Cooking Bear Meat

Bear Kabobs
Bear kabobs grilled over a fire make a great belly-filling meal to serve in camp.

In many U.S. states, bear hunting seasons have become longer and more liberal in recent years as these bruins become more common. Game cooks often get queried by their bear hunting buddies who want to know if the animal they have killed can be eaten. Absolutely! When properly cared for and prepared, bear meat is delicious. It is not, as many hunters mistakenly believe, inferior in quality in any way.

Bear meat was a staple food of early settlers who often proclaimed its delicious qualities. Arkansas statesman Charles Fenton Mercer Noland, who wrote many outdoor stories under the pen name “Pete Whetstone, asked in an 1837 article, “Have you ever put your grinders on bear meat? … If not, you don’t know what is good.”

Many avid bear hunters and chefs agree with Noland’s assessment. Bear meat is among the most flavorful of all wild game.

If you’re fortunate enough to kill a bear, be sure to field dress and skin it quickly, and keep the carcass cool until it can be butchered and stored. The animal can be butchered, much in the same manner you might butcher a deer, cutting into steaks, roasts and other cuts, and grinding some for burger and sausage.

Like pork, bear meat should always be cooked until well done to avoid the danger of trichinosis. The best protection is to make sure all meat parts are heated to at least 170 degrees F. Don’t use bear to make jerky or prepare it by other curing methods that do not call for cooking.

When you’re ready to cook, consider some of these delectable recipes. The folks who get to try them are sure to give each their stamp of approval.

Ozark Bear Roast

  • One bear roast, 3-4 pounds
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (6-oz.) cans sliced mushrooms

Marinade:

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

With a sharp knife, pierce the roast about two inches deep, and insert a clove of garlic. Do likewise with the remaining garlic cloves. Season the roast with salt and pepper, and place in a large glass baking dish. Mix the marinade ingredients, and pour over the roast. Marinate in the refrigerator 12 to 24 hours, basting with marinade whenever possible. Place the roast in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan. Pour the marinade over the roast. Cook in a 250-degree oven for 4 to 4-1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. Add mushrooms to the pan the last hour of cooking. Serves 4 to 8.

Bear Steak
Bear steaks can be cooked using a wide variety of delicious recipes.

Gulf Mountain Bear Stew

  • 3 pounds bear meat, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

One bear can provide enough meat for dozens of gourmet meals.One bear can provide enough meat for dozens of gourmet meals.Sauté bear meat in olive oil heated in a Dutch oven or large stew pot. Cook until well done. Stir in flour and seasonings. Add water, potatoes and mushrooms. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes, or until the meat is well done. Serves 8 to 12.

  • One bear can provide enough meat for dozens of gourmet meals.4 pounds bear loin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Lemon pepper spice
  • Butter

Place loin in a plastic or porcelain dish, or large zip-seal plastic bag. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bay leaf. Pour on vinegar, water and oil. Refrigerate for two days, turning meat once or twice daily. When ready to cook, wipe the meat dry and cut into 1-1/2-inch-thick slices. Season with lemon-pepper, then sear both sides on a hot grill or under the oven broiler. Place a pat of butter on each piece of meat, then reduce heat and continue grilling or broiling until well done. Serves 4 to 8.

Bear Hunting
One bear can provide enough meat for dozens of gourmet meals. Hunter shown wearing Lost Camo.

Bear Steak Atchafalaya

  • 2 bear steaks, about 1 pound each
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion

The large Onion sliced, separated into rings Blend chili sauce, ginger and sage. Spread on both sides of steaks. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Get oil hot in a large skillet, and add steaks. Brown each side about five minutes. Remove steak. Reduce heat and add onion. Sauté until onion is golden. Return steaks to the pan, cover, and cook over low heat until bear is tender and well done. Serves 2.

A.1. Bear & Bacon Kabobs

  • 1/2 cup A.1. Steak Sauce
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 pounds bear steak or loin, cubed
  • 1/2 pound bacon slices, halved

Blend steak sauce, sherry and honey. In a nonmetal dish, pour marinade over bear cubes. Cover; chill 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain meat; reserve marinade. Wrap half a bacon slice around each bear cube. Thread meat on skewers. Grill or broil until well done, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade. Serves 2 to 4.

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