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. Village Bakery has excellent boning and filet knives that work well for cleaning wild game.
Choose your favorite seasoning for red meat.
I sauteed onions and garlic in butter and then placed the chop on top. The onions and garlic will caramelize. Test 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.