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NitroXAdministrator
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Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears
      #376114 - 19/04/23 08:06 AM

https://www.outdoorlife.com/hunting/bear-meat/

Bear Meat: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears
Bear meat often gets a bad rap, but you can't go wrong with these three dishes

BY TYLER FREEL | PUBLISHED APR 15, 2023 8:08 AM EDT

https://www.outdoorlife.com/uploads/2023/04/14/archery-black-bear-scaled.jpg

Spring black bears are lean, but have excellent meat.

Bear hunting has received plenty of exposure in recent years, and hunters are even seeing renewed opportunities in places like Missouri and New Jersey. but many people still donít realize the value of bear meat. Some donít even think itís edible.

Iíll admit, bear meat is a little different than the deer, elk, or moose that many big-game hunters associate with a well-stocked freezer. In some ways, I consider it second tier meatóyou wonít find me cooking bear steaks when I have moose in the freezeróbut bear meat fills some great niches and is excellent when cared for and prepared properly.

The Pros and Cons of Bear Meat
As with any animal, but especially omnivores, you can run into bad tasting ones now and then. Bears that have been feeding on salmon and carrion are often not palatable, and the rancid smell of the meat itself will be a good indicator. However most black bears make fine table fare. When cared for properly, they make excellent eating. Itís critical to get the animal skinned promplty, keep the meat clean, and trim the excess fat from the meat for best results.

More than a few hunters here in Alaska like eating grizzly meat as well, but of the several grizzlies Iíve tried to eat, none were fit for a dog. Like any animal, diet plays a huge role, and perhaps the bears Iíve tried all jumped straight to the rotten winterkill dietóthatís what they smelled like anyway. Iím sure that any bear (grizzly or black bear) thatís only been eating berries for a couple months is going to taste just fine.


https://www.outdoorlife.com/uploads/2023/04/14/skinning-a-bear-scaled.jpeg

The first step to having great bear meat is to skin the bear in a timely manner and keep the meat clean. Tom Clum

Spring vs. Fall Bear Meat
Black bears have dark, rich meat and, depending on the season, will have a significant layer of fat that can be rendered for baking and used for many other purposes. Spring black bears are almost always excellent to eat. Depending on the region and timing of the season, they often have been feeding only on fresh greens, and havenít gotten into too much fish or carrion. Spring bears usually wonít have too much fat since itís been depleted throughout hibernation.

In areas where bears have been feeding on salmon, itís a roll of the dice whether your fall bear will have edible meat. However, in most areas that we can hunt bears in the United States, thatís not a factor. Fall bears are prized in many areas because theyíve been feeding on berries, acorns, or other crops, and have a healthy layer of fat. Good bear fat can be used in a number of ways, and it should be trimmed off the bear meat while processing.

Three Simple Methods for Cooking Bear Meat
You can get creative with bear meat of course, but here in Alaska thereís not much call for fancy recipes, and there are three simple ways that I like to prepare bear meat. Remember that bears often carry nasty parasites, but you will be fine if you always make sure to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165℉. I often go higher than that just to make sure itís safe for consumption.

Here are my three favorite ways to prepare and eat black bear meat.

Bear Meat On the Grill
I donít grill a lot of bear meat, but there is one way Iíve come to really enjoy it. I typically will do this when I have a fresh bear that Iíve just skinned and butchered. When breaking down the bear, I cut the backstraps off and leave the top half of the ribs attached. I use my knife to separate the backstrap from the spine, then use a saw to detach the ribs from the spine, trim off the bottom (belly) half of the ribs, leaving a backstrap attached to a half-rack of ribs. This also works fine with a section of backstrap thatís bone-free. After cooking, you can slice it into tomahawk-like steaks.

Seasoning this bear meat is simple. Just cake all sides of the meat with a dry rub seasoning, then sear all sides on a raging hot grill or cast-iron pan. I have a Camp Chef smoker that Iíll finish it on. After searing, Iíll put it on the grill at about 225℉ to finish it with a smoke. I use a temperature probe (many Camp Chefs come with electronic probes that hook into your grill), and as soon as the center of the meat hits around 170℉, I take the meat off and let it rest.

READ NEXT: Best Wireless Meat Thermometers

Slice the backstrap between each rib, and youíve got something like a little black bear lollipop. This isnít the only way to grill black bear; itís just my personal favorite. The key is temperature, checking the meat so that itís safe, but not overdone, which will make it tough and dried out. With this method and cooked to the right temperature, I usually get an ultra-tender, and very juicy finished product

Irish-Style Bear Meat
If you happen to be a fan of corned beef, then youíre in luck. Black bear meat corns up about as nicely as anything. Itís also a surefire way to know that itís going to be both delicious and cooked well enough for safe eating.

The nice thing about corning is itís flexible. You donít have to have specialty cuts of meat, and it lends itself to being a low-waste method of cooking. I happen to own an antique Butcher Boy band saw. After freezing hind quarters solid, Iíll knock out bone-in cross sections 1Ĺ to 2 inches thick, all the way down the hind quarter, wrap them, then put them back in the freezer. If you donít have a saw, donít fretóthis will work with just about any roast or loin.


