Huntavore’s Hog Summary

Show Notes

On this episode of Huntavore, Nick has had some time to ponder about his hog hunting trip, and gotten some pork cooked, so it is time to wrap up the saga on Oklahoma Wild Pigs.  Laying out a bit of the process he went through, Nick covers most of the after the shot details.  Gutting, hanging, the high drama hair torching, and chilling a couple hundred pounds of pork carcass.  Along with his own observations, Nick has taken the testimonies of Andrew and John on their experience of turning wild hogs into flavorful pork. A whole lot of reminiscing on this episode of Huntavore.

First off it seemed like a dream to be invited on a hunt for problem hogs.  John was an incredible host and a huge resource on getting within range of these pigs.  After the shots rang out, and Dan dropped our first catch of hogs, the work began.  First observation was how far forward, and low the vitals were.  The heart seemed as if it was pinned directly to the chest wall.  Second, how the skin and hair worked together to make a very tough and resilient protection from the Oklahoma elements that seemingly wanted to sting, stick, or prick you.  Next, these animals didn’t smell.  Now it was pretty dry, and cool.  But the notorious smell was not there.  On our trip we didn’t have a chiller but we did have running water and cool temps at night.  Hanging the animals in the nightly breeze was wonderful for getting the body heat down and drying the flesh.  Getting these pigs home was a matter of a mass of coolers, ice, and a solid 14 and half hours of driving.  But well worth the effort.  Butchering observations was again the beautiful lack of musk, even on my boar.  While it has a slight whiff of boar taint, it was very flavorful and delicious.  Cutting the meat with the fat was a dream, sharp cuts and clean separations.  Most important, in my mind, the taste.  Both the fat and meat are a wonderful pork flavor, where not a lot of the animal will be discarded.  I am honored that John, a man that has lived around pigs for his whole life, would say that I have the chance to change the narrative on hogs being not fit for eating.  Let’s count this as  the introduction to the long tale of elevating wild pork.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Hunt Ofor podcast, powered by Sportsman's Empire, where we celebrate the hunting and fishing lifestyle through the utilization and consumption of our wild game. No egos fork in hand, beer in the other, no status, a piece of red meat on a hot grill, and turn it into a burn offering. Just catch it.

Cut it. Cook. This is episode 1 23, hunt DeVore's Hog Summary. On this episode of Hunt War, Nick has some time to ponder about his hog hunting trip and gotten some pork cooked, so it's time to wrap up the saga on Oklahoma Wild Pigs Laying out a bit of the process he went through. Nick [00:01:00] covers most of the after the shot details, gutting, hanging the high drama, hair torching, and chilling a couple hundred pounds of pork carcasses.

Along with his own observations, Nick has taken the testimony of Andrew and John on their experience of turning wild hogs into flavorful pork. A whole lot of reminiscing on this episode of Hunt. Dry age steaks used to be a steakhouse only indulgence. An old world charcuterie was pricey due to being imported or created at a small batch specific scale.

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Well, hey folks, beautiful day here in Michigan. Here we are mid three quarters, way through April, and we're getting some more snow showers. Just a wonderful thing, uh, to keep you humble when it comes to spring. Yes, we are gonna get some warm temperatures, but, uh, old man winter always has the left hook, always has the haymaker ready to punch, uh, whenever you're unsuspecting.

So here we are getting some snow. It won't be any accumulation, but it'll definitely just kind of put a damper on the day. But anyway, that's neither here or nor [00:04:00] there. Uh, today, this is a bonus episode here. I am promising a bonus episode a couple weeks ago and just not being able to pull through it. Life comes at you really fast when you get three boys into sports, and then you have, uh, work on top of things.

You have things at home and have, you know, the podcast got put off onto the back burner for at least all a good week and a half. But here we are. I'm dumping the bonus episode. Anya here. This is the reaction episode to the hog hunt that I went on early in the month, late late March, early, uh, April here.

And I'm gonna take you through kind of the. Oh, after the shot, so to speak. I'm gonna be bringing you along on a journey of after, uh, we got the pigs. I will talk a little bit about, [00:05:00] uh, the hunt that, um, that I finished off on. Um, I was actually looking this up as we speak because over on the Ohio Outdoors Podcast on Sportsman's Empire, Andrew uh, did a, uh, podcast with us and really went through, uh, the previous days of the hunt.

And so I'm gonna see if I can't find that link here and be able to tell you where to find that app. But he has a great in depth on the events that happened. And from there, we then carry on into, uh, the rest of, of the hunt. That would've been April 5th that he dropped that on. I don't see a number, but it's entitled Cowboy Up, Oklahoma Hogs and Missouri Coyotes.

So he picks up, uh, a little bit of our trip on that, uh, on that end. But [00:06:00] anyway, uh, it was a great time to get a chance to know, uh, John from the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. Uh, what an amazing host had us down, um, put us up in, you know, at, at first I was assuming a cabin turned out to be this, uh, amazing house that was on his property.

And so we lived in the laugh of luxury. We were enjoying a great time, uh, at his property. Not only just lounging during the early part of the day, but then being able to come back and just be able to crash and get some good night's sleep. Even though we didn't take advantage of hardly any good rest, we were all chomping at the bit and, uh, spending most of our evenings, uh, chasing hogs.

But again, thanks to John, uh, for being just an amazing host, putting us up and having just a wealth of knowledge as we, as we chased after these pigs. Um, Dan Matthews from the Nomadic Podcast. Nomadic Outdoors podcast came along too. [00:07:00] Uh, he was on a, just a, yeah, I got, I got some free time. I'm gonna swing on through and joined in.

And it was great to be able to get a chance to meet him, uh, and just see his expertise behind the gun, behind the trigger. Uh, the man is definitely very, uh, very skilled behind a rifle, and that showed not only in just several opportunities that we had, uh, but even just, you know, being, his execution of taking, um, the hogs that he did earlier was just superb.

Did a great job with that. Andrew. Uh, it was fun to get a chance to, to hang with him too, from the Ohio Outdoors Podcast. I know normally people from Michigan and Ohio don't get along, but, uh, we may do, we did our best, uh, to just kind of stomach our differences. Well, I'm, I'm not much of, uh, the Big Brother fan.

