Tucson in 100 Objects — javelina

2014-06-13T00:00:00Z 2014-07-22T18:55:08Z Tucson in 100 Objects — javelinaBy Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

We’re defining Tucson in 100 objects. The daily series began April 20. Follow along at: azstarnet.com/100objects

The javelina has been a game animal in Arizona since 1929.

Emphasis on game.

You will run into people who tell you they know exactly how to dress a fresh-killed javelina so its musk gland doesn’t foul the meat.

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They will slow-cook it for hours or days to get rid of the toughness, and will douse it in five-alarm barbecue sauce to mask the taste, and offer it to you as a regional delicacy.

But take my word:

It will be tough.

It will be gamey.

It will not taste like chicken or pork.

The javelina is not a pig. It is a peccary — a collared peccary in these parts.

Though sometimes called a New World pig, peccaries are not related to Afro-European pigs, nor to their escaped and feral cousins, the razorbacks.

Javelinas are omnivores, who mostly get by on plants. Prickly-pear cacti are a major portion of their diet.

They travel in packs, have sharp tusks and will usually avoid you — but not all the time.

Like all wild animals, they can become a nuisance on the suburban fringe or even the center of town if you’re close to a wash — especially when people feed them.

Here is all you need to know about javelina:

Don’t feed them.

Don’t let your dogs chase them.

Don’t eat them.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at tbeal@azstarnet.com or 573-4158.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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