A recipe by Glenn and Judy Helgeland
Some of you may find bear meat to have a slightly strong taste; others will not. If there is a stronger taste than you prefer, marinating the meat will add a flavor you like.
There are several options. Any acid-based liquid will work, such as a weak vinegar-water solution (1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water), or milk, citric juices (orange, lemon, etc.), tomato juice, Italian salad dressing and wine. Tomato juice will neutralize strong odors (if there are any), and the naturally high acidic content of tomato juice also helps tenderize the meat.
After marinating the meat, cook it as you would beef. Any recipe you like for beef or venison also will work well with bear meat.
Stir-Fry Bear Ingredients
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 – 1-1/2 lbs. bear steak, sliced and cut into strips ½” wide x 1-1/2” long
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp. ginger
½ c. water
1 tsp. instant beef bouillon
2 c. 1” chunks green/red/yellow pepper
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 med. onion thinly sliced
2 large stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. soy sauce
Brown meat in oil in skillet on med/high setting on stove. Add garlic and ginger. Cover and cook on low setting until meat is tender. If it is properly cooked, there will be no red or pink juices from the meat. Remove meat and set aside, covered in a warm pan. Put remaining ingredients in pan, cover and cook on low setting until vegetables are tender but still firm (about five minutes). Add meat to vegetables and stir until blended. Serve over white rice or a multi-grain medley of brown rice, red rice, wild rice and quinoa; the medley is better for you and tastes good.
Tips for Handling Bear Meat
- Bone out the meat. Meat cooks slower close to bone, producing uneven doneness.
- Trim all fat from bear meat before cooking, plus as much connective tissue and muscle sheathing (silverskin) as possible. Bear meat can be greasy, making fat trimming especially important, because it can turn rancid quickly if not trimmed properly and stored properly.
- Do not soak meat in baking soda or salt water (to remove a strong flavor) because the meat will dry out, becoming tough and flavorless.
- Best bear meat (for steaks and roasts) comes from hams and loins. Meat from front legs, neck and shoulders usually is ground for hamburger or cubed for stews and stir-fry.
- Cook bear meat until well done, being sure to get internal temperature to 170 degrees F. Bears can have and transmit trichinosis. Temps of 170 F or higher kill all trichina parasites that may be in the meat. Try to stay under 200 degrees F so the meat remains flavorful and tender.
- Never add salt until after cooking to avoid meat dehydration. Salt is a preservative and it acts as a drying agent.
About the Contributors: As part of their Target Communications Outdoor Books “On Target” series, Glenn and Judy Helgeland have published two wild foods cookbooks titled The Wild Pantry and also one called To Heck with Gravy. They have also published a jerky-making booklet titled Tasty Jerky Recipes for Everyone.
The bear meat handling/cooking instructions included with this recipe are from a book they also published (by Bill ‘Bearcrazy’ Wiesner) called The Bear Hunting Obsession of a Driven Man. That book has two meat care and cooking chapters — Care of Meat and Hide, and Bear on the Table. The latter chapter includes 17 recipes for bear meat.
The recipes in all their wild game cook books and food chapters in other books are simple, easy, time-saving, and tasty.
Judy is a professional home economist and runs the recipes part of the books. Glenn writes the copy, checks all details with her before hitting ‘save’, and follows orders in the kitchen.
For book details, go to Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/targetcommbooks) or their website — www.targetcommbooks.com. The two cookbooks each have more than 200 recipes, plus game meat handling, processing and freezing tips.