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Bear: the other dark meat
November 30, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

So it turns out that bear can be quite tasty - whether as a roast, boeuf bourguignon, dumpling fillings, or a myriad of other ways.

While black bears are increasingly threatened by habitat loss in the United States, the population in Canada is at an all time high, despite an increase in bear hunting over the past decade. The "Cork's Outdoors" article even suggests that hunting bear may be ecologically beneficial: With how many more black bears there are in California than legal bucks (largely due to an overpopulation of major predators like bears and mountain lions, but more because of the counterproductive moratorium on hunting the heavily overpopulated California puma), it behooves every hunter to get a black bear tag to hunt in open areas.
posted by r_nebblesworthII (54 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy, I'd sure like to try the Ours Bourguignon, that looks outstanding.
posted by Malor at 9:01 AM on November 30, 2010


Bear liver was the only liver that I ever enjoyed. It was surprisingly good. I don't know if it matters, but it was bear from the eastern UP of Michigan.
posted by NoMich at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2010


Every hunter in Virginia gets a black bear tag, but the harvest is still relatively small. They're fairly overpopulated, especially as you get into the Northern VA suburbs. Hell, one of them walked through the VCU campus down here last year.

Maybe I'll go for a bear this year.
posted by joedanger at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2010


Wouldn't that be Baissier Bourguignon?
posted by zeoslap at 9:05 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've read somewhere that you have to be careful with bear liver -- it has tons of vitamin A, and can potentially be poisonous if you eat too much. No idea if that's true or not.
posted by Malor at 9:06 AM on November 30, 2010


I've read somewhere that you have to be careful with bear liver -- it has tons of vitamin A

I think that's specifically polar bear liver.
posted by electroboy at 9:08 AM on November 30, 2010


You can, however, still get trichinosis from improperly cooked bear. It's mostly been eliminated in modern American pork production.
posted by electroboy at 9:10 AM on November 30, 2010


Some days, you eat the bear...
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:10 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Er, just gummy bears for me, thanks.

On a related note: Russian bears eating corpses.

bon appétit!
posted by mooselini at 9:12 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, how I'd love an.. earnest Bourguignon.
posted by hanoixan at 9:16 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bear is delicious! We'd have bear stew for months when I was a boy. Only problem is, once you actually bag a bear, you gotta get the bear outta the woods. Big difference between hauling a white-tail a half mile through scrub and hauling a freaking bear.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:16 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Poor Yogi and boo boo.
posted by stormpooper at 9:18 AM on November 30, 2010


Only problem is, once you actually bag a bear, you gotta get the bear outta the woods.

Luckily, I am a yuppie city boy and can go down to my local specialty butcher and get black bear and, well, pretty much anything else.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:18 AM on November 30, 2010


bears are yummy. especially the ones from seattle and san francisco.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:18 AM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


On a related note: Russian bears eating corpses.

In Soviet Russia...

Nevermind, too easy.
posted by Stormfeather at 9:18 AM on November 30, 2010


Just remember that bears are not kosher!

Oh, and I love the "Hrmm?" expression on the bear's face in The Atlantic article.
posted by Shesthefastest at 9:20 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Dwarf had splendid ideas about cookery. Each apple (they still had a few of these) was wrapped up in bear’s meat—as if it was to be apple dumpling with meat instead of pastry, only much thicker—and spiked on a sharp stick and then roasted. And the juice of the apple worked all through the meat, like apple sauce with roast pork. Bear that has lived too much on other animals is not very nice, but bear that has had plenty of honey and fruit is excellent, and this turned out to be that sort of bear. It was a truly glorious meal.
In retrospect, one of the odder bits of Prince