There are a lot of good beef and wild game corning recipes out there, one of which you can check out in the video above. Most of them involve canning and pickling salt, tender-quick, pickling spice, and some peppercorns. Youíll make a simple brine and submerge the roast in there for up to 48 hours, rotating once daily. Finally, rinse the roast and throw it in a crock pot with a bit of fresh water in the morning. By dinner time, youíll be able to shred it with a fork. You can make all the sandwiches you want, and even have it with cabbage.

Read Next: Take Your Wild-Game Cooking to the Next Level With These 11 Essentials

Bear Sausage
Snack sticks are the easiest way to process bear meat. Tyler Freel

My favorite way to prepare bear meat is in the form of smoked sausages. I mostly make the thinner hunter sticks. They are good for snacking in the woods or just watching TV on the couch at home. Bear meat also makes great summer sausage.

Although it takes some work and a little tooling to make the sausage myself, I end up with a product that is simple, very low-waste, fast, easy, convenient to eat, and absolutely delicious. Most game processors can make these types of products, but I prefer to do it myself. If you have a meat grinder, sausage stuffer, and a smoker or pellet grill, you can do it too. Iíve found a meat mixer to be a huge asset as well.

I begin while Iím processing the bear at home. Most of the time, I will strip all the quarters, ribs, and any other meat off the bear and cut it into grindable chunks, pack it in gallon freezer bags, and freeze until itís sausage-making time. If you have a good grinder and sharpen your blades, you donít have to be terribly picky trying to remove every little tendon, and you can utilize a lot of meat that would otherwise be trimmed away.


https://www.outdoorlife.com/uploads/2023/04/14/Bear-hunter-sticks.webp

bear meat smoke sausage
Bear meat makes excellent smoked sausage. Tyler Freel
Making the sausage (for me, at least) is very simple. I find the Hi Mountain snack stick kits to be easy and delicious. Maybe someday Iíll concoct my own cure and seasoning mix, but if it ainít broke, why fix it? Youíll want to weigh your bear meat in appropriate proportions, and I usually add pork fat to make it about 5 to 7 percent of the total weight. If you have saved fat from your fall bear, you can just use that.

Grind the meat and pork, mix together, and then grind again. Then you can add in the cure and seasoning. At that point, youíre ready to stuff the sausage into casings, let it rest, and smoke according to the directions.

Small diameter sausage sticks smoke relatively quickly, and depending on your setup, there can be a little bit of a learning curve, so always temperature check, and start with small batches of sticks. When smoking summer sausages, rotate them during the smoking process and monitor temperatures. When finished, drop them in a bath of ice water to prevent them from overcooking. Youíll end up with a great product and a way to use your bear meat that everyone will enjoy.

FAQís About Bear Meat
Is bear meat good to eat?
Bear meat is very good to eat when cared for and prepared properly, though bears that have been eating salmon or carrion wonít taste as good.

Is bear meat illegal in US?
Bear meat is legal to have and eat in the US, but generally not legal to sell or barter.

Why donít we eat bear meat?
Many people do, in fact, eat bear meat. Most people who believe all bear meat is bad to eat, havenít tried it.

Is black bear meat safe?
Bear meat is safe to eat, but itís important to cook to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F to kill any harmful parasites such as trichinella.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
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tinker
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: NitroX]
      #376119 - 19/04/23 10:44 AM

I'll take a good black bear, thank you

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DarylS
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: tinker]
      #376120 - 19/04/23 11:32 AM

I've eaten grizzly roast and it was delicious.
Nicely roasted black bear is also delicious. Smoked black bear haunch is also good, but must be a hot smoke, not a warm or cold smoke which = propensity for Trichinosis.

"What is trichinosis? Trichinosis is a food-borne disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Trichinella. People can get this disease by eating raw or under cooked meat from animals infected with the parasite. Often these infected meats come from wild game, such as bear, or pork products.

--------------------
Daryl


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Marrakai
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: DarylS]
      #376126 - 19/04/23 04:02 PM

No Trichinella in Australia, thankfully.

No bears either!

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Marrakai
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--------------------------------
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450_EXPRESS
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: Marrakai]
      #376139 - 20/04/23 03:59 AM

Eaten a number of black bears, so far they've all been very good eating

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: Marrakai]
      #376141 - 20/04/23 05:40 AM

Quote:



No bears either!




Other than koala bears, aka drop bears, with a taste between a leopard like Tasmanian tiger and platypus.

Btw what are the common diseases in feral pigs?

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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DarylS
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: NitroX]
      #376146 - 20/04/23 09:13 AM

Trichinosis for sure - in NA. I don't know about elsewhere.
Do the Abs. eat Koalas?

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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Marrakai
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: DarylS]
      #376155 - 20/04/23 11:58 PM

Ants won't even eat a dead koala!

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Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
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DarylS
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: Marrakai]
      #376159 - 21/04/23 01:50 AM

LOL - well, they eat poisonous gum-tree leaves. They say, you are what you eat. Had a really nice ham & scalloped potatoes last night.
What does that mean?

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: DarylS]
      #376160 - 21/04/23 04:03 AM

Quote:


Do the Abs. eat Koalas?




Marrakai is probably an expert but I'm sure Aboriginals ate anything and everything.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


Edited by NitroX (21/04/23 07:55 PM)


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9.3x57
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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: NitroX]
      #376167 - 21/04/23 08:00 AM



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Re: Everything You Need to Know About Eating Bears [Re: 9.3x57]
      #376173 - 21/04/23 03:33 PM

is there a difference between griz and black bear on the table?

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