If you know Steven Rinella, you know that killing a wild hog for the cameras ain't no big thing. A graduate of the University of Montana creative writing program and former Indy contributor, Rinella is best known as the author of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, and host of "The Wild Within" on The Travel Channel. Now, he has a new show called "Meat Eater" on the Sportsman Channel.
On last night's episode, Rinella set out to the Sacramento Valley in California to hunt wild hogs. After covering the history of the animal (300 years ago Spanish settlers let a handful of pigs loose in order to turn acorns into bacon) and successfully nabbing one, he whipped up some roasted pork loin with apples and rosemary—and cooked it in tinfoil over an open fire.
If it weren't clear already, Rinella is hardcore. The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine included a chapter on capturing pigeons from under the Higgins Avenue bridge for part of an epic Thanksgiving Day feast. "The Wild Within" featured an episode where he paralyzed an octopus by biting its head. "Meat Eater" seems to be following the same path, which makes sense because this is all Rinella has ever wanted to do.
"You have kids come in from all these famous schools to the MFA program in Missoula and they all have these dreams of being the next avant-garde, right? They want to do all these experimental things and write about how much they drink and how hard they've had it," he told the Indy during an interview last year. "I think that must just be exhausting, you know? I came to school and I just wanted to write outdoors stuff. No one goes to grad school and says I want to write about hunting. I think what I wanted was so attainable, so realistic, that people helped me."
"Meat Eater" airs Sunday evenings. During next week's episode, which airs Jan. 29, Rinella returns to Montana to hunt mule deer. That deer has no chance.