Cleaning and Cooking Black Bear

E-mail Author with Canadian bear

The author with a nice Canadian black bear that is going to be turned into prime eating.


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Following deer and hogs, black bear are likely the most common big game animal taken in many states. They are expanding their range throughout North America.  More hunters each year are having their first opportunities  to take a bear, but many hunters don’t know what to do with their animal, outside of skinning it.

E-mail Skinning bear

When skinned the bear much resembles a large hog.

  Bear meat is eatable, and may be quite good, depending on what the animal has been eating. It is rich, red and must be cooked in moisture until it is tender. Gloves should always be worn when working with bear meat or when skinning the animal to prevent potential infection by some really nasty blood-born diseases.

  A skinned bear looks much like a

WHS  A fourth of July plate with bear Bar-b-que and Brunswick stew

A 4th of July dinner with bear bar-b-que and Brunswick stew.

skinned hog, and the meat and fat is handled the same way. The fat may be heated, and turned into oil and lard which has good pastry-cooking qualities. The rendered fat will also yield “cracklings” which, when salted, can be occasionally used as a snack food.

  Bear meat may be roasted (always in water), used in stews, ground into burger or made into sausage. I also use it in some more inventive dishes such as a Brunswick stew made from the animal’s head, or in BBBB&BB which is black bear with black beans served on black bread. These recipes will be found in my book, Crossbow Hunting.

 Alaskans even use the meat from brown bears to make sausage, which is said to be as good as any. If you hunt out of Kodiak Airport, ask the processor just off the runway, Kodiak Smoking and Processing, to do some up for you.
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3 thoughts on “Cleaning and Cooking Black Bear

  1. Hi Hovey,
    Way back in 1971 I shot a nice Canadian black bear with my Black Widow take-down bow launching a shaft tipped with an original Fred Bear Razorhead. Those old broadheads have always been my favourite inasmuch as they can easily be touched up on my small sharpening steel that I carry, and made really razor sharp; as they should be. I seldom used the razor inserts that they came with but on this occasion I did, and this broke off as the arrow slipped between the animal’s ribs. But the sharp broadhead went right on through to sever the main arteries of the heart and the bear died not ten paces from where I hit it.

    However after skinning and delivering the pelt to my taxidermist I gifted the perfectly clean carcase to a friend. My family and I were not at all attracted to bear meat then because we had good access to grain fed beef or venison.

    It was some weeks later that we attended a party at the friend’s house and my wife offered me a choice of cold cuts from a large plate that she was passing around. I took some of each and scoffed it down with relish.

    “How was the meat?” my dear smiling wife asked later.

    I told her that it was lovely. And it was then that she smiled even more and informed me that what I thought was tender sliced beef was in fact some of the ham off of the bear that I’d given to Bill.

    The rest is obvious. No more did I give all of my bear meat away!

    Ralph Lane

  2. My experience has been that the quality of bear meat much depends on what it has been eating. Bear that have been working berries, fruit orchards, agricultural crops and nuts can be very good indeed. The same animal that has been feeding on skunk cabbage and rotted fish is quite another matter. Most bear meat can be eaten, and the best of it is very good indeed.

  3. Pingback: Index of First 150 Post, New Intern « Backyard deer hunting

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