In our Wild Boar Test Kitchen, Jade and Liv tried different cooking techniques for bone-in wild boar legs. Boar is typically paired with game-friendly flavors like rosemary and sage, fennel, and juniper berries, so Jade crafted this Chinese barbecue-inspired recipe to experiment with different ingredient and flavor pairings. The result is an easy way to cook a whole boar leg that’s exploding with flavor.
“Char siu is a mainstay in Chinatowns and Cantonese restaurants. The marinade is made with strong seasonings (five spice, nam yue, hoisin and soy sauce) that hold up well to the flavor of wild boar.” Jade
Pinot Noir or Grenache
Commonly prepared with pork cuts like shoulder, belly, or Boston Butt, wild boar was historically used in ancient versions of this recipe. Though boar leg is leaner than pork, the results are equally delicious!
Whisk together the first ten ingredients in a pan or dish that’s large enough to hold the entire boar leg. Add the leg and turn to coat, spooning the marinade over the leg.
Refrigerate and marinade for 24 hours. Rotate the leg and spoon marinade over top about halfway through marinating (this is especially important if the dish is shallow and the leg isn’t fully submerged).
Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Remove the leg from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinating liquid.
Line a roasting pan with foil and place the leg on a roasting rack set inside the pan.
“The depth of the pan doesn’t really matter, as long as the leg is slightly elevated on a rack so that air can circulate. A deeper pan can be really helpful to protect the meat because it’s so lean and there’s no skin that needs to get crispy.”
Roast for 20-25 minutes until the leg is starting to brown.
While the leg is roasting, pour the marinade through a mesh strainer into a small pot.
Bring the marinade to a boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
After 20-25 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Remove the leg from the oven and baste on both sides with the cooked marinade.
Return the leg to the oven and baste with the cooked marinade every 30-40 minutes. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 150-155°F on an instant read thermometer. (Our leg took 3 hours.)
If needed, broil for 3-5 minutes to caramelize the glaze. (Watch closely so it doesn’t burn!)
In our Wild Boar Test Kitchen, Liv and Jade drew recipe and ingredient inspiration from around the globe. For this recipe, Liv was inspired by some of our Vietnamese customers who order whole boar for community parties and cookouts. We wanted to experience and experiment with that flavor combination while keeping it manageable in our test kitchen.
“I make bun at home a lot, but I wanted to go a bit further than I normally do on a weeknight. The tenderloin is extremely easy to use. I really want to try grilling this recipe now!”Liv
Servings: 4 Bun Bowls
Gewürztraminer or Riesling
This recipe is light, fresh and flavorful. Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter or intimidate you. The components are quick to prep, cook and assemble. The tenderloin is naturally tender, and the marinade adds great flavor and seasoning to the boar meat.
1 Thai or Serrano Chile, thinly sliced, divided (remove the seeds if you want it to be less spicy)
2 Limes, juiced
1 tbsp Red Boat Fish Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 Garlic Clove, peeled & grated using a microplane
½-inch knob of Ginger, peeled & grated using a microplane
1 Thai Chile, thinly sliced
2 ounces Rice Vermicelli Noodles
16 Bibb Lettuce Leaves (about 2 heads)
1 cup Cilantro Leaves
1 cup sliced English Cucumber
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1/3 cup chopped Unsalted Dry-Roasted Peanuts
16 Basil Leaves
16 Mint Leaves
2 Thai or Red Serrano Chiles, thinly sliced
Marinate the Tenderloin:
Pulse the first six marinade ingredients in a food processor.
With the motor running, add the soy sauce, fish sauce and oil to the food processor and process until fully combined.
Pour the marinade into a shallow dish or large zip-top bag. Add the tenderloin and turn to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour.
Make the Pickled Carrots and Nuoc Chom:
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic and sliced chiles until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the sliced carrots and toss to coat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
Combine all nuoc chom ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to use as either a dressing or dipping sauce.
Prepare the Tenderloin:
Remove the tenderloin from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you preheat your oven to 400°F and heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
When the skillet is hot, remove the tenderloin from the marinade and brown on all sides.
Finish in the oven for 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.*
Remove the tenderloin to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Thinly slice to serve.
While the tenderloin is in the oven, prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package directions and shock in cold water. Coat lightly with oil to prevent them from sticking.
