Meat – Bear in a crock pot


My brother-in-law gave me a big hunk of bear meat. It's approximately 5 lbs in a cone-like shape, so a good hunk of meat.

I'm curious to use a crock pot on it: some onions, potatoes, and maybe a broth of some type, but nothing too fancy.

I know this is not a place to look for preferences — I'm just wondering if anyone could give me any sort of tips before I start cooking. I typically don't cook a lot of wild game and I know they cook a bit faster. I'm also only a beginner with the crock pot… so warnings, tips, etc.

Best Answer

Bear is like any other meat, the best way to cook it depends upon the cut. Is it fatty (hopefully not very, the best bear meat comes from early spring bears)? Is there a lot of connective tissue? Think of the difference between pork shoulder and pork tenderloin. Sometimes you want low, slow, moist heat, but if the cut is very lean, that will ruin it.

If your meat has plenty of connective tissue (collagen) then it should make a great stew. Treat it just like beef stew meat. If it is (as I hope) early spring bear, there won't be a huge amount of fat in the meat (relative to the same cut in fall), so it will have a tendency to dry out a bit faster, so just be aware of that.

Whatever your favorite recipe for beef stew, that will work fine with bear meat that has enough connective tissue. All other things being equal, I would recommend that you do cut it into stew chunks instead of cooking one big pot roast because the stew chunks will be easier to gauge as they get closer to done.

If your cut is very lean and without connective tissue, treat it more like you would a beef tenderloin (hotter and drier).

Here's a little recipe book I came across: Black Bear Recipe Guide, hope that helps!

Don't even look sideways at my avatar.

EDIT: Just for fun, here's an oft-repeated recipe for bear stew. He uses a Dutch oven, but you could use a Crock-Pot: Bear Stew. That actually looks a bit bland to me, I'd look first at beef stew recipes that have appeal and a are bit more bold to stand up to a meat that you may find strongly flavored. Especially in a crock-pot, I'd definitely look at recipes that brown the meat first, before adding to the stew.

If your meat looks good for pot roasting (especially if it's from the round or the rump), you might consider a Sauerbraten, here's Alton Brown's. The strong flavors will be of benefit especially if the bear was out of hibernation for a while (eating fish and roadkill instead of berries and grasses). The sauerbraten marinade will mask some of the off-flavors that come from eating an animal with a less than discriminating palate.

2nd EDIT: I just came across a line that I really like from (believe it or not) "Bear Crap" from Yahoo Answers.

Bear tastes like..well bear! It takes like what it's been eating.

His whole answer is worth reading. I concur with him on all points including the recommendation of making jerky. I'm ambivalent about bear meat in general, but I have really enjoyed bear jerky.