Wild Boar Wet-Cure with Herbal Infusion
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
What’s the difference between a wet cure and a wet rub? Wet curing, also known as brining, is great for adding moisture and juiciness to wild game. It achieves three things: imparts flavor by the addition of aromatics and spices, tenderizes by breaking down muscle proteins, and perhaps most importantly, it allows the softened tissue to retain moisture during the cooking process. This is critical when when the cooking method involves smoking wild boar loin for Irish bacon.
Wet rubs, also know as marinades, or pastes, are best used on muscular cuts as they break down the muscle fiber.The purpose of marinating is to tenderize and add flavor. Marinades appreciate a good massage, so get in there with your mitts and rub it up. Whether the application is a wet cure or a wet rub, with methods require a resting of 2-24 hours. Refrigerate as necessary.
Here's my wet-cure recipe for wild boar hams and loins.
1/2 heaping tablespoon of peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 heaping tablespoon of juniper berries
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
2-3 whole cloves
2 quarts cold water
Sodium nitrate #1
To make the herbal infusion that will flavor the brine, in a small saucepan combine:
1 1/2 cups water
Heat the tea to a boil and then simmer 5-10 minutes.
While the infusion is simmering, add ½ Tablespoon of pink sodium nitrite #1 to the reserved water. Nitrite makes meat less prone to bacteria and enhances color. (Nitrite #1 is for fast release and short cure times. It is used in brining, smoking, and canning. Nitrite #2 is slow release and suited for dry cured meats like salami, prosciutto, etc, that require aging. ) For more on Sodium Nitrite and it’s use in curing meat, please see the fact sheet at The Meat Institute
Remove the tea from the stove and pour into the reserved water.
Drop in the wild boar loin to prepare it for wild boar Irish bacon rashers. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours. Once the wet cure is complete, both the ham and the loin will be ready for the smoker.