I'm a, I'm a state fan, so the Ohio, uh, Ohio State, Uh, Michigan rivalry wasn't quite there, so it, it was helpful, but we got our digs in. [00:08:00] But Andrew, um, again, great guy being able to offer some expertise. Talked about how he joined, uh, the Missouri guys and, uh, in, in a coyote hunt. And so just translated his knowledge into using, uh, those thermal optics and helping, uh, helping, yeah, novices like me understand what's going on.

How do I use this stuff and, and just kind of translate into night hunting. That was a, a big learning curve for me. Um, going from, from just someone who, who is, who's chased whitetail, and then, you know, when things get dark, it's kind, it's kind of over like you're, you're done. Um, there's not a, not a whole lot that you, you can do once it get, once it gets dark, but then to be able to now extend hours.

And through optics and through mono, through monocles and through binoculars, be able to see through the night and see the thermal imaging of these critters as they move about. And to use that, that piece of equipment was just so stinking [00:09:00] cool. Um, I went down there, um, I was gonna run the, run the slug gun, and then getting down there.

Um, you know, John, John liked my plan. He's like, this, this would be an, a good, a good weapon to use. He said, uh, I, I still have my AR here, that you're more than welcome to use. Uh, giving you maybe not more punch, but a lot more, uh, a lot more shots on the ready. I, I wouldn't have to pump, I'd have more than five.

And so I ended up taking up, up on that. And so then I ran his ar uh, during, during the pig hunts. And ultimately, like, after using that, And being someone who said, you know, living here in Michigan, I can just get by with, with five and a tube I can get by, uh, just being really good with a shotgun. Um, I still, I still really think that I, I can get by, but you know, we've, we've really warmed up to that ar or AR platform, especially in the, uh, idea of [00:10:00] if there's going to be another chance to go chase hogs, I'm gonna, I'm gonna want a little bit more firepower to be put in downrange, uh, maybe not necessarily, uh, the higher caliber, but at the same time just having the more shots to go downrange.

So that, that was really fun. It was very generous of him to be able to, to offer that up and to, to let me use that. Uh, but yeah, man. Chasing hogs all night and then just being so giddy, being so ready, just something so new, exciting, like sleeping. I tried to sleep, I tried to lay down, but something in me was like, get up and, and be a part of, of what's going on.

So yeah, I didn't necessarily get a long night's sleep. A couple of those nights, um, after our long endeavor, um, we did get the hogs back. We got 'em hung up in this pecan tree, which was right next to, uh, the house. And John was really excited actually, to hang something from this tree. Um, he was saying [00:11:00] that, you know, he would love to be able to hang a deer up from him here, but it, it's in view of the road and it's not so much that people would be upset about it, but you know, whether that, whether that deer would be there in the morning, um, if somebody were to catch eyes of it, would be the, the tough part.

But the hogs were going, were the hogs weren't gonna go anywhere. And so hanging those up and actually quartering them out, it really did look like a, a porky wind chime. Uh, as we, as we called it, it looked like, yeah, a nursery mobile gone wrong, uh, with hogs, but we've, we had our hogs all hanging up there.

And from my discussions with, uh, actually the, the episode that dropped last week with Brandon Sheard, um, I wanted then, then to be able to get the utmost out of these hogs. And so getting up after our long hunt or long night, uh, getting up and knowing that, hey, we still have, still have some work to do.

And that's where we were going to, I was going to, uh, torch these hogs with the [00:12:00] propane torch that I had, and then I was going to split the hogs to get those, uh, into, into coolers. So we were gonna go split 'em down the, down the spine, and then we would then quarter, then appropriately just to get those into the many coolers that we had available.

So I got up that morning, got some coffee started because man, we were gonna need that, uh, to get this going. And I grabbed a pallet that I found, uh, in one near one of the sheds, and drug that over to the cement pad and lowered down the big sow that, that was hanging. We, we estimated her, at least John estimated her at around like 250 pounds.

Very big animal. Um, an image that I, I've kind of been posting around, I'm, I'm, I'm not sure if I shared it on, uh, Instagram or not. But anyway, where I'm, I'm standing in between two halves of this critter, uh, with one had in each [00:13:00] side of me. It, it is the same size. Like I, like me and this critter were l if we would take up the same mass.

Now, she was definitely heavier than I was, but the same time, like just to the scale, this is the size of a person essentially. And it was like, wow, just so much, uh, pork here at our disposal. But anyway, I dropped her onto that pallet and went to town, uh, sparked off the, uh, torch and began to blow flame onto the hair.

My first re like, I again, I had to figure out like, what is this gonna take? How long is this gonna take? Is it more of a mess? Is this worth it? And as I began torching, the one thing I thought was gonna happen is I am cing all of this hair. There is going to be a smoke, there is going to be the smell of sied hair everywhere.

Uh, this is gonna be a, a tough start. It, it was not that experience. There was some smoke and there is a bit of a char [00:14:00] smell, but it was not a smell of burnt air, of singed hair that you get after blasting your face, uh, off your gas grill. And that, that was, uh, it was something I was like, I'm encouraged by this because this process is going to work now as I got up and I kind of, I was making a little bit of noise and then guys were stirring and they were getting up and coming outside, uh, looking at what this process was doing, they, they were also beginning to think like, what is this guy doing?

He's taking a propane blow torch and just blowing it on the side of this hog cing, cing the hair. Um, Back in our early episode, we talked how this practice of actually using fire and cing hair is not new to pork scalding or to being able to process hogs. That's something actually, when you didn't have the equipment, you literally used straw [00:15:00] and you make a bed of straw and you would put the pig in the middle of this straw.

So you'd have a bed down, you'd put the pig in there, and then you'd top it off a straw, and then you would light it on fire. And then this would actually singe all that hair off a domestic pig, which then you would go back and then scrape. So this is just a modern twist on an old practice, and by doing this, Yes, you take that outer hair off and on these hogs, I tell you that wirey hair, the coarseness, it, it, you felt like it was kind of cutting through your, your skin.

It was definitely not comfortable to, to pet, uh, to drag your hand down the one side of these animals, very wirey, very coarse, and cing this off. That hair, um, melted, molted away very quick and turned to ash. And then you would come by. I came by with, um, uh, my gut hook knife, um, and would scrape that along the [00:16:00] outside of the animal and that would knock down all that hair.

It would just take it right on, right on off. And after the first initial burn, you are left with a dark pig. You are left with an ash covered, uh, burnt pig, but it resembles. Something that you would find at a fair. It resembles something that you would find in a domestic stockyard in the fact that it took its wildness being all that, that wiry hair and it familiarized it by having all that hair off it, it then looked like a pig.

