We had our first true “you’re in the country now” experience. The other day Roberto, our ranch hand, generously offered us a cooler full of meat. Wild boar meat, to be specific. The boar in question was shot the night before. By the time the cooler reached us the hog had been gutted, skinned, and fabricated into manageable but gigantic pieces. And while I wasn’t exactly prepared to cook an entire wild boar, I graciously accepted the gift.
For a couple of weeks now on the ranch we had noticed the result of these destructive animals coming through. Their presence can be both dangerous and a major threat to farmland and our vineyard so when they pass through the ranch hands sometimes hunt them at night. It’s part of life out here. But at least they don’t go to waste.
So what’s a girl with about 60 pounds of boar meat to do? Cook carnitas, and ribs. Lots of it. (Had I been prepared I would have made sausage too but alas, I didn’t have the proper supplies.) Until now, I had cooked boar just once previously. This was quite a different experience. I cooked the ribs and carnitas simultaneously and my entire house smelled RIPE! Picture yourself standing in the middle of a butcher shop that is itself in the middle of a hog factory. Funky. Though the smell was off-putting, dinner itself turned out pretty good. We had boar carnitas with all the fixins’: queso fresco, salsa verde, chilis, pickled radishes (picked fresh from our garden), cilantro, red cabbage, and Cacique crema. We invited friends over for taco night because we had enough meat to feed at least 50. We celebrated our score by having dinner al fresco overlooking our baby vineyard.
The ribs, on the other hand, I couldn’t manage. A bit too off-putting. I dry rubbed and roasted them low and slow the way I usually do with spare ribs, then added my homemade barbecue sauce. But all that work couldn’t mask their funky boariness. I think we’ll try goat meat next.