Texas Wild Pig Camp Spring 2023
We arrived a day early this camp, meeting in Dallas, then heading up to the ranch near Jacksboro together to help film several segments for an upcoming television program (The Sporting Chef – check it out on The Outdoor Channel, Mondays at 8ET). First things first, we knew we needed to get ourselves a wild pig (disastrously invasive in Texas) for filming (and eating) purposes. Luckily a brazen pig decided to show up close to the lodge right when we did, and with some quick action and a well-placed shot, we had a pig down in less than 8 minutes from arrival. Perfect!
Try our Delicious Wild Fish and Game Spice Blends!
With the pressure off, we processed the pig, then got to catching up; the crew has become quite close after doing a few of these events!
The next day, we harvested a couple more pigs for meat for the camp, then got to filming. We filmed for pretty much the entire day, trying to get it all done before the guests showed up. I must say, I have a newfound respect for those on camera (Harvesting Nature founder Justin Townsend was a champ) and those behind it (the extremely talented Jack Fisher in this case). It’s a lot of work, and very exhausting.
I made a nice big wild pork salad with feta and spinach for everyone to eat at lunch; something nutritious and satisfying to get us all through the day.
That night, after a long day of filming, we cooked up a whole small pig over the fire, flattened and rubbed down in a sauce made from blended kimchi, sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. We enjoyed it on tacos along with some grilled trout caught and brought by camp wrangler Casey Nordine from South Dakota and some grilled oryx donated by the lodge (thanks Brannen and Cheyenne!). Delicious!
The next day, our guests arrived and the real work began. Like usual, we welcomed them with a selection of hors d’oeuvres, all made from wild pig. There was bbq pulled wild pork sushi rolls with pickles and coleslaw, hog’s head rillettes, liver pâté, pulled pork cookies, braised and seared tongue, alligator boudin (compliments of butcher-extraordinaire Adam Steele), and a new one at pig camp, butter-poached and crisped testicles! Like usual, the guests were happy to try the… interesting bits, and all seemed pretty happy.
BBQ pulled pork sushi rolls
Butter poached and crisped wild pig testicles
Wild pulled pork and pork lard cookies!
Wild pork liverwurst
Shooting and safety instruction began directly after the welcome feast so that guests would be ready to get out hunting first thing in the morning. A campfire and more snacks followed afterwards, and we got to know our guests (a great bunch!) a lot better.
We start early at our camps and like to get people out of the door before 5:30am, so breakfast (a continental hodgepodge with lots of coffee) was ready to go by 4:45. The guests continued to hunt every morning and evening for the remainder of the weekend, eventually bringing in an exciting selection of wild pigs which they learned how to process and butcher and got to bring home with them. The staff that remains behind at the camp to cook and prepare their stations are always eagerly awaiting the sound of shots fired. Once heard, we contact the guests in the blinds, then motor out on side-by-side ATVs to help them retrieve their animal. Guests also get free time, where they can take a swim in the ranch’s gorgeous swimming pool, get some more range time, catch a nap, or squeeze the staff for more answers concerning whatever hunting or cooking information they’d like to know more about (something we’re always happy to do!).
Guests also got an amazing ballistics demo by shooting instructor and non-lead partnership representative Leland Brown. Seeing how lead fragments infiltrate the meat through Leland’s demonstration, it seemed like a no-brainer to make the switch over to non-lead bullets.
Lunch the first day was burritos stuffed with wild pork chorizo, roasted jalapeño sour cream, cilantro rice, refried beans, cotija cheese, and guacamole. Lunch was followed by a breakdown of wild pork (and wild game) cooking techniques that every hunter should be employing in the kitchen.
Dinner that night was the first wild pig cooking class, which was pounded wild pork schnitzel with German potato salad and braised red cabbage; a camp favourite. I helped the orange team pound out wild pork leg cutlets until flat using mallets, then pass them through a three-stage coating system and finally into some hot oil to fry. Pounding out pork cutlets to make schnitzel is always a great way to let out some aggression! Some late night Oklahoma onyx onion burgers made by Justin helped fuel everyone through the hunting and pig processing that happened late into the evening after dinner.
A moment of early morning zen with coffee and Big Red the ranch kitty
The next day progressed much the same; an early breakfast, morning hunting, butchering instruction, a tasty lunch of wild pork banh mi sandwiches, a wonderful and frank conversation about conservation and our role as modern-day hunters led by Leland, and then another cooking class, this one ground wild pork Korean lettuce wraps taught by me. As a team we ground up some fresh wild pork, seasoned it with Korean flavors like gochujang, honey, and soy, and cooked it in a giant heap on the flattop grill outside. Guests then scooped up the ground pork and plunked it onto lettuce wraps with other toppings and sauces. Delicious!
Butcher instruction with Adam Steele
Wild pork banh mi sandwiches for lunch!
The green team making up some Wild Pork Korean Lettuce Wraps after freshly grinding the pork
A last evening of hunting and processing was followed by our traditional Saturday night smorgasbord of fun exotic treats, this time it was: bison boudin, seared trout, oryx and axis deer pesto meatballs, grilled moose sirloin with chimichurri, red stag loin with a morel cream sauce, alligator jellyroll steaks, wild hog bologna, pork bath chops, and some jowl bacon, all cooked up by Justin, Adam, and myself. In camps past, we’ve made coyote, rattlesnake, quail, yak, elk, and bison. So much fun!
Oryx and Axis deer pesto meatballs
Seared red stag loin with morel cream sauce
Grilled moose steaks served with chimichurri
Awards were given out to largest pig, smallest pig, and best shot, and everyone got to relax with food and drinks and recount their hunting adventure from the last few days.
The last morning was spent eating wild pork sausage breakfast sandwiches and taking care of the last meat processing. Soon it was time for everyone to go home; always my least favourite part of the camp. Still, I got to hang out with some great friends, cook up a storm, and meet new amazing people who share a similar worldview as I do… what more could I ask for?
Wild pork breakfast sandwiches
After a long and sleepless journey home, I’m finally back and reunited with Kathy and Arrow. After cooking so much at camp, the first meal I made at home was chicken nuggets and some easy fried rice… definitely needed the break!
If you’re interested in joining one of our wild pig camps, click here to learn more. There’s another class happening in December and there are still a few seats available. This class is for anyone, at any skill level. I’d love to see you there!