I know the people talk about once that, what's that first step in having something become an animal and transition into food and you know that that line lies a lot of different places for people. And doing that, merely taking what was this wild beast and cing the hair off, scraping the hair off and then you're left with something that [00:17:00] looks familiar.

It really did kind of like op open my eyes to the idea like, oh, we are dealing with a pig. This is pork, this this wild beast. It's wildness has kind of been pulled back and we're now, we're now seeing something that's familiar. The second part of that is then going to be trying to take off that external epidermis that is going to be, it's, it's one of the harder layers.

It's one of the toughest layers of that skin. It's again, holding hair follicles. We want to be able to get that off. And so now what you're gonna do is you're gonna turn up your BTUs and I'm now gonna have more of an intense flame, a more directed flame. And for my first one, again, I again was just trying to get, get my bearings around me.

I took that bl, or I took that torch and concentrated on areas and just kinda had a circular motion to it, circling around, keeping the flame moving, but at the same time directing it [00:18:00] onto a specific section of the skin. And you then began to see that skin shrink, which by taking a torch and going all the way, that it does tighten the skin right up to the animal.

And you could see things get more defined. But as I kept that there, it, the tightening began to bubble and begin to blister. And by doing that little bit of, uh, bubbling and blistering on the skin, it would take that outer layer and loosen it up. I found that keeping or hitting an area that was hit and that was hot still, if it was still warm, I could come by and scrape and it would fly off real quick.

Um, I also found out the sharper the knife, the better. As our knives got dollar, our job got harder even when it came to scraping. So keeping your knife somewhat, uh, intact, sharp in doing this is going to be very beneficial. But taking off that layer, you're exposing this [00:19:00] white underlayer of the epidermis.

You got this white underlayer of the skin and it really brightened up. That animal, it took what was not appealing, not appetizing, and turned it appetizing. That if the idea is you're gonna want to keep this skin, this is the process that you need to go by. And by doing that, it really did brighten up that animal and clean off all of that, uh, residue.

Now, even after you did the scraping, we did go pie. I had a, it's a little, um, I don't even wanna say it's a pressure washer. It's more just like a pressure rinser. It's a, a battery powered little unit that has like a, like a turbo nozzle on the end of it. But at the same time, it could take dirt and ash and any, uh, anything that was left on that high to that animal at that point.

After we've gotten to that, uh, that underwater layer and scrape that raid off [00:20:00] and hose that raid on out and it really brightened those animals up and made them look very nice. At that same time, that hair follicle as I, as I cut into it, that hair follicle goes all the way down to the base of that skin.

You don't see it necessarily on, um, domestic hogs. You see like that, the real pink or the, the, you know, the real flesh color, uh, because those hair follicles are really brilliant white and they're real fine. Where again, the wildness of these has made them very coarse. Um, very wide, wide hair follicle and very dark.

And so it, you can see, you can see the whole hair follicle on where it's at. Um, so I don't think there was necessarily gonna be getting rid of all of that, but at least by going through this process, I was presented with something that did look appetizing. So now it became to the point of transporting these hogs back home.[00:21:00]

What I did learn, um, in, just in my research of getting ready for this, is that pork fat also loves to hold onto any bit of debris, any bit of dirt, anything that is in that cooler is gonna end up on that fat and it's not gonna be able to get washed off very easily. It's just very tacky and holds on to everything.

Kind of the same reason that I keep the hide on my deer if I'm going to keep it, uh, hanging in the open air, is I wanna be able to protect what's underneath it. I want protect the meat. I wanna protect the carcass of that animal and using that its own epidermis is going to be the best thing that you can do.

So doing that was one reason why I wanted to go to the, the enth length of going in and torching these pigs from that. I was then very encouraged cuz then when I split that pig down the middle, I am left with beautiful looking pork on the inside and I could see how it was preserved just [00:22:00] by keeping that skin on.

Um, and at the same time, I'm gonna be able to, to save that fat given the moment that I was at. Is the fat gonna be something that's palatable? Is the fat gonna be something that is, I want to keep? That was still up for debate. Uh, I was running on the idea that, you know, I've, I've been told by a lot of people that the fat's gonna be no good.

I've been told by a lot of people that the meat's not gonna be very good. I've been told a lot of, from a lot of people that they, uh, The taste of these animals is gonna be unappealing, so you might not want to use them. And not to say that I wanted to prove people wrong, that it was, the whole idea is not to prove anything, but the idea was to experience that for myself.

And so that's where, uh, this process of how much can I salvage? How much can I take back to be able to play with and utilize and toy with to figure out is it the gaminess that people are [00:23:00] pulled away from it, or is it actually just these animals are not fit for consumption? So that then brings us into now trying to get these animals back.

So that afternoon as, or that, uh, well was still mid-morning, I would say, but that temperature started to rise up and our coolness of the evening, uh, is now given way to the sunshine. So these had to get into the coolers. And so the one cooler I brought a very nice big arctic that I borrowed. I was able to put two halves.

Of two different pigs in one half from one sow and one half from the big, uh, 250 pound sow. By being able to stick those both in there and having the bottom with the ice, I was gonna keep most of the ice water below them and I wasn't gonna have anything come up. Transporting these 15 hours and through or back up to Michigan was gonna be something that I was, I was gonna try to really, really pay [00:24:00] attention to.

Um, so I didn't end up buying quite a bit of ice. I didn't find a real good place to buy dry ice. I didn't, I guess I didn't necessarily ask a lot of people, but I thought about the, the dry ice method where I would take my block of dry ice and put that in the very bottom and then put my bags of ice on top of that dry ice.

The dry ice essentially. Keeps the regular ice, the wet ice, uh, from melting, and then that same coolness, it just kinda slows down the, um, the melting of both of them. But at the same time, then the meat goes on top of that and that's then protected from the dry ice, from the layer of wet ice or regular ice ice with the skin.

That was gonna be one of the things is that that's gonna be a huge way for me to prevent any freezer burn or to prevent, uh, meat, directly touching ice at that point, or even get waterlogged because of those connective tissue layers [00:25:00] holding that all together. So those two halves go in. I closed the lid on the big cooler and I said, you know what?

