Can You Eat Javelina? (The Truth about Javelina Meat)

Javelinas, also known as collared peccaries, are a unique animal species that can be found in the southwestern United States and throughout Central and South America. They are known for their tough, bristly fur and sharp tusks, which can make them appear intimidating to many people. But the question on many minds is, can you eat javelina?

Javelina Meat: Safe to Eat and Deliciously Unique

The answer is yes, you can eat javelina meat. However, there are a few things you should know before diving into a plate of javelina tacos.

First and foremost, javelina meat is lean and has a strong flavor that can be described as gamey. Some people love the taste, while others find it too intense. It’s important to note that javelina meat needs to be cooked thoroughly to ensure that any potential diseases or parasites are eliminated.

How to hunt Javelinas For Cooking

If you’re planning to hunt javelina, make sure you have the proper permits and licenses. In some states, it’s illegal to hunt them without a license or during certain seasons. Additionally, javelina hunting can be dangerous, so it’s important to be prepared and know what you’re doing.

Hunting javelina requires proper planning and preparation to ensure a safe and successful hunting experience. Here are some steps to follow for hunting javelina:

Obtain the necessary permits and licenses

Check with your state’s wildlife agency to determine what permits and licenses you need to hunt javelina. You may need a hunting license, a specific javelina tag, and possibly a special permit to hunt on certain public lands.

Choose the right hunting equipment

You will need a firearm or bow appropriate for hunting javelina, as well as ammunition or arrows. Make sure your equipment is in good working condition and practice your shooting skills before heading out to hunt.

Scout the area

Look for signs of javelina activity, such as tracks, droppings, and feeding areas. Javelina are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, so plan your hunt accordingly.

Use stealth

Javelina have a keen sense of smell and can be easily spooked, so it’s important to approach them quietly and carefully. Wear appropriate clothing that blends in with the environment and use scent-blocking products to mask your human scent.

Take a shot

Once you have located a javelina, take a shot at the vital organs (heart and lungs) to ensure a quick and humane kill. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and regulations when hunting.

Field dress and transport

After the javelina has been killed, carefully field dress it to remove the organs and prepare it for transport. Follow all regulations for transporting game and dispose of any waste properly.

Remember, hunting javelina requires proper planning, preparation, and respect for wildlife and the environment. Always follow hunting regulations and practice responsible hunting practices.

Preparing Javelina Meat

Before cooking javelina meat, it is important to properly prepare it. Here are the steps to follow:

Field Dressing

After harvesting a javelina, the first step is to field dress it. This involves removing the internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and intestines, from the body cavity. It is important to do this as soon as possible to prevent the meat from spoiling.


Once the javelina has been field dressed, it is time to skin it. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut through the skin and separate it from the meat. Take care not to puncture the meat or contaminate it with hair or dirt.


After the skin has been removed, the next step is to quarter the javelina. This involves cutting the animal into four pieces: the two front quarters, the two hindquarters, and the backstrap. The backstrap is the long strip of meat that runs along the spine.


Aging the meat is an important step in preparing javelina for cooking. This involves hanging the meat in a cool, dry place for several days to allow the natural enzymes in the meat to break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the meat. The length of time required for aging will depend on the temperature and humidity in the area, but a general rule of thumb is to age the meat for 3-7 days.

Cooking Javelina Meat

Now that the javelina meat has been prepared, it is time to cook it. Here are some tips for cooking javelina meat:


Javelina meat has a strong, gamey flavor that can be tamed by marinating it for several hours or overnight. A simple marinade can be made with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Slow Cooking

Javelina meat is lean and can become tough if overcooked. To ensure that the meat stays tender, it is best to cook it low and slow. This can be done in a slow cooker, on the stovetop, or in the oven.


Javelina meat pairs well with bold, flavorful seasonings. Try using a blend of chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder for a Southwestern-inspired dish.


Javelina meat can also be grilled for a delicious smoky flavor. It is important to remember to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 160°F to ensure that it is safe to eat.