To serve, assemble plates with a bundle of cooked noodles, slices of tenderloin, a few lettuce leaves, and all of the sides. Toss together like a salad and drizzle with the nuoc chom, or eat like lettuce wraps and dip in the sauce.
* The USDA recommends cooking all game meats (including boar) to an internal temperature of 160°F and all whole cuts of pork to 145°F, followed by at least a 3-minute rest. In our Boar Test Kitchen, we found that pulling the boar when the internal temperature reached 145° – 150° F and letting rest for 3-5 minutes yielded the most enjoyable result.
In our Wild Boar Test Kitchen, Jade and Liv tried different cooking techniques for bone-in wild boar legs. Drawing inspiration from a classic Italian recipe, maiale al latte (pork in milk), Liv used part of a de-boned leg. The results were incredibly tasty (so much so that we couldn’t resist scooping and eating some of the sauce straight from the pan!). The meat, unfortunately, was dry. So we refined this recipe to use either boneless shoulders or hindshanks. These cuts have a bit more fat and connective tissue that breaks down during cooking, yielding more tender and moist results.
“I was inspired by our talk about whether you should treat boar like pork or like game. I’ve used this recipe before for pork. I think cubing the leg would be better, so all parts are able to be submerged in the fatty cooking liquid. This recipe was very good, but ultimately not ideal. I think it would have worked better with shoulder or all shanks.”Liv
There are lots of variations on this classic recipe: some versions include sage or rosemary, lemon peel or garlic, white wine, a glug of heavy cream or even bacon. We kept our version simple to test the process and let the flavor of the wild boar shine. This recipe requires patience and a close watch — you want the milk to caramelize into a delicious nutty and toasty sauce, but it can quickly end up burnt if you don’t keep an eye on it. The recipe might feel counterintuitive at times, but the results are well worth it! A thick, cozy and comforting sauce that envelopes tender, ever-so-slightly sweet meat.
Optional: 2oz Bacon or Pancetta, chopped (2-3 slices, depending on thickness)
2 ½ cups (or more) Whole Milk
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Start with a small to medium-sized heavy bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) that’s just big enough for the leg (or other chosen cuts) to fit snuggly.
If using bacon or pancetta, cook until the pieces are crispy and the fat has rendered.
Pour off most of the fat, keeping 2-3 tablespoons in the pot. Add extra oil if needed, or heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until the butter stops foaming (if you’re not using the bacon fat).
Add the boar and brown on all sides.
Season with salt and pepper and very slowly add one cup of milk to prevent it from boiling over. Let the milk bubble for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
Watch closely to see if you need to adjust the temperature. The liquid should be very, very gently simmering. (“Like champagne bubbles,” says Liv. “A few small bubbles here and there.”)
Turn the boar occasionally and cook for about an hour until the sauce is mostly evaporated and thickened to nut brown clusters. The bacon fat will render during cooking, so you may need to tilt the pan around to see the milk and clusters past the layer of fat. Don’t skim the fat!
“It seems counterintuitive. It seems silly to have so much fat in the pan. This is a very old Italian recipe, so who knows if there’s a reason or if this is just how it has always been done, but it will all work out in the end.”
Slowly add another cup of milk, turning the meat again and stirring the sauce. Scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure there are no milk clusters stuck that might burn.
Cook for 30 minutes, turning occasionally with the lid slightly ajar. When all the liquid has evaporated and thickened again, add the remaining half cup of milk.
Continue cooking until the boar is tender when poked with a fork and all of the milk has thickened to dark clusters.
Remove the boar to a cutting boar and let it rest for a few minutes.
Skim or pour off most of the fat (surprisingly, there shouldn’t be much), making sure to leave the darkened milk clusters. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and stir, scraping the browned bits on the bottom. Whisk if desired to emulsify the sauce (it won’t completely emulsify, but should appear thick and creamy, like gravy).
Remove the butcher’s twine, if you used it, and thinly slice the boar. Spoon the sauce over the boar.
Serve with broccolini, sautéed kale or another bright slightly bitter green, and polenta or potatoes.
In our Rabbit Test Kitchen, we were inspired to go beyond traditional braising recipes for rabbit. Liv tested grilling boneless saddles and bone-in hind legs and the results were a surprising success!
