Black bear; the new beef!
This story and recipe were sent to us by fan Dan Menard.
With expectations of hard work came great reward. A few weeks ago I was blessed with harvesting a beautiful fall Black Bear! More importantly I was able to share this experience with my 7 year old son only a few feet away along with my one and only ‘first mate’ and my Dad also in a raft nearby.
We spent the next 3 days diligently tending to game meat. As this was my first black bear, I was committed to getting out every last ounce and ensuring not a scrap of meat would spoil. As luck would have it, I had free reign of a walk in freezer to cool the hide and meat before what I believed to be a warm drive home.
Processing was quick and painless. My first thought was to run sausage on the entire lot, but after eating up the backstraps there was simply no way I could do that. Stew meats and roasts were the name of the game. My direction was simply get it off the bone, bag the scraps and section up the rest, but setting aside what I knew to be good steak material.
Once the post-hunt damage control was complete, gear cleaned up and the raft put away for hibernation, I quickly turned my attention back to the newly packaged Black Bear meat in the freezer. Cooking is by far my most favorite thing. I consider myself a very imaginative cook and fare quite well in the kitchen. It’s a passion of mine.
The taste and consistency thus far just beckoned for a solid Corned Bear Roast with all the fixings. For my first corned roast, I wasn’t picky with the specific cut, but I did go with a nice section off the rear quarter marbled with some good fats.
After a bit of reading and pulling from past experience I felt I developed what would be a solid recipe.
Heat to boiling the following ingredients:
3 cloves garlic chopped
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons pickling spices
1/4 cup canning salt
1/2 cup Morton’s Meat Cure (Blended Brown Sugar /Salt)
2 quarts water
Remove from heat and let cool.
– Put in a 1 gallon Freezer zip lock bag with a roast. How much fat you trim from a bear roast is personal preference but also note the amount of fat that is marbled inside the roast. The more fat, the more moisture it will retain when cooked.
– Squeeze air from bag and close.
– Put in refrigerator for 5-7 days turning every day.
Pour out the pickling brine and rinse the roast of spice. Allow the roast to reach room temp.
Toss it to a Crock pot and pour in water until the roast is covered. Add in your carrots, red potatoes and wedged cabbage, quantity is all up to the cook. I like a super hearty edition so I packed the crock pot full. I also added a few tablespoons of pickling spice, 1 tablespoon of Allspice and diced garlic. The point of a Corned roast is to have that light pickled taste, so adding it back into the base turned out to be a great move for both taste and texture.
Something for consideration when picking the cut of meat and deciding a cook time; Black Bear meat is about 100 grains per inch while Beef is about 12. The key here is low heat, slow cooked. Also the amount of fats on the meat will impact the moist tenderness, after 12 hours those fats have pretty well cooked off the roast. I like some fats, 25% or so is a safe guess.
I was excited to say the least. It was the longest day in history with the constant aroma taunting me. The corned bear disappeared right out of the pot within minutes.
Being able to incorporate your own harvest into a one off dinner was, well, food for the soul.