Javelina meat can be very gamey, especially if the boar is older. Ideally, you want to harvest young, smaller peccary if you plan on smoking this type of meat.
Many people shy away from Javelina meat because the taste can be off-putting if the right cooking technique is not used. As pointed out on the Smoking Meat Forums, the most important thing is to make sure that the boar’s hair never touches the meat. If you’re hunting the boar yourself and will be skinning it yourself, this can be hard to do. Another option is to rinse the meat immediately after skinning to remove the contamination. The reason for this is because Javelina have scent glands in their hair that produce a pungent odor. Their eyesight is poor, so they rely on this scent gland to keep track of their herd.
Smoking Javelina: The Process Explained
Javelina can be smoked or cooked the same way you would cook deer or other game meat.
Brining Recipe For Javelina
You may want to consider brining the meat before smoking it to improve moisture retention and flavor.
Here’s a basic brining recipe that you can use for Javelina meat:
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup of table salt
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- Aromatics (garlic, peppercorns, herbs, onions, bay leaves, etc)
When brining the meat, you’ll want to soak it in the solution for between 12 and 24 hours in the refrigerator. If you plan on smoking legs or shoulders, soaking overnight is ideal. Once the meat is finished soaking, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry. Before smoking, you’ll want to trim the meat and add your desired rubs or spices.
Smoking Wood and Making Javelina Meat More Flavorful
There are a few ways to lock in moisture and add flavor to your meat.
- Barding – With barding, you cover the meat with bacon or other fats while it cooks. This is ideal for very lean meats as the bacon makes up for the fat the meat is lacking. The only drawback here is that the meat may wind up tasting more like bacon than the Javelina meat.
- Wrapping – Many people wrap their meat tightly in foil after the meat has smoked for a few hours. This prevents the moisture from evaporating into the open air. This is also a great way to capture some juice to use in a sauce.
- Basting – Basting involves periodically coating the meat with a liquid. This helps add more flavor and moisture to the meat. Basting liquids with sugar, like BBQ sauces, should only be added during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to avoid burning the sugar.
As for smoking wood choices, any hardwood will suffice. Hickory and oak are the most popular choices. Don’t forget to soak your wood chips in water a few hours before you start smoking.
Extra Tips For The Smoking Process
Prepare your smoker as you normally would. Smoking at a temperature between 200 F and 225 F is best as this will slow cook the meat. Once you reach an internal temperature of 180 F, you want to keep it at this temperature for an hour.
Cooking time is generally 1.5 – 2 hours per pound, but your time may vary depending on how thick your meat is and whether or not you’re smoking with the bone-in or out.
If you want, you can smoke the meat at a lower temperature, but the cooking time will be extended greatly. Cooking at temperatures above 250, on the other hand, will cook the meat too quickly, and the meat will start to dry out.
The final cooking temperature should be 190 F.