptomaine, or some such, but I don’t doubt that any actual germs were killed. The bone and scraps will go into ham and cabbage soup one of these days.

  10. I love wild boar. I shot one with my enfield last year. I was hoping this TTAG article would cover a disease I haven’t been able to find much info on. I’ve only heard about it through word of mouth. That’s still a thing apparently. In south Florida wild boars have been carrying a disease that doesn’t bother humans at all, but can kill dogs, so be careful giving your left overs to your dogs.

  11. is wild game safe to eat?, of course it is. err no maybe it isn’t, I forgot humans evolved into a superior species

  12. CTRL-F yields zero results for acorn or tannin, so here we go.

    Hogs will eat acorns when they find them (usually in the fall). Most acorns are full of tannin, and it permeates the meat. Tannin has an astringent taste that is highly undesirable.

    My folks used to trap wild hogs and feed them for two weeks on corn chops before butchering them. If you can do that you will get rid of the undesirable flavor of wild pork.

    Charlie

  13. I don’t see wild hogs as the problem some folks say there are. If they were really a problem for landowners they wouldn’t charge $600 to shoot them (the average price where I am.)

    • Caca de toro. Methinks you either don’t live in an area where they are all over the place, or are just spitballing.

      Go out in a bottomland pasture that literally looks like it has been carpet bombed by feral hogs rooting it up (it will have to be plowed before cattle can graze on it without them being danger of breaking legs in the holes created by the hogs) or a sorghum field that has been utterly destroyed right before harvest, and then try and tell me that feral hogs aren’t a real problem. And I’ve seen that on lands where the landowners encourage friends and family to hunt them heavily AND have professional trappers running state-of-the-art traps year round — and those efforts barely put a dent in the problem.

  14. The wild hogs that I have seen or shot in South Georgia over the past few years have all been as fat as Butterball turkeys, the roasts and hams are delicious, the ribs, if pre boiled, are tender & off the chain. No added fat needed for grinding sausage, in fact, I much prefer it to venison, which I eat a lot if each year, as 2 of my cousins own processing facilities in my county

  15. Lots of peanut and corn fields here, the wild hogs eat like Kings, and the flavor of the meat attests to this

  16. Please forgive me for not believing everything the CDC says. They’ve been incorrect too many times.

    AFAIK, Pasteur temperature (180F) kills all bacteria by de-naturing (twisting) the proteins and DNA. If smoking wild game meat, stick it with a thermometer until it says 180F. After smoking a few batches, the wise hunter will know that holding at 200F for X hours for a Y” tube of sausage achieves Pasteur.

  17. People have gotten sick and died from tainted meat since proto-humans figured out they could eat the various critters around them. The problem is not new, it continues to this very day even in First World countries.

    It is why President Theodore Roosevelt fought for and signed into law the “Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906”. The earliest beginnings of Federal inspections of meat, and approval of patent medicines. Why because people were getting sick and dying from those foods and medicines, it was a big scandal in those times.

    That’s why there are recommended minimum temperatures for cooking all sorts of meats. To kill bacteria or other organisms you really do not want to have swimming about inside you:
    https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature

  18. As I recall, some landowners don’t allow hunters to work their hog problem because of damage to property or gates left open. The nitwits and slobs spoiling it for everybody.

    Maybe they’d do better getting with local gun clubs, get some sort of association going to which hog hunters could join, and be organized about helping the farmers and ranchers while having a good time doing it. Just a thought anyway.

    If I had the money I think it’d be great fun to do a helicopter hog hunt. I mean, it isn’t about “Hunting”. It’s about trying to kill off an invasive species and enjoying how you go about it. If the meat is usable, well that’s just an extra win!

    Have seen where a trapper will come in, erect a fenced in trap with one-way gate and bait it. When it is full of hogs they bring in a truck, force the hogs into a livestock trailer. Off they go to a slaughterhouse. That seems to work too, but it’s all business.

  19. I’ve had roast wild pig twice, and both times it was delicious (dunno if they were boars or sows). I have heard of some wild hogs that were terrible tasting, though. I would imagine a lot has to do with the diet? Hogs will eat just about anything, including garbage.

  20. BTW, I know I’ve mentioned this guy before, but he really is pretty awesome on prepping all things meat.

    (How to butcher a hog, nose to tail)

  21. I just finished my build this winter of a Beowulf 50 cal and am looking forward to hog hunting in northern Alabama. Though from what folks say, maybe I am better off waiting until next winter to hunt? The warm weather will hit very soon here and I’m thinking the meat could spoil really fast. That and I need to connect with a farmer around here with hog issues…

      • LOL Where can’t you?
        Everyone has let them loose even where they weren’t before they are plenty now. I’m 54 and they used to only be in SE OK but now they are all over areas like Black Kettle where 10 yrs ago I never saw them. From the Arbuckles to Cogar they are thick in pockets. Paul’s Valley area started years ago just to the east of town.

        • I started thumbing through my photos cause I couldn’t remember them all but yeah Ft Cobb off of peanut fields and that swamp and back in 99 I killed a nice eating one on the southside Red River land strip we gave back to Texas some years back.
          Like I said where ain’t they? Only thing is now folks want money for them. They get on the tv news and whine bout damage but when you call with traps or hunters they want you to pay.
          You gotta know what your doing and yeah be careful but don’t go overboard. Common sense goes a long ways. You broke the intestines don’t stick your hand in your mouth till you wash it with a bottle of water or have your buddy press in on your camelback with the mouthpiece off or use your knee. I mean seriously the patient aint gonna live so don’t act like it’s surgery.
          I like them little 30lbers for the smoker in whole. 100lbers are good in the ground slow cooked.

  22. I’m in the middle of hog hunting country. Here’s my advice. For most of them including the boars shoot them and dispose of them in a ditch or leave them to the buzzards. It’s really better to see if you can catch small to medium sized sows in a trap, de-worm them, then put them in a feed pen for 2 to 4 weeks. Then put a 22 into their head and process. They taste like what they eat and will eat carrion with the buzzards. BTW the smaller they are the easier they are to butcher.

    • Yea for eating we hunt medium sized and down, not too small though, not enough yield to mess with. Most people that go to hunt, do have an area to pen wild game so they have to deal with what they got while hunting. The wild pigs in my freezer and some I”m brining right now come from West Texas. We field dress, skin and butcher right on the spot. Always taste good.

  23. Big boars are what the oldtimers in my area call too rank to eat. According to them, whats more the matter of what the pigs have been eating is that the males have lived their lives un-cut. All the pork in the store and farm meat from male swine were castrated as piglets, and have not had stank boar hormones permeate the meat it’s whole life.

    If anyone has a way of making big boars editable please let the rest of us know.

    My methods for smaller game like groundhogs, coons, and such is to just boil off all the fats and gameness. Not going to work with large hogs.

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