That is going to be the way it is. I'm gonna leave it, I'm gonna put it into the shade of my truck bed at this point, cause I had the top around it and it's just gonna hang out in there. And it should be fine. Um, the next, next coolers that we loaded up, I actually had to then break down the animal, um, into quarters.

Andrew was very excited. Um, actually he joined in, uh, the whole process and I've got his response, uh, from what he thought that was all going to, uh, all he thought was gonna happen. So I'll make sure to include that, eh, right about now. Well, all right, Andrew, I, I rang you up here. I wanted your response to after the shot.

Um, I know listeners are gonna head over to the O two podcast, the Ohio Outdoors Podcast with you and Paul. Uh, you guys had to a great [00:26:00] rundown of the hunt that we were on. And I'll let, I'm gonna push listeners over there for the full story, the full detail, um, both our successes and our misadventures on this whole hunt.

I mean, we picked a lot of stories into, I mean, two days. I, it's hard to believe that that was only two days, but that was a full, there wasn't much sleep on that whole trip. But I wanted to get your impressions of after the shot, from, from when we brought 'em back, we, we got the pigs gutted and then into what we called the, uh, the pork nursery mobile there in the, uh, the tree.

And then to the final, the, uh, the final task there of actually burning the pigs. Where, where was your head at as far as after the shot? What were you gonna do with these pigs and the result that we ended up taking away, were you, were you happy with that result [00:27:00] in the, in burning the skin or were you like, I, I didn't know what to expect.

Okay, so first off, I appreciate you sending people over to listen to. I'll say it's three quarters of the hunt. Okay. Because there's a, uh, a point where, uh, a blackout occurs on my end and I had no idea what happened the rest of Saturday night. Uh, so they're gonna have to get all the details on your pig and what you guys did.

Cuz honestly, I had still have no idea. Like, all I know is there was another, you sent a picture and there was another pig hanging from the tree the next morning when I went to leave, but, And it was black. Just for the record, it was blackout from some type of like, stomach bug foods poisoning, something.

Uh, no, not alcohol-induced. Although my wife, the first question she asked me was how much I had drank. So how much did you had to drink about? No, it sounded bad. I mean, just even the text messages back and forth was like, oh, poor guy. I really did feel bad for you over there. I honestly thought I might be dying.

I thought that was it. Um, [00:28:00] anyways, um, so to answer your question, you know, I, going down there, I think I, like I told you it was, uh, I was going, we had John as our host and you were there. You're the culinary expert. There's a lot of people pay that, a lot of money for guided trips with a, with a camp chef, right?

So I was like, I'm in, I am, I'm taking advantage of this. And I hadn't thought much past, uh, how I was gonna kill a pig, uh, along the way. It was more of, we'll figure that out as we go. Uh, So when we got back and we gutted them, I was surprised that, a, I didn't think they smelled that bad. Um, people have talked about how bad they smelled and all that kind of stuff.

They were caked in mud. Uh, and the gutting process was relatively, I mean, very similar to a deer. Um, it was interesting to see how far up their heart was. We've heard, we heard about that going into it. And [00:29:00] I'm trying to think. They, I felt like they had a lot of intestines, but besides that, that was, that was that.

And we hung 'em from the tree. And then the next morning I woke up and walked out. And you were out there with a massive blow torch going to work on these pigs. So, John, not John, sorry Nick. I had no idea what to expect on any of this. So I was like, well, this is the guy that knows what's going on. So if he says, get the, get the giant torch, then you just get the giant torch and start smoking these pigs, right?

And scrape. When he says scrape, you scrape. So that was my initial reaction was like, just fall in line and let's, let's get it taken care of. Uh, and I'll, I'll help out where I can just, I'll be the little gopher and you tell me what to do. Well, I appreciate the gopher ness. I, I definitely did not know what to like, as again, I we're still like, we've talked to each other via online.

This isn't the first hunt that we've had together. And [00:30:00] so again, there's always those feelers out there, like, how do they hunt? Are they, they're more solo? Do they like take charge? And so everybody's feeling each other out. And that morning I woke up and being like, Well, this, I only had four hours at that point.

My body would just, would not go to sleep. So I was like, all right, let's just go to town and start working on that. And to have John wake up and come see what I was doing, and then immediately like about face and go back to bed. He was not ready for that endeavor. But then to have you come up and grab a hold of the scrape and be like, okay, let's, uh, let's go to work.

Let's, let's help you get these done. Let's get these looking good. I, I was, uh, taken back. I was impressed that you were willing to go that extra mile. Um, there's a lot of times where I do feel like if I'm doing something new and I'm having to explain a process, like I'm, I'm trying to basically buy, buy-in people.

I'm looking for that buy-in and it was very easy for you. I think that was [00:31:00] like, you saw this was the process. He's got a plan whether it's gonna work or not, but there's a plan here, so we're gonna, we're gonna go with it. Going from having to spin. Those pigs grew up, I grew. I grew up in a, my parents owned a restaurant.

Okay. So I was always around a lot of, you know, fresh food, fresh meat and all that kinda stuff. So none of that, like, getting your hands dirty and that kind of stuff really bothers me. Now, I did not grow up in a hunting family, so I think the, any chance I get, I knew, I knew you would've researched this, right?

You would had already had this all planned out. Ever since I got into hunting, it's been learning from other people, reading books, watching stuff. Here I have somebody, like a mentor to actually show me and, and all this kind of stuff. So I was like, let, let's go. Right? There was no hesitation, um, to actually have an in-person lesson on, on how this was gonna work, visual appearance from hair to when we [00:32:00] finished that first pick, like when we, when we took that big sow down and we started torching her with all of her hair, all of her mud, And then when we were finished with her hanging back up with her, her skin, I don't wanna say white skin, I'm gonna say, uh, tan to Pearl esque.

Was there a visual improvement for like a culinary value? Yes. A hundred percent visual. Visual, uh, upgrade, we'll call it. I've never been around, uh, a domesticated pig being butchered or cleaner. I don't know what they do for that. But, uh, that was from what you went from to where it got to, it was like, okay, this is a wild beast to, that resembles a normal pig.

That is something we can eat. It was, it was night and day.[00:33:00]

So after we got, uh, those quartered up, And we started putting those in Andrew's cooler. We, Andrew quickly realized like, I don't have enough space here. We actually went, uh, into town and, and got him another cooler, a bigger cooler so that he could then, uh, take some of these pieces home and make it worthwhile for his ventures.