“I am a big fan of rabbit. They’re sustainable to produce and I think they should be a go-to protein in the US. This grilling recipe is a great way to cook rabbit that doesn’t require hours of prep or cooking time, like a braise might.”Liv
Short intro to the recipe itself: You can use any mix of cuts for this recipe, but we recommend hind legs (these are the meatiest cuts), boneless saddles or striploins, which will stay succulent and tender during grilling.
In a large Ziploc bag or glass dish, combine the first six ingredients (everything except the rabbit pieces) to make the marinade.
Add the rabbit pieces to the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (If you’re using legs, let marinate for 1 hour. Smaller pieces like the boneless saddles only need about half an hour.)
Light a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium heat.
About 30 minutes before grilling, remove the rabbit from the fridge and let the meat come to room temp. (You don’t need to remove it from the marinade yet.) This will help reduce overall grilling time and prevent overcooking the rabbit.
When you’re ready to grill, remove the rabbit pieces from the marinade and shake off excess. Reserve the marinade in a small bowl for basting the meat during grilling.
If using boneless saddles: Wrap the thin belly flap around the striploin (the meatier part) and secure with two skewers. Add 2-4 saddles per skewer, keeping about an inch between pieces.
Place hind legs on the grill first, as they’ll take 20-22 minutes total. Add the boneless saddles, if using, about 10 minutes after the legs (they’ll need about 12 minutes total).
“I banked the coals on one side for better control. It’s helpful to be able to remove pieces from direct heat to avoid overcooking them.”
Turn the rabbit pieces every 3-4 minutes, brushing with additional marinade each time. (Discard any remaining marinade after grilling.)
Remove the rabbit from the grill when the outside is nicely charred and the internal temperature reaches 150°F.
Let the rabbit rest for a few minutes before serving.
Drawing inspiration from traditional recipes, Liv created an updated version using only hind legs (instead of a whole rabbit) and fresh in-season summer ingredients to lighten the flavor profile and give it a modern twist.
“The legs are super nice and really easy to work with right out of the package. You can serve them without having to pull them apart or shred the meat. It’s nice for everyone to get a leg.”Liv
Est! Est!! Est !!! di Montefiascone
Cacciatore, an Italian hunter-style stew, was traditionally made with wild hare. This version is an easy weeknight-friendly braise that takes about an hour. Liv served this with Fresh Corn Polenta from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty. You can serve this with regular polenta, mashed potatoes or thick slices of crusty bread to enjoy every last bit of the delicious sauce.
1-2 medium-sized Heirloom or Beefsteak tomatoes, medium dice
1 whole Zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 sprig Fresh Rosemary
1 Sprig Fresh Sage
2 Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the rabbit legs on both sides until browned.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the anchovy fillets and tomato paste. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the anchovies have completely dissolved and the tomato paste darkens in color (it should be brick red, almost brown).
Add the white wine to the pot to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.
Add the rabbit legs back to the pot, and add the white wine vinegar, garlic, diced tomatoes and herbs.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce temperature to a simmer.
Simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens enough to just coat the back of a spoon.
About five minutes before the sauce is ready, add the zucchini to the pot.
If the sauce isn’t reducing but the meat is tender, remove the meat from the pan and keep warm on a plate tented in foil while the sauce continues to cook.
In our Rabbit Test Kitchen, Jade and Liv drew inspiration from traditional recipes and preparations for classic bone-in cuts like hind legs and whole fryers. Rabbit isn’t commonly used in Filipino adobo (usually it is made with chicken or pork), so using it here gave us the opportunity to see how the flavor and texture compares.
“Breaking down a whole rabbit was much easier than I expected. If you know the basics of butchering a whole chicken, you can break down a rabbit no problem.” Jade
Servings: 3 Entrée Servings
A flavorful way to cook a whole rabbit, this is an easy weeknight-friendly braise that takes about an hour total. One whole rabbit is a generous serving for two people, and will comfortably serve three.
