Food Week: Wild Game Ups His Chef Game

Jack Gilmore says working with wild game helps him to "up" his chef game.

Jack Gilmore says working with wild game helps him to “up” his chef game.

This is Passport to Texas Food Week

Hunters call them feral pigs. Chefs call them wild boars. Names don’t matter as long as the end result is delicious.

We use wild boar for a lot of chilis and things like that.

Feral pigs cause millions of dollars in damage to cropland in Texas, and tear up wildlife habitat, too.

Chef and restaurateur, Jack Gilmore serves game dishes at his namesake restaurants Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin and Round Rock, and says cooking wild boar offers challenges and rewards.

You really can’t write a recipe for it, because each time it’s different because it’s wild. It might be a little gamier, or a little fatty – or it may not have enough fat in it. You really have to be a chef again and say: ‘Well, if it doesn’t have enough fat in it, we could add bacon to it. If it has too much fat in it, we have to render it.’ You never know what a wild boar eats. You just don’t know. But, if they’re raised in the Hill Country, you know they’re eating persimmons; you know they’re eating acorns; you know they’re eating pretty good. But, sometimes you just have to realize what you’ve got and make it taste good.

Braising feral hog meat in the oven on low heat over a long period of time creates a tender and tasty result.

Find wild game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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