Now, onto the recipes. Javelina meat is best when slow-cooked or braised to help tenderize the tough meat. Many people enjoy cooking javelina in a chili or stew, while others prefer to grill or smoke the meat. Some hunters even make jerky out of javelina meat.

Javelina, also known as collared peccary, is a wild pig-like animal found in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico.

Here are three recipes you can try:

Javelina Chili


  • 2 pounds of javelina meat
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the javelina meat into small pieces and brown in a large pot with a little oil.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the can of diced tomatoes, the drained kidney beans, chili powder, and cumin.
  4. Add enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Javelina Stew


  • 2 pounds of javelina meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brown the javelina meat in a large pot with a little oil.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and potatoes and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over everything and stir to coat.
  5. Add the beef broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Javelina Tacos Recipe


  • 1 pound of javelina meat, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flour tortillas
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa


  1. Brown the javelina meat in a large skillet with a little oil.
  2. Add the sliced onion, red and green bell peppers, and minced jalapeño pepper.
  3. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through.
  5. Warm the flour tortillas in the microwave or on the stove.
  6. Serve the javelina mixture in the warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.

One thing to keep in mind is that javelina meat can be quite dry, so it’s best to marinate it before cooking. You can use a variety of marinades, such as citrus or garlic, to help add flavor and moisture to the meat.

Another important factor to consider when eating javelina is the possibility of trichinosis. Trichinosis is a parasite that can be found in javelina meat if it’s not cooked properly. The best way to prevent trichinosis is to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while it’s possible to eat javelina, it’s important to do so with caution. Make sure you have the proper licenses and permits if you plan to hunt javelina, and always cook the meat thoroughly to prevent the risk of trichinosis. If you’re a fan of gamey meats, then javelina might be worth a try. But if you’re not sure, it’s best to start with a small sample before committing to a full meal. Happy hunting and bon app

Related Questions

How should javelina meat be prepared?

Javelina meat should be cooked low and slow to ensure tenderness. It can be grilled, smoked, or roasted.

Can javelina meat be eaten raw?

No, javelina meat should never be eaten raw or undercooked due to the risk of bacterial contamination.

Is javelina meat healthy?

Javelina meat is low in fat and high in protein, making it a healthy choice for meat eaters.

How should javelina meat be stored?

Javelina meat should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage.

Can javelina meat be frozen?

Yes, javelina meat can be frozen for up to six months.

What are some common javelina meat dishes?

Javelina chili, javelina stew, and javelina tacos are all popular dishes made with javelina meat.

How does javelina meat compare to other game meats?

Javelina meat is leaner and has a stronger flavor than most domestic meats.

Is it legal to hunt javelina for food?

Yes, hunting javelina is legal in many areas and can provide a source of sustainable, wild game meat.

How should javelina be cooked to ensure tenderness?

Javelina meat should be cooked low and slow, such as in a slow cooker or braising pot, to ensure tenderness.

What are some traditional javelina meat recipes?

In Mexican cuisine, javelina meat is often used in stews and slow-cooked dishes. In Native American cuisine, it is often roasted or smoked.

Can javelina meat be used in sausage or jerky?

Yes, javelina meat can be used in sausage or jerky recipes for a unique flavor.

What are some common seasonings used with javelina meat?

Cumin, chili powder, garlic, and onion are all common seasonings used with javelina meat.

How much javelina meat should be consumed?

As with any meat, moderation is key. Javelina meat can be part of a healthy, balanced diet in appropriate portions.

Are there any cultural or ethical considerations when eating javelina?

In some cultures, javelina meat is considered a delicacy or a traditional food. As with any wild game, it’s important to practice ethical hunting and consider the environmental impact of consuming wild animals.

Can javelina meat be used in other dishes besides traditional recipes?

Yes, javelina meat can be used in a variety of dishes, such as tacos, chili, stew, and stir-fry.

Are there any safety precautions to take when hunting and preparing javelina meat?

Javelina meat should be thoroughly cooked to prevent bacterial contamination. When hunting, it’s important to follow safety guidelines and regulations.

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