When I think of the state of Texas, two things come to my mind. One is the incredible hunting that the Lone Star State has to offer, particularly the wild hog hunting.
Texas has a population of hogs in 99% of the 254 counties in the state, with an estimated total of 1.5 million, which is a good indicator of why Texas is famous for hunting wild hogs. As for popularities in the state, the second thing I think of is also known for its fame; the incredible Texas-style barbecue.
When I recently received a Wild Boar Bacon Slab from the GameKeeper Butchery, I immediately began brainstorming what kind of dish I would make. I knew the wild boar was a genuine Texas wild boar; a free-ranging animal raised on a natural diet of nuts, fruits, roots, and tubers. Having that knowledge, I was confident that the Bacon Slab would have an incredible taste.
Since the meat is from a Texas wild boar, I had to do something barbecue. I quickly decided that since Texas-style is usually somewhat spicy, I would use my Traeger Grills Pro 780 and make Texas Spicy Wild Boar Pork Belly Burnt Ends.
What Is Needed:
- Wild Boar Bacon Slab
- Meat Church Honey Hog BBQ Rub
- Traeger – Traeger Que Rub
- Brown Sugar
- Traeger Texas Spicy BBQ Sauce
To begin this incredibly flavored dish, I took the entire Wild Boar Bacon Slab and cut it up into 1” by 1” squares to put onto the smoker. Cutting the slab into bite-sized pieces before smoking allows for a quicker cook, more smoke flavor to soak into the meat, and a better opportunity for the flavors of seasonings to show up in each bite.
Before seasoning the 1” squares of Wild Boar, I preheated my Traeger to 225 degrees. Again, keeping with the Texas theme, I used Traeger’s Mesquite flavored pellets. While the grill preheated, I seasoned the Wild Boar with Meat Church’s Honey Hog BBQ rub, a seasoning based in Texas. I sprinkled a second coat of Traeger’s Trager Cue rub to add another flavor. It is vital to cover all four sides of the squares when seasoning.
After the meat is seasoned, it is time to transfer to the Traeger Grills Pro 780. I elected to place two metal cookie cooling racks onto the grill grates to prevent smaller pieces from falling through. The cooling racks have small ½” squares that make it the perfect setup.
After all the meat has been placed on the racks, close the lid and let the meat smoke for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until you can squeeze the squares and feel that they are tender. When cooking regular pork belly burnt ends, I have been able to cook them in as little as 2 hours. However, with the Wild Boar, you find higher meat to fat ratio than with regular pork. Which means it will probably take a slightly longer cook time until it is tender. I was close to the 3-hour mark during this particular cook until the meat was at the tenderness that I wanted.
After the meat is to the desired tenderness, remove all the pieces and transfer them to a 12” X 12” foil pan at least 3” tall. After all the pieces are in the pan, add about ¾ of a bottle of Traeger’s Texas Spicy BBQ sauce, or until all the pieces have sauce on them. I don’t want sauce standing in the bottom of the pan; instead, I assured that every piece had been covered. Next, slice a whole stick of unsalted butter and spread it throughout the pan along with ¾ of a cup of brown sugar. Lastly, add four to five teaspoons of honey on the top.
After sauce, butter, brown sugar, and honey have been added, cover the pan with a sheet of foil and place it back in the smoker for 30 to 45 minutes to let all the flavors penetrate the meat. Lastly, remove foil from the top of the pan and continue to cook uncovered for another 30 minutes. The last 30 minutes allows for the sauce to thicken up and to let all the flavors blend.
After the last 30 minutes of cooking, it is time to pull and let the ends rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
The Texas Spicy Wild Boar Pork Belly Burnt Ends produces an explosive amount of flavor. A great piece of quality wild game meat along with the mesquite wood-fired smoke flavors, a Texas-inspired spicy bbq sauce, and a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar and honey was the perfect combination like that of Texas Wild Boar and Barbecue.