And so did the same thing, ice in the bottom, put some, uh, put the meat on top, closed them up, sealed it up, and then away, away we were, we had one more hunt after we ended up breaking down those pigs and it was going to be an evening hunt. Um, Dan had to leave early, uh, that day. So we, we bid our goodbyes to him.

He wasn't gonna join us for an evening hunt. Andrew. Uh, Wasn't feeling very well. He had, he had some sort of stomach issue, stomach bug that was bothering him. So he had already said, I, he [00:34:00] didn't know how much he wanted to do for a night hunt. And I, myself was now feeling, uh, feeling the lack of sleep. And so I thought, Hey, I'm gonna be good to go for an afternoon hunt.

But yeah, if, if we get pigs, I will be out for the night hunt just because I'm, I am tired. We did, we put all of our eggs into that first night and it was gonna make it hard for the second. We, uh, we went out those that evening, and unfortunately Andrew had to call it a night because yeah, his, his gut was not helping.

He ended up Ralph and, and I felt really bad for him. Um, so as we were going through with our texts, John, uh, John said, Hey, what do you want to do? You want to keep hunting? You want to, you wanted to call it? And I was like, you know what, I'm still sitting up in a really good spot. I'm sitting over corn. I'm in this, uh, blind.

Why don't you take Andrew back and I'll just call you, or, yeah, I'll just expect you to come get me, [00:35:00] uh, when it, when it's dark, I'll just stay put right here and just know that you're on the way. And he's like, excellent. Sounds like a good plan. So it wasn't too long after that, they, uh, Andrew got picked up and, and on his way, uh, we're approaching dusk at this point.

And I, I still was hopeful. Um, I was very impressed with these critters just being that, uh, here, ca here came a, a, a lone boar into my setup and the way that he came in, you know, and most of the people talk about how, and. I guess it might be different for when a sound comes in as far as a whole group of pigs, but I had one pig come in, one boar, and he flew in like, I mean silently.

He came in from my peripheral vision and he moved in quick. These are not slow animals by, by any means. They are quick, [00:36:00] they are, uh, they can go cover long distances. Uh, they are very fit for this environment. So he comes in from my left side and ches up in some brush. I know that he's there and I can just kind of see sections of his back, but he ches up and I can tell by the window or just the way the window was going, that he came in from the downwind side of this feeder and was checking the scene.

Luckily, I'm in a box and I had all but one window opened up and he did not. He did not catch my son at all. But he came in, you could just see him calculate like, is this going to be safe? Is this going to be a setup? Um, maybe he has seen things at other setups and just knew this, this might not be a good thing.

So he, uh, he, he hangs out for about a minute, about a minute and a half. And then finally you see his demeanor [00:37:00] change when he saw that this is, this is going to be a safe setup, that his tail was flicked up the normal sounds that you would hear out of a pig, just the, the little snorts. He was all by himself, and he was okay to take in all of this corn at this feeder.

And so he was nibbling at the little pieces of corn that were there on the sides, and finally worked his way over to, uh, the big pile of corn that we had spread out from a, from a bag of corn a couple days earlier. At that point, I could see him getting comfortable. I could get him, see, you know, he, his movement was gonna be dramatically reduced.

He was in on feeding and that's when I knew this is the time that I need to make that shot. So using that, that ar and having the red dot, I put that red dot directly, uh, under and just a little back of where his ear was at. I wanted to [00:38:00] go for the next shot so that I could rupture that spine and drop that pig right there and making that shot.

I got a section of, of that spinal cord cuz I shot, and one half of his body went limp. Two legs were, were not kicking, the other two legs were kicking. And so he began this spin. And from that I had two more follow up shots. My second shot, as he spun around, I tried to get behind. Uh, Behind the other side of the head.

I ended up hitting the jaw, the lower jaw of him. Uh, in doing that, it slowed down his spin. So on the next time he came around, I sent another shot into the opposite side of his neck and making that shot dropped him completely and I then could witness him, expire right there, just like you would with, with a white tail that would drop [00:39:00] in sight.

I was able to watch him expire and yeah, done. And over as quickly as it all began, I felt very confident and very pleased with the shot that I put on this animal I was in. I was blown away about how tough these animals are as we went through. If you go in and listen to the Ohio Outdoors Podcast, how any sort of side shot was just not going to really put a huge ENT on these, you gotta punch through a lot of hair, a lot of skin.

And a lot of fat that just acts as this chain mail that just absorbs the power of, of that bullet. Uh, and not even making it into, uh, the vitals. The vitals. After going through, uh, gutting these, I found that the heart is pinned right to that chest. So standing up, it is a very low shot and it is right behind that shoulder making it very [00:40:00] difficult to get a sh to get a heart shot unless you are at some sort of quartering angle, uh, the lungs themselves, way up front, uh, of this animal, again, shrouded, uh, by a lot of bone.

All of this that we know, uh, already, but then to just to be able to see how, how these were arranged inside the animal as we were field dressing, just confirmed all of that and just very much, uh, let you know that yeah, you're not dealing with an average critter here at this point. So getting, getting my boar, having Andrew come pick me up and us celebrate by dragging this, this boar back up, up a hill.

It seems like, uh, yeah, wherever you're gonna be going with an animal, you, you do gotta drag it out there. And these p these pigs do get big. So yeah, he was about 150 pounds. Um, I did have a little bit of like, watching him come in and seeing his size, making the shots, and then walking up. I, I [00:41:00] experienced a slight bit of ground shrinkage where I was like, ah, you know, he may not be the oldest.

He may not be, uh, the most impressive, but you know what, he's my pig and I'm all about it. But I grabbed his hoof and I went to pull, and the resistance I got was like, oh, I take that back. This is all the pig that I could ever need or ever want, uh, in shooting. So yes, up the hill we went with, with this pig.

We got him to the truck, got him loaded up. And, uh, joined, joined the pecan tree to hang overnight. Um, same process again with him. I, uh, I torched the outside. No, actually no. Um, cause we got up the next morning. I did not torch it. I saved that process to come back to Michigan. I wanted to try and put some footage on it.

I wanted to try and do another job. I was also wanting to get out of there the next day, knowing that I had a long travel day ahead of me. So he was going in his full, [00:42:00] uh, full self. He was going, well at this point. He would've been trotters off, uh, body cavity, all connected. So basically just the body went in and then I, I set the head on top of that, but then I closed that cooler and we were able then to make 15 hours back to Michigan.

