Robert Anderson had no use for the feral hogs he caught on his Cleburne spread a couple of weeks ago, so he had the critters hauled off.
“I don’t want to eat ’em,” said Anderson, who also didn’t want to kill and pay to process the 65- to 70-pound pigs that were eating his deer corn. “You can go to Walmart and get ... Black Forest ham cheaper than that.”
But the peripatetic porkers didn’t go to waste: they became a link in the food chain.
“They make an excellent smoked sausage,” said Tim Bruce, whose Joshua Deer Processing has cut up about 400 feral hogs this year. “We started doing hams five or six years ago. They are outstanding.”
Hunters aren’t the only ones who are hog wild. Thanks to some canny marketing, consumers around the world are paying through the snout for a taste of the free-range Texas treat and begging for more.
“Good marketing has everything to do with catching the consumer’s interest,” Eric Nauwelaers, president of Frontier Meats in Fort Worth, wrote in an email. “Both words, ‘wild’ and ‘boar’ catch the attention of anyone who grew up eating domestically raised pork. We believe that wild boar consumption will continue to soar above other game categories because it offers the general public a meat choice that is easy to accept by being similar to popular domestic pork. However, it takes the next step by bringing a rich nutty flavor to the table due to its natural grazing habits. The product sells itself due to being ‘all natural’ by default, lean with healthy attributes and adds a sense of excitement to the eating experience.”
A key to converting the animals from marauding menace to menu item was surprisingly simple: a name change to wild boar from feral hog.