Let’s face it, like other game (yes, I call feral hogs game), wild pigs are not all feedlot tender and young. Yes, some are, but lots of them are old and tough — like the boar that Falgoust killed.
Braising is, by far, Falgoust’s favorite way to cook tough cuts of meat.
Braising is simply cooking the meat with a small amount of liquid at a low temperature for a long period of time in a covered pot, he explained.
“Cajuns call it ‘smothering,’” Falgoust. “Braising keeps the meat moist and produces something to make a gravy, the staff of life for a Cajun.
“The long, moist heat breaks down the muscle tissue to tenderize it. Browning the meat before braising it enhances the flavor — it caramelizes the meat surface and makes a good gravy.”
Other liquids besides water or in addition to water can be used, including chicken or beef broth, beer or wine. But, he cautioned, if too much liquid is used it dilutes the taste of the final product.
Falgoust uses plenty of onions in braising meat, but he suggested that other veggies work, too. Celery and garlic are staples, but bell peppers and carrots are good, as well.
“You can probably put potatoes or turnips in,” he said, “but braised game is best served with its gravy over rice.
Braised Pork and Gravy
• 1 7-8 pound fresh ham or front shoulder
• 10-12 cloves peeled garlic
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Cooking oil
• 3 large onions, slivered
• 3 quart chicken stock
Remove the silver skin and connective tissue from the outside of the meat. Make vertical slits in ham and insert whole cloves of garlic into meat. Rub salt and pepper into the meat.
Generously oil the outside of the meat. Let the meat set at room temperature for two hours before cooking to make the finished meat moister.
Place in a large pot and brown in oven at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until the exterior of the meat is well browned. Add onions and ¼ cup of oil around the roast.
Add water about halfway up the side of the roast. Cover the pot, and put it back in the oven after reducing the heat to 350 degrees.
Check the meat, and stir the onions every 15 minutes. When the meat is tender, remove it from the oven, debone the meat and slice it into thick slices.
Return the meat and the bones to the pot and add 3 quart chicken stock. Simmer on top of the stove until gravy is done.
Serve over rice.