And at that point, that really just solidified my trip to Oklahoma as a very, very successful trip.

So now that we're back in Michigan, I come driving in. I needed a place for these things to go. And so I graciously, or excuse me, I, I happen to ask my, my family, uh, at the Turkey farm, if they would house, uh, house my bounty and graciously they let me put, uh, put those overnight in a, [00:43:00] in the cooler, the drive-in cooler.

So I did get back, and when I opened up those coolers, the ice had done their job. Everything was still chilled down, everything was still cold. But at that point, now, all of the ice was now liquid. I had a lot of purge, uh, in, in the water just being, you know, real bloody water. But that's to be expected after 15 hours of driving with these things.

And so what I did was dump out, or I grabbed a, uh, I grabbed another pallet and I put the halves or quarters onto the pallet. I was able to dump out, uh, the melted ice, dump out the purge. Then I just kinda gave it a wipe down with the towel and then put those quarters and halves back into the coolers, slid those into the cooler and left the door, or left the, uh, tops open so that air could then circulate through, uh, through the carcasses and really get a good, solid chill on these.

They had not been given a, [00:44:00] a full chill yet. Um, other than just the ice. Uh, in the coolers driving home, I kept them as dry as possible. For, for the trip. So when they were hanging in that pecan tree, it did dip down into the fifties and low fifties and maybe even upper forties, but it, it got, the temperature got low enough.

And so when I did wake up in the morning and touch those, they, they were cool to the touch knowing I wanna take advantage of that, get those into the coolers. But they had not been fully chilled and fully set. Uh, so that's where I got them into the chiller and they spent two days in, um, a very large drive-in cooler, lots of fans that are blowing in this cooler.

So all of that, like surface moisture was able to wick away. And again, the meat was, uh, able to stay dry. That I would say is the, um, one of the helpful parts of being able to travel with meat is keeping everything dry as possible so they finally get their full [00:45:00] chill as I set up. For what is going to be my, my home setup so that I can transport them over.

Um, I've got an eight foot, uh, chest freezer. One of the big oldies, uh, that, you know, the farm wasn't using it anymore, so I happened to commandeer it. I ordered a, uh, controller thermostat where you can use, uh, where you can use the thermostat off this new unit, off of this little controller to control when the freezer kicks on, when the freezer kicks off.

And so by using this, I could turn this eight foot fri, this eight foot freezer, chest freezer into a chiller. I could select whatever temperature I wanted to keep at, add some plus or minus, both on the um, On the cold side and on the hot side. And I can get this to where it'll just be chilling the animals.

It will not be freezing the animals because I still have yet to process these out. Um, [00:46:00] so hooking, hooking up that controller, playing with the buttons and getting it, I think I set it at 30, I think I said it at 34 degrees because I did not want it to freeze. And I made it that the low end, knowing that a lot of that cool air was gonna sink to the bottom and we were gonna have probably some 32 degrees going at the bottom, but they weren't gonna live in there too long to really get a hard freeze, um, on the, these larger cuts.

So 34 was my south side. And then as temperature would rise up, I think I gave it two or three degrees where then the thermostat would then, uh, kick on the power to the, uh, To the freezer, and then that would then chill it down. So that's where the pigs ultimately ended up moving over after two days. So I could continue having them be nice and chilled.

Having them chilled sets that fat and sets that tissue in a [00:47:00] firm state. When I then went to process these animals, if you were to say, Hey, how is it? How did you process this pig? Uh, well, I, first off did a lot of, you know, again, research via different YouTube channels, different resources online. Like how do you differ cutting a pig up from a deer?

Um, do you take the shoulder off of the blade? Do you take it off of quarters? I. I transitioned and I wanted to cut these the same way that a domestic pig is cut depending on, uh, what you're looking for as far as if you wanted to utilize more bacon, if you wanted to utilize more hole cuts, are you gonna be taking part, uh, the launch, uh, and using separate muscles, or are you going to be wanting to keep them whole for a ham?

Um, all these different options. I wanted to go for, uh, especially on the work heavily worked areas, the, the Hein quarters, I kept those [00:48:00] large for hams and the shoulders. I broke those in half so that I would head and have a pork butt and I would have a pork picnic. And both those cuts, both the, the butt, uh, being the upper shoulder containing the, the shoulder blade and then the picnic, taking the lower part of the shoulder, having the, the trotter side and the humorous or the mid bone side.

Both of those respond very well to barbecuing. And I've got, not only myself that likes to want be able to play with this, but I've got friends that are deep into, uh, um, using their, their traegers, using their big green eggs. And I want to give them a chance. So we're gonna be sharing some of these pork butts and pork picnics about, um, but I wanted to try to be able to, you know, save those cuts whole uh, I'm a big fan of pork chops and so I wanted to see what I could do with the loins and with the chops doing the bone in thing.

Um, because we're not [00:49:00] worried about necessarily a C W D style disease on these pigs, I wanted to be able to utilize some of those bone in cuts. So as far as the amount of boning out that I had to do on these pigs, not a whole lot. I got to really use, uh, my hacksaw or my bone, saw that I could then take these animals apart.

And that was one big thing that I got to see the difference of is cutting these animals with a saw or cutting these animals in, in whole cuts, much easier, much cleaner to do on these pigs than it was. On a, on a deer like cutting through deer ribs because of the, how lean there is, there's no stiffness, uh, there's nothing to really solidify on.

And even the, you know, the muscles in between are real thin, and so they don't stiffen up real much. And so you have all this movement that make cutting through ribs difficult or can be difficult on these pigs, [00:50:00] I could cut the full rack of ribs all the way down, every rib leaving my, my section with, you know, just the ribs and the belly.

I, I was able to cut that very clean very easily and en enjoy, actually enjoyed the cutting process of these things. Um, they really responded well to chilling down and then to your knife. The, the biggest. Detriment that I had to my own knives was gonna be that hide that skin. It is thick and it puts an abuse on your edge.

So if you plan on cutting these hogs, keep a steel with you, be able to rub that through after you cut through couple of 'em, because man, it does, it dulls your blade really fast. So as I'm getting into these again, I have 'em, I have 'em chilled and right, right now. They were, you know, a couple days, uh, in the chiller being able to age, and I kept waiting for [00:51:00] this musk.

