Apple Braised Hog

Apple Braised Hog

  • Course

    Main

  • Serves

    4
Chef’s notes

I was lucky enough to acquire a suckling feral hog recently. I specifically use the term acquire in this particular situation because I didn’t shoot or trap it. One evening out in the Texas Hill Country, my Deutsch Drahthaar disappeared into the wilderness to explore, as he often does. Minutes later we heard a squeal, and the next thing I know my boy is heeled up next to my husband delivering the pig to hand. I was grateful that he found a young hog that night and not a feisty mature boar, but I also couldn’t contain my excitement at the thought of how tender it was going to be once cooked.

I decided to gently braise the meat in flavors of fall since the weather has finally started to cool down. Sweet apple, sage, and warm spices such as cinnamon and clove make the base of this flavorful broth.  Even though I used a very young hog, this recipe is pretty versatile and any small game will work. You can sub in quartered rabbits, a handful of squirrels, or if you have a large boar you can just cook the shoulder/hind leg.

Because wild game is so lean, it helps to brine before cooking. This brings out the juices and can actually work to denature the muscle fibers in the meat. I do a really simple dry brine the day before cooking by rubbing a little salt over the meat and letting it rest overnight in the fridge. If you do a true liquid brine with a higher concentration of salt, you will want to rinse the meat off before cooking. As always, when cooking something for long periods of time in a reducing liquid, wait to season with salt at the very end to taste.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. of meat: 1 small hog, shoulder/hind leg from larger pig or 3 rabbits (quartered)
  • 2 apples, cut into large wedges
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in half root to tip and then sliced into 1/4” half rings
  • 4 cup poultry stock (add more if needed)
  • 1 cup apple brandy
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper

Also works with

small game

Preparation

  1. Rinse and pat the meat very dry with paper towels. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven or pot over high heat. Once hot, lay the quartered pieces down to brown on each side. Do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove all the meat and reduce the heat to medium.
  2. Add the sliced onions and apple wedges and cook until they almost start to caramelize. Pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond at the bottom, and let the alcohol boil off for a few minutes. Add the stock, sage, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.  Return the meat to the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 2 or more hours. About halfway through this cooking process I remove the lid so that the liquids can start to reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste at the end of cooking and season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Chef’s notes

I was lucky enough to acquire a suckling feral hog recently. I specifically use the term acquire in this particular situation because I didn’t shoot or trap it. One evening out in the Texas Hill Country, my Deutsch Drahthaar disappeared into the wilderness to explore, as he often does. Minutes later we heard a squeal, and the next thing I know my boy is heeled up next to my husband delivering the pig to hand. I was grateful that he found a young hog that night and not a feisty mature boar, but I also couldn’t contain my excitement at the thought of how tender it was going to be once cooked.

I decided to gently braise the meat in flavors of fall since the weather has finally started to cool down. Sweet apple, sage, and warm spices such as cinnamon and clove make the base of this flavorful broth.  Even though I used a very young hog, this recipe is pretty versatile and any small game will work. You can sub in quartered rabbits, a handful of squirrels, or if you have a large boar you can just cook the shoulder/hind leg.

Because wild game is so lean, it helps to brine before cooking. This brings out the juices and can actually work to denature the muscle fibers in the meat. I do a really simple dry brine the day before cooking by rubbing a little salt over the meat and letting it rest overnight in the fridge. If you do a true liquid brine with a higher concentration of salt, you will want to rinse the meat off before cooking. As always, when cooking something for long periods of time in a reducing liquid, wait to season with salt at the very end to taste.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. of meat: 1 small hog, shoulder/hind leg from larger pig or 3 rabbits (quartered)
  • 2 apples, cut into large wedges
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in half root to tip and then sliced into 1/4” half rings
  • 4 cup poultry stock (add more if needed)
  • 1 cup apple brandy
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper

Also works with

small game

Preparation

  1. Rinse and pat the meat very dry with paper towels. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven or pot over high heat. Once hot, lay the quartered pieces down to brown on each side. Do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove all the meat and reduce the heat to medium.
  2. Add the sliced onions and apple wedges and cook until they almost start to caramelize. Pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond at the bottom, and let the alcohol boil off for a few minutes. Add the stock, sage, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.  Return the meat to the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 2 or more hours. About halfway through this cooking process I remove the lid so that the liquids can start to reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste at the end of cooking and season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Essential Meatcrafter™️ Knife
Save this product
Shop Now
Meater+ Bluetooth Thermometer
Save this product
Shop Now
7 Pack Seasonings Gift Pack
Save this product
Shop Now
The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook
Save this product
Penguin Random House
$35.00
Shop Now
Save this recipe

Apple Braised Hog

Recipe by: Danielle Prewett
Apple Braised Hog
  • Course

    Main

  • Serves

    4
Chef’s notes

I was lucky enough to acquire a suckling feral hog recently. I specifically use the term acquire in this particular situation because I didn’t shoot or trap it. One evening out in the Texas Hill Country, my Deutsch Drahthaar disappeared into the wilderness to explore, as he often does. Minutes later we heard a squeal, and the next thing I know my boy is heeled up next to my husband delivering the pig to hand. I was grateful that he found a young hog that night and not a feisty mature boar, but I also couldn’t contain my excitement at the thought of how tender it was going to be once cooked.

I decided to gently braise the meat in flavors of fall since the weather has finally started to cool down. Sweet apple, sage, and warm spices such as cinnamon and clove make the base of this flavorful broth.  Even though I used a very young hog, this recipe is pretty versatile and any small game will work. You can sub in quartered rabbits, a handful of squirrels, or if you have a large boar you can just cook the shoulder/hind leg.

Because wild game is so lean, it helps to brine before cooking. This brings out the juices and can actually work to denature the muscle fibers in the meat. I do a really simple dry brine the day before cooking by rubbing a little salt over the meat and letting it rest overnight in the fridge. If you do a true liquid brine with a higher concentration of salt, you will want to rinse the meat off before cooking. As always, when cooking something for long periods of time in a reducing liquid, wait to season with salt at the very end to taste.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. of meat: 1 small hog, shoulder/hind leg from larger pig or 3 rabbits (quartered)
  • 2 apples, cut into large wedges
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in half root to tip and then sliced into 1/4” half rings
  • 4 cup poultry stock (add more if needed)
  • 1 cup apple brandy
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper

Also works with

small game

Preparation

  1. Rinse and pat the meat very dry with paper towels. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven or pot over high heat. Once hot, lay the quartered pieces down to brown on each side. Do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove all the meat and reduce the heat to medium.
  2. Add the sliced onions and apple wedges and cook until they almost start to caramelize. Pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond at the bottom, and let the alcohol boil off for a few minutes. Add the stock, sage, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.  Return the meat to the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 2 or more hours. About halfway through this cooking process I remove the lid so that the liquids can start to reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste at the end of cooking and season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.