Turning Wild Pig Into Bacon: A Mess Worth Making

“Andy, you are the man in the kitchen,” is what I thought I heard my wife say. I’d just put the packaged bacon in the deep freeze and strutted back into the kitchen not unlike a spring turkey.

“So you dig my bacon, do you?” I cockily said as I slipped a little on some bacon grease in the kitchen.

Reality set in when she repeated herself, “Andy, you are banned from the kitchen.”

I admit, cutting up bacon is a greasy affair and I have certain gift for making monumental messes. Current kitchen restrictions aside, my bacon turned out scrumptious. As a bonus, never have our wooden kitchen floors shined quite like they do now.

I gave you the tools you’ll need to make bacon the other day, here is the process in pictures:

First, shoot a nice fat oinker.
Next, skin said oinker. Be careful not to contaminate the belly.
Plop it down on a big old cutting board.
Trim it up a bit. Might as well save those ends and pieces, they will cure too.
Sprinkle it with 1/4 cup of Ruhlman’s basic dry cure mix.
Smear it with the finest Wisconsin maple syrup you can find. I’m not saying you have to tap your own tree, but don’t use corn syrup being passed off as maple.  Add some brown sugar as well.  `
Look at it from eye level while whispering sweet nothings to it. Then toss in a 2 gallon zip lock bag. Massage and rub every day for a week or until firm.
Gently bathe after seven days.
Smoke until internal temp reaches 150 and not a minute later.
Allow it to cool.  Then slice into whatever size floats your boat.  We like half the commercial length and about twice as thick.  Some we leave in squares to grill and to cut into lardons.
Scoff when people say wild pigs are too lean for bacon.
Be ready for a massive amount of grease to be everywhere or risk losing kitchen privileges
Finally wrap in Saran wrap and butcher paper, then into the freezer. We will go through this fast.
Roasted maple brown sugar bacon–like my other slab, just no smoke. Sliced and ready for breakfast.

Fortunately, my kitchen embargo was short lived, not in small part to the sweet salty masterpieces the afore mention mess produced.  But I say, embrace the grease.  Revel in the fact you are bringing back a lost art and making quite possibly the most flavorful meat in existence.  Just be sure to clean up after yourself.


  1. Nicely done. I am hoping at some point to create an outdoor kitchen for the express purposes of butchering and making messes outside. That way I won’t lose my kitchen privileges, although I happen to be the clean one in the kitchen.

    • Sure Ed. First, they need to have some size on them so the actual belly meat is thick enough. Two pigs I’ve shot recently were about 115 and 150 pounds. The smaller pig was a boar, didnt have as much fat as the 150 sow. Pigs I’ve killed in juniper thickets in the Texas hill country might weigh 120 pounds, but have dang near zero fat. Those wouldnt make very good bacon Id imagine (though I admit I’ve never tried).

      Sows tend to be better eating on average.

      Hunting friends I have will often discard any pig over about 80 pounds, saying they taste bad when they get that big. While some are close to inedible, not every one is by default. To be honest, I’ve yet to kill a pig that was not excellent table fare.

      I recently read that a pig with white and red hasn’t been feral for many generations and were thus better eating –seems to make sense to me.

  2. Thanks for starting my day off with such a big smile! Haha. My husband doesn’t make a ‘mess’ in the sense of the word in the kitchen, but manages to use every single dish and cooking utensil we own when making grilled cheese. It’s mind boggling 🙂 But thanks for posting – we’ve been talking about raising a pig to butcher and this might come in handy if we end up going that route. Take Care!

  3. Being an ex-butcher, I remember that it was strongly suggested that boars be castrated, and sows not be butchered while in heat because the meat takes on a strong taste and smell. Is that true with wild pigs?

  4. “As a bonus, never have our wooden kitchen floors shined quite like they do now.” That had me laughing. Bacon looks great. I haven’t used that recipe for bacon, but I have used his savory one. Good stuff. Did you hot smoke or cold smoke the bacon? I need to get me a pig. They seemed to have vanished off our ranch, though, in the last few years…

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