1 tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp Water (optional)
Break Down the Rabbit
Using a sharp boning knife or chef’s knife, remove the fore (front) legs first. Place the rabbit on its side with the foreleg facing up, toward you. Pull the leg away from the carcass and feel for the natural seem between the leg and the rib cage. Cut through the seam, keeping the blade against the ribs. Use your other hand to pull the leg away as you cut. Cut around the leg until it’s fully separated.
Flip the rabbit and repeat with the other foreleg.
Remove the hind legs next. Place the rabbit on its back and carefully use the tip of your knife to make small shallow cuts along the interior of the leg until you hit the joint. Repeat on the other side until you’ve cut all the connections around the joint. Grab the leg and pop the joint by bending the leg backwards. Use your knife to cut through the exposed joint and fully remove the leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Separate the rack from the saddle. Place the rabbit with its back facing up on your cutting board. Place your blade across the spine just after the last rib and press down to separate.
You can leave the rack and saddle sections whole, or separate them each into two pieces by cutting through the spine in roughly the center of each section. If desired, slice the belly flaps away from the lower saddle. (You can add them to the braise and remove before serving, or set them aside to flavor a stock or thinly slice for use in a stir fry.)
For a step-by-step guide on how to break down a whole rabbit, check out our video series on YouTube!
Cook the Rabbit
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, sear the rabbit on both sides.
Remove the last batch of rabbit from the pot and add the vinegar, soy sauce and water to the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic and onions to the pot and stir to combine. Add all the rabbit pieces back to the pot and stir so they’re coated in the sauce.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cover the pot and braise the rabbit for 50 to 60 minutes until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking to help the sauce thicken.
If you want to thicken the sauce further, stir in the cornstarch slurry.
You can leave all the pieces in the braise, or remove the less meaty bits before serving (the bonier parts of the upper saddle with the shoulder and racks, and the thin belly flaps if you added them earlier).
In our Rabbit Test Kitchen, Jade and Liv explored modern and unexpected techniques for cooking rabbit. With an unfortunate reputation for being bland and very dry, we were delighted to discover that boneless striploins stay succulent and are a tasty alternative white meat for deep-frying.
“These fried rabbit strips are like deluxe chicken tenders. Boneless rabbit striploins are ready to use right out of the package, and their uniform shape makes for easy, even cooking. Plus, who needs ketchup or honey mustard when you can have bacon gravy instead?”Jade
Move over chicken tenders, we think these chicken-fried rabbit strips are our new favorite! The gravy is also great way to use any bacon drippings you’ve been saving.
In our Venison Test Kitchen, Staff Culinarian Liv created this recipe to find a way to make a quicker-cooking weeknight-friendly chili and to test how Venison Denver Leg cuts compared to traditional slow-cooking cuts (such as the shoulder).
“I wanted to use big chunks. A lot of recipes call for ground venison. Initially, I was skeptical about how the chili would turn out. I’ve made venison chili before but used the shoulder, which is tougher and more obviously suited for braising. The Denver leg worked really well! It didn’t get too dried out, held its texture well, and was nice and tender but toothsome. It was a good contrast to the squash and beans.”Liv
Liv worked with flavors that pair well with venison — tomatoes, sweetness from the butternut squash, and wine. This resulted in a chili that was warmly spiced and comforting with a familiar flavor profile that everyone in our office loved!
2 dried Guajillo Chiles
1 dried Ancho Chile
1 Dried Pasilla Chile
4-5 cups Chicken Broth, divided
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2lb Venison Denver Leg, cut into ½-inch pieces
Kosher Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
1 small Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
6 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 Yellow Onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Dried Oregano
½ cup light Red Wine, such as Pinot Noir
2 cups cooked Kidney Beans (or 1 14oz can)
1 28oz can Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes
To Serve (optional):
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Red Onion
Bring 2 cups of broth to a simmer.
Toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Press down on the chiles so they make contact with the pan and flip occasionally until the chiles are darkened and soft, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the chiles to a bowl and cover with the hot broth. Let side for 30 minutes.
While the chiles are soaking, prepare the butternut squash and start the chili:
Preheat the the oven to 425°F. Toss the butternut squash cubes with 1-2 tbsp of oil and roast until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. (Flip or toss about halfway through cooking to prevent the squash from burning on one side.)
Heat a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the venison cubes with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pot. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer venison to a plate and cook off any remaining liquid, if any. (Alternatively, wipe out the pot.)
Drain the chiles, saving the broth. Remove the stems and seeds, then transfer the chiles and the reserved broth to a blender. Add 2 cups extra broth and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in the pot or Dutch oven and add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes. Deglaze with a bit of water if necessary to get all of the browned bits (the fond) off the bottom of the pan. Add the cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the venison cubes back to the pot and add the wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is almost completely reduced.
Add the chili puree and bring back up to a boil. Add the tomatoes, breaking up with a spoon. Add the roasted squash and beans. Reduce the chili to a simmer and cook until the meat is tender and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 1 hour. Add more broth if needed to keep the meat submerged.
Serve with cornbread or chips and garnish with sour cream, cheese, onions and cilantro.
In our Venison Test Kitchen, our Staff Culinarian Liv created this recipe to test cooking part of the Venison Denver Leg like a steak. She used the topside, a thick steak-like muscle that averages between 1.5-2 pounds. It has a distinctive grain similar to beef flank steak. For this recipe, she kept the topside whole to ensure a beautiful pink medium-rare center but this cut can easily be butterflied (cut in half length-wise) and cooked similar to flank steak.
“The cut was so tender that you could actually eat the taco without pulling out a mouthful of steak with each bite. I was really surprised by how tender it was.”Liv
Liv thinly sliced the topside for tacos, but this steak marinade is versatile. You can serve it like a steak with different side dishes such as rice, beans, and avocados, or whatever you like to eat alongside steak!
In a gallon-sized resealable bag, combine the lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, soy sauce, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno and vinegar. Seal and shake or squeeze the bag to mix.
Put the venison in the bag and move around to thoroughly coat. Refrigerate and marinate for 2-4 hours.
Heat an outdoor grill, grill pan, cast iron skillet or broiler to high heat.
Remove the venison from the marinade. Discard the excess marinate.
Cook the venison steak for 7-10 minutes per side, until it reaches your desired internal temperature. (We recommend not cooking venison over medium.)
“I pulled the topside out at 118-120F and it turned out well. It was definitely medium-rare, which is what I had wanted. That’s not everyone’s preference, so I’d say for the recipe to pull it at 125-135F. I wouldn’t go higher than that.”
Let rest for ten minutes. Thinly slice against the grain and serve.
In our Venison Test Kitchen, Test Kitchen Manager Jade created this recipe to experiment stir-frying cubed Venison Denver Leg. For this recipe, she cut the Top Sirloin into cubes. Easy and quick to cook, this dish was impressively delicious (and quickly devoured by the Marx Foods staff!).
“Venison is great for stir fry. I definitely recommend using the top sirloin here. Removing the silverskin left me with two lobes of meat that would be tricky to use whole. It’s perfect for cutting into cubes for stir fry or stew!”Jade
When the wok is hot, this recipe comes together in mere minutes. Take time while the venison is marinating to measure out and prep all of the ingredients and set up your mise en place to make the cooking process quick and nearly effortless.
10-12 whole Dried Chiles, seeds & stems removed (we used de arbol chiles)
½ cup Roasted Peanuts
For the Sauce:
1 tsp Cornstarch
½ tsp Sugar
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp Water
Combine the venison cubes, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, water and cornstarch in a mixing bowl and stir to coat.
Marinate for 15-30 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Add peanut oil to a wok or large cast iron skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
Fry the peppercorns in the oil until darkened and the oil is fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
“I’m toasting the Szechuan peppercorns in the oil. I personally don’t like having whole peppercorns in my finished dish. They’re unpleasant to bite into. When you do this, you still get the mala without having to keep them in and risk biting into them.”
Strain the peppercorns from the oil (reserve the oil). Set the peppercorns aside to garnish the finished dish, or discard if desired.
Reserve 1 tbsp of oil for later use. There should be about 1 tbsp of oil remaining in the wok.
Increase the heat to medium-high.
When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the venison and cook undisturbed for 30-45 seconds until seared on one side.
Stir the venison and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from the wok and transfer to a plate or bowl.
Carefully wipe out the wok, then add the reserved 1 tbsp of oil, scallions, ginger, garlic, chiles and peanuts to the wok. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
Add the sauce and venison back to the wok. Stir to combine and cook until the venison is medium-rare and the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.