I kept waiting for this bad smell. I kept waiting for the wildness to take over and it never showed up. What I was presented with was some amazing pork. What I was left with was an awesome product that I'm gonna get a chance to use and play with and do anything that I want, uh, because I'm not hiding behind the fact that it's gonna be tasting wild.

Now, is it pork with flavor? Absolutely. You are going to get, uh, pork with, with flavor, but to even put it in the category of gaminess, I couldn't even do that. In fact, I got a little segment here. Uh, John was gracious enough to, uh, give me his response to his whole thing. So here we are joining John, uh, from the Oklahoma outdoors on his [00:52:00] reaction to, uh, to all things pork.

What's up, hon? Vore fans. My name is John Hutz Smith with the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. And, uh, coming to you from my mobile studio, aka a my sister's guest bedroom and, uh, using a mobile setup that I've never used before. So I hope I sound okay. Hopefully y'all can understand me. But Nick wanted me to jump on here and, uh, give kind of my 2 cents from his work, uh, from his trip down here to Oklahoma.

And, uh, man, it, uh, it really shocked me. I'll be honest, I was actually asleep while he did most of the work. Um, but when I came outside and saw what he had done, uh, I'm gonna be honest, it inspired me a little bit. Um, you know, growing up down here in the south, uh, just the narrative was always. You can't eat hogs.

I mean, I've just heard that ever since I was a little kid. Um, never even tried honestly, to do much cooking, uh, of them because that's just what I always heard. I always heard they were no good. [00:53:00] Um, but man, seeing what Nick did with those hogs, it, it honestly did inspire me to try to, um, man, like I'm just thinking of all the hundreds of pigs I've shot and drugged to the edge of the field just to get 'em outta the way.

Uh, because they are a problem. We do need to get rid of 'em. But, uh, you know, I think the, the thing that Nick is trying to accomplish here, and I, the thing I think he has done is proven that they are. Of use. They are edible and more than edible, they can be really, really good. Um, you know, he cut out some of the, the tenderloins from a big, so we had taken, he marinated 'em all day long in like a chili lime marinade.

And, uh, they were. Absolutely delicious. Um, zero, zero complaints off those things. And then just looking at the work he did with the other ones, um, you know, torching the hair off and everything like that. Uh, really taking his time. You know, he basically had 'em cut up into primal, you know, at least halfs minimum.

Uh, and they, I [00:54:00] mean, they looked. Delicious. I mean, your mouth started watering just looking at him. So, uh, yeah, my hat is off to him. Uh, you know, I warned him he was gonna need some, some sharp knives and many of them, and I think he learned that that was very much true. Uh, you know, he had some, some nice blades and, and, uh, you know, they'll, they'll re sharpen eventually, but they're gonna take some serious work.

Uh, just the hides are super tough. So, so yeah, I was super impressed with Nick. He did actually offer to give me some, uh, the stuff that he'd cut up. But, you know, I can go out pretty much anytime I want to and, uh, and get some more of these hogs and. And he doesn't have that option. So, so I sent all the meat with him.

I am expecting, you know, some kind of package in return, uh, because like I said, it just looks really, really good. And so I was super happy. He came down. Glad that we had plenty of, uh, specimens for him to experiment on, and I am looking forward to trying some of the delicious creations that he makes out of these hogs.

So my hat's off to Nick. Uh, y'all [00:55:00] listen to what he has to say because he really, really impressed me and, uh, I think he did a great job of kind of turning the narrative on wild hogs and wild hog meat. So, thank you Nick. Looking forward to the next trip, and I'll talk to you guys later. So yeah, when I talk about, uh, being able to pull those, those tenderloins out and add a quick marinade, yeah, I made it a little, it was a little, a little heavy handed on the spice as far as the red chili, but a simple marinade that I whip whipped up and I really enjoy.

If you want something for. For you. Shoot, even your domestic pork. That lime, chili ginger combo just works out, bang up. Just great job. Um, putting those on the tenderloins and then being able to eat or to just to eat those up as is was just a treat. As I went into cutting, um, and getting these animals packed up, I have had now the opportunity to enjoy a few number of cuts so we can go with the [00:56:00] tenderloins that I, that John previously talked about, how, um, how moist they were.

And that partially had to do with, uh, the, uh, the marinade as well. Um, I did have to bring it up. I mean, I'm bringing everything that I'm doing. I am gonna try to bring it up to 145 degrees. That is going to be that safe zone. I wanna say that everything as far as like anything dangerous, bacterial wise, virus wise, Um, I think 1 37 I think is when things kind of break down, but taking things a little further and going into that 1 45, that seems like a really safe spot.

Um, and by Devin doing those tenderloins to 1 45, they were very moist, very tender, very delicious. I did the same on a roast. I bri a roast, a rump roast, which would've been, uh, a section of the, [00:57:00] well, it's the top side of the, um, hind leg. Um, so it'd be right where that ball joint is. Everything, yeah, north of the ball joint.

Cut a straight line there. I then tie it up as a, as a roast at that point, uh, with deer. I like to actually take that further and when I tie that up, uh, add a few more strings and then cut those into steaks. Tied up steaks, those will work out really well. But I kept this one as a full on roast. And I brid this, and I brought it right up to that same temp of, of 1 45.

And, um, that I kept the skin on. The skin began to bubble, began to Crispen. Uh, very, very chewy. So if you are gonna cook the skin, I have not found a great way yet to present that. It was unpalatable. Uh, just in that immediate roast, I sniffed off all the strings, pulled back [00:58:00] that, that skin, but then it had the, the fat cap and we ate every bit of that fat cap on that animal.

So delicious of that roast. And I sliced it maybe a half inch thick. So I got nice slabs that I laid out on. Uh, not only, uh, my wife and i's plate, but even on the boys' plate, they ate it up. They thought it was great. And so for two days we feasted upon that roast. So if you're looking for something off the hindquarter, that was a great look into, into that section.

Um, my second thing that I made is I actually took him to a friend's house and it was off my boar. I cut double chops. I will say though, that in my talk with Brandon Sheared, when we talked, uh, differences between sows and boars and how in a, in an older bore you're going to get bore taint, you're gonna get that, uh, real heavy, uh, testosterone [00:59:00] musk.

I got a little bit of that when I was processing, uh, my bore. I could smell it on my hand after I had gone through the, you know, as, as I was cutting things, I could smell it a little on my hand as I. Was packaging things up and, you know, I brought the, brought it in to smell, to smell the meat, and there was a hint of it, and it didn't, it's not, it's definitely surprising.

It's not off-putting. In fact, Brandon alluded to theirs, some communities that actually look for that, that actually desire, uh, to have that muskiness in their, in their meat. I took, uh, three chops over to a friend's house. We were over there for the evening, and I, I gave 'em a dusting of just a, a seasoning, you know, it had some cumin in it, paprika, salt, pepper, pretty, pretty min, you know, middle of the road, laid on both sides of that.

[01:00:00] Kept the fat cap on. I actually cut the skin or the rind off the outside of it. Had the, the vertebrae and bone still intact. I did punch out the, uh, spinal cord so that we weren't sucking on any of that. But now at that point, We gave it a slow treatment off to the side on my buddy's traer, his Easy Bake oven.

Thank you Josh, for letting me use that. But we, we brought our temp up, I brought my, uh, my Tap Q thermometer in, popped that in there, and that gave me, that got me up to 140 internal. Once I got to 140, I brought those off to rest knowing they're gonna carry up a little bit. And then I asked, uh, my buddy Josh to crank that, uh, Traeger up high so we can get a char on there.

Um, after doing that, we gave it a couple minutes to get that, uh, that, uh, temperature up. We set them back on. And what followed was, I would say probably the most surprising thing I could see off, off these animals is when we opened [01:01:00] that door, we were presented with just some golden, brown, ch, or, uh, sear on the meat and even the fat on the outside it.

It browned up beautifully, bubbled up and got a crispiness to it. So when actually you cut through it with your knife, you would hear the, as it would go through and you would get the, a touch bit of crunch off each one of those bites. Making it, I would say probably one of the most desirable parts of the whole chop was just the fat on this thing.

Maybe the mildness of it was because my bore was younger, even though he was 150 pounds. His tusks aren't necessarily huge. He's my bore though, and I think I was presented with the perfect, uh, way to be able to test this out. To say that, yeah, Bortin is real. But at the same time, after eating these chops and having even folks that don't necessarily get to enjoy pork very much, they were [01:02:00] like, this tastes just like really good pork to us.

It doesn't not have any sort of off-putting, putting flavor. So all in all, the three things that I have made with this wild pork have been home runs. So I can only imagine what the next few things that we're gonna get a try and do are gonna be. I'm, I'm just so elated that the things that I'm gonna be able to make and be able to do with a critter that is so, I would say, looked down upon in so many areas they're seen as a problem.

And right now the only problem I have is I can't get a hold of one very quickly, I should say, but that's neither here nor there. So what's planned for in the future? Well, we are gonna be doing some pulled pork. We are gonna be doing the pork butt, we're gonna be doing the pork picnic. I've got, uh, full Heinz put together still that are gonna get a cure.

They're gonna [01:03:00] get fully cured and smoked for full hams. My in-laws, uh, Do a ham every year. And so I did tell, uh, great Grandma Faber that they will be having, uh, wild ham this year. So I'll, I've got one of those put all the way. I did one boneless ham, so that'll probably be, uh, the one that I take over just cuz it'll be easier to slice up.

But then we've got a couple that we're gonna do for, for full on hams. Now I've got bellies as well. I've got, uh, eh, I've got two or three full bellies and then I've got some belly sections, um, that I'm gonna try to cure. Either it's gonna be, I'm gonna try some slab bacon on the one, but it is in profile kind of thin after searing it and after rendering fat on a, on a, either a, a hot plate or even in in the oven, I have a feeling that I'm gonna end up with, uh, bacon spaghetti.

I think it's gonna be real thin. So I was thinking maybe I go with a panche out and if [01:04:00] I roll the belly, Cure. Cure the cure and smoke the belly that way I can then slice in rounds and then from those rounds, lay that onto the skillet and to have that then fried up for breakfast. So we're gonna try that route at least a little bit.

One belly, I did keep back as, uh, just doing belly roast, um, or being able to just, you know, tie that up, put a nice checkered pattern on the fat, and then we're just gonna roast that hole as is. That's just gonna be some porky goodness right there. I've got a couple sections of that. Um, and I did save back off my bore.

I did save the ribs. So I've got a couple sets of full racks that we're gonna be able to do. My brother does like, uh, pork ribs. He does something whether he uses, uh, I think he uses Dr. Pepper as one of his secret ingredients. So I'm gonna let him put his magic on these and see what we can do with, with those ribs.

But all [01:05:00] in all, This was just an incredible adventure. Being able to go down to Oklahoma, join, uh, just people that are, are, are amazing as far as just seeing their heart, seeing their passions for the outdoors, and just seeing the quality people that they are. Thank you, John. Thank you Andrew. And thank you Dan.

Um, I would say the Sportsman's Empire Hog Hunt of 23 was very, very successful. And some of that brings into question here, what, uh, what, what all can we do with these hogs is, are you, can you really eat everything but the squeal? Well, I've got some hawks that are also gonna be g getting me cured up. And we're gonna try those, those, uh, those ham hawks.

I've got a full head that we're gonna do and I'll hopefully document that here as I roast a full head. Of, uh, of pork. We're gonna try that out because I [01:06:00] mean, those jowls, everybody talks about jowls on domesticated ones. I'm excited to see what the wild ones can produce. So, yeah, all this to just kind of basically wrap up with a bow, tie it up nice and tight so that we can finish out, uh, the saga of the wild Hog.

It has been so much fun to get a chance to chase something that I don't normally get to chase a, a new species that is on my horizon. Not to say that it is ever going to de throne the illustrious whitetail in my book, but I gotta say that Wild Hogs is maybe in my top three. And if, uh, if it's accessible as to what it was this year, hot dang man.

We're gonna find ourselves. Uh, getting a lot more wild pork here in the future. So, yeah, that's all I got for you today. So folks, as you go on from, uh, today, here in the spring, uh, hopefully you're getting a chance [01:07:00] to, to chase something, whether it's gonna be the new forages that are gonna be happening popping up here very soon.

I mean, come on, morels. They gotta be just around the corner or if you're gonna be chasing turkeys, you know, tur, I've always taken Turkey season off just because of the availability of domestic bird that I got. But at the same time, we we're looking into, uh, to getting after those birds here. I know you folks are, but whether it's gonna be cutting at the stem for those morales, or whether it's going to be, uh, taking not just the breast, but the leg and thighs off your bird, make sure that your blade that you're using is very sharp.