Cooking Bear Meat – tips and suggestions

Cooking Bear Meat – tips and suggestions

Hunting for meat is one of the most important things we do as homesteaders. Bear is a hardy red meat that can be used in any recipe you’d normally use for beef. Cooking bear meat has a learning curve but in general is a lot like cooking beef. I’ll be explaining a lot of how we hunt bear and all the work that goes into this for the month prior to opening day.

Tips for Cooking Bear Meat

Bears can carry the parasites that cause trichinosis and toxoplasmosis, the same problems you might encounter with pork. You must cook the meat properly just as you do pork.

  • Over cooking bear meat isn’t better than cooking it correctly. Well done doesn’t mean burnt or dry.
  • The internal temperature of the cooked meat must reach 160° and stay there for a minimum of three minutes.
  • No pink meat or pink juice dripping from the meat.
  • Bones absorb heat and slow the cooking process so check the meat around the bone before you serve.

A good rule of thumb as told to me by Erin Merrill (who also shot a bear in 2014) makes it easy to remember – season like beef, cook like pork. My bear was a lot smaller than her 457 pound boar and she graciously shared a roast with me. We’ll cook that this winter.

Bear meat is very dark, darker than most any other meat. It’s important to remove as much fat as possible during butchering but there will still be some attached to the meat. I removed the fat around the edges to help keep the flavor good.

cooking bear meat, bear chopsChoose your favorite seasoning for red meat.
season bear chops, I sauteed onions and garlic in butter and then placed the chop on top. The onions and garlic will caramelize. cooking bear meat, cooking bear chopsTest the meat for pinkness at the bone. If necessary, turn the heat off and let the residual heat in the cast iron finish cooking bear meat.

Cooking bear meat isn’t hard! I’d love to have you share your recipes with us! Here’s Tenley’s recipe for Bear Stew.




2 thoughts on “Cooking Bear Meat – tips and suggestions

  1. I’ve found there is a great difference in bear meat depending on your bear. Age, sex, and what the bear has been feeding on all play a big part in the tenderness and flavor. I suggest that while you are processing your bear note how easily or hard it is for your knife to go through the meat. Also, taste test as you butcher. If you find it is tough or off flavor add more of the meat to the ground burger and stew pile. This is how I enjoy most bear meat anyway. Happy hunting

    1. My friend Erin shot a 457 pound boar two years ago. His tooth was lost somewhere in the shuffle so he wasn’t aged that way. By skull, he was 12-15 years old. We were all surprised at how tender he was. He was field dressed immediately, something that makes a big difference. Thanks for the suggestions! We haven’t done our own butchering yet but our then 22 year old daughter butchered her entire bear with help from a two girlfriends. They did a fantastic job figuring it out. She made a lot of sausage and burger and left a little in roasts and steak.

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