Musings on a wild boar sandwich

photo(6)

As I walked around Portland this past weekend, I alternatively fueled my strides with coffee, beer, and food. The abundance of food trucks made the latter easy.

At lunchtime on Saturday, my friends and I passed up several food truck clusters in search of the collection of carts encircling an entire city block at SW 9th and Washington. The trucks here are cattycorner to O’Bryant Square, which has plenty of spots to sit.

I made two laps around the block before I settled on the weirdest thing I could find: a wild boar sandwich with arugula and blood orange marmalade, a special menu item from The People’s Pig. The truck has received a good bit of hype for its meaty menu, which includes sandwiches of pork belly, porchetta, and flank steak. All meat is wood fired on the spot, using a mesquite grill, and sandwiched on a bun of homemade sourdough.

A lengthy wait and $10 later, I walked to the square with sandwich in hand. The meat’s mesquite smokiness paired well with the sweet, tangy marmalade, and the slight kick of the arugula added a nice dimension to each bite. But I’m sad to report the incredible potential of these flavors was dampened by the fact that the bread, though tasty, was too chewy and the meat too dry, despite being ladled with some kind of pork juice. My gums and jaw hurt when I finished, and there was too little marmalade for this sauce lover.

Back at home, I researched wild boar, thinking that my sandwich choice was a tasty solution to the overabundance of these nuisance animals. It turns out that commercially available wild boar isn’t truly wild, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture bans the sale of wild animal meat. The Seattle PI reported the “wild” label is a bit of a stretch; generally, these pigs are farm-raised and allowed to scrounge around for “non-cultivated food,” and later trapped for slaughter. Truly wild they are not.

If you’re curious about wild boar too, it’s available locally. Quinn’s Pub has a wild boar sloppy joe, and Volterra serves wild boar tenderloin. You can also pick up frozen wild boar shoulder from Don and Joe’s Meats.