Whether he’s out in the field or in the kitchen at his Austin restaurant Dai Due Butcher Shop and Supper Club, chef, hunter, and author Jesse Griffiths spends his days in the pursuit and preparation of wild game. Griffiths describes this recipe, from The Hog Book, his forthcoming cookbook and manifesto on Texas’s overabundant wild pig population, as basically the “taco meat” from his youth.
“This cumin-heavy, chile-spiced ground meat really shines in that crunchy corn tortilla shell, garnished with lettuce (better be iceberg), tomatoes, cheese, and maybe avocado,” Griffiths writes.
Wild Boar Picadillo
2 tablespoons lard or oil
2 pounds ground boar
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (grind it twice for the more traditional picadillo size)
1 teaspoon guajillo chile powder
½ cup canned tomatoes
1 large potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
12 crispy taco shells (store-bought or fry your own)
2 cups shredded cheddar, queso Menonita, or jack cheese
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 avocados, sliced
salsa of your choice
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the lard or oil over high heat. Once hot, add the ground meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, onion, cumin, oregano, chile, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender and the spices are fragrant, about 4 more minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, potato, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until the potato is very tender and the picadillo is reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.
Serve in crisp tortilla shells with cheese (place the cheese on the bottom, followed by the hot picadillo, so the cheese melts and glues the taco together), lettuce, tomato, avocado, and salsa.
This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “High on the Hog.” Subscribe today.