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Food

Where Y’Eat: Going Whole Hog for Louisiana Wild Boar

Louisiana wild boar, served as a barbecue platter at the New Orleans restaurant Carmo.
Ian McNulty
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Louisiana wild boar, served as a barbecue platter at the New Orleans restaurant Carmo.

Look around and you may see more wild boar on restaurant menus and even now in grocery stores. It’s no coincidence. In fact, it’s all part of a new response to the old problem of a rampant boar population in Louisiana.

First some background on boar: it’s related to your standard domesticated pig, and chefs have been using it in place of pork. But we’re talking about a different animal. On the plate, boar is darker, leaner and more complex and varied in flavor. That’s because in the wild, these boars thrive on forage and roam widely. They’re the epitome of free range.

But that is precisely why they are considered a scourge of the countryside, ransacking corps and plowing up farmland, marshland, even levees when they root with their burly snouts. And they’re everywhere. The state blames boar for many millions of dollars in damage to farms each year. 

Making a food market for boar required a new state inspection process to make sure the meat is safe, and a facility to bring boar captured in the wild to restaurants and groceries. The local company Two Run Farm took that task.

More examples are adding up – smoked boar sandwiches and barbecue platters at Carmo, an Italian wild boar ragu over pasta at Mariza in the Bywater, wild boar salami at Palace Café and pate at Vessel, a new restaurant built in an old New Orleans church, and wild boar sausage with clams at Angeline in the French Quarter. Head upriver to Baton Rouge and you’ll find boar breakfast sausage with your biscuits at Table Kitchen & Bar and wild boar flautas at City Pork – gotta love that name. 

Louisiana has long enlisted its sportsman’s culture to help curtail wild boar numbers through hunting. Now, it’s Louisiana’s food culture that’s getting the call. If boar is unwanted in the brush, it could just become most wanted on the menu.

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