Boar-Necked Spaghetti Recipe
This is a simple way to put a hog or venison neck to good use. One average sized neck, coupled with a pound of sausage, will easily serve 6-8 people. A crock-pot is the most carefree method, so use one if you have it.
- 1 average size hog or venison neck
- 1 lb Italian sausage of your choice (can be Turkey if you want to reduce fat)
- 2) 45oz jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I like tomato/onion/garlic)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning to taste
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Splenda powder (can use sugar if opposed to sweeteners)
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- Hot sauce to taste
- Pasta of choice
Step 1: Take out your crock-pot and set to high.
Add the bottles of pasta sauce so they can begin heating up. This will keep the cooking process going when we finish the next step and put it all together (thank Grandma for that tip). Add a little water to the pasta bottles, just enough to get the leftover sauce loosened up and combine into one bottle. Set aside for next step.
Step 2: Trim the neck.
Cut as many stew-sized pieces of meat from the neck as possible (don’t worry about getting every scrap since the crock-pot will help with that).
Take this time to trim away any excess fat.
Step 3: Once you have your “stew” meat set aside and the meaty bone trimmed out, start heating your oil in a deep pot.
Dust your meat, including the bone, with Zatarain’s and cayenne pepper. I am not one to take measurements when it comes to seasoning meat, so just use your best judgment.
Once your oil is just barely smoking add the stew meat and cook on both sides until browned, about 3-5 minutes. This should add a brown crust to the sides of your meat, so make sure you cook long enough to see that.
Step 4: Throw in the sausage and stir everything together. The sausage will release some fat that will help prevent burning if you keep stirring occasionally.
Be careful not to let anything burn because now you are going to add your onions, and you don’t want burned bits floating around.
Stir the onions in with the meat and cook until the edges start to caramelize (brown), then add your meaty bones to the pot, browning as best you can.
Throw in the garlic and cook just long enough to darken slightly.
Step 5: Grab that bottle of “water-sauce” and slowly add it to the pot, being careful not to make it too watery. Let this mixture stew down for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often to make sure it does not stick. If you start to notice some sticking, add more “water-sauce.”
Empty the whole pot into the crock-pot, making sure to stir everything together. Add the fennel, sweetener, hot sauce (optional), and bay leaves.
Step 6: This is where your personal preference comes into play. You can either have a meat sauce with mostly shredded pork, or fork tender chunks of stew meat.
A) Meat Sauce: I prefer to let the meat and sauce cook on high for about 5 hours, which results in the meat falling off the bone and breaking apart as I stir. This creates a meat sauce with only a few pieces of stew meat remaining intact. I like to let everything cook down since there can be some tough pieces of meat in the neck, and this makes sure they are fall off the bone tender.
B) If you would like a meatier presentation with whole pieces left intact, stop the cooking process once you can pick the remaining meat from the bone with a fork. This will give you larger chunks of meat throughout the sauce.
Whatever you decide, just make sure the meat is at least fork tender before turning the crock-pot to a lower setting.
Step 7: Prepare your pasta of choice and serve up a heaping spoonful of Boar-Necked Spaghetti to your guests. Make sure to include a vertebrate for your more adventurous diners; they will get a kick out of it and it makes for a killer presentation.
-Kevin Johansen, Fall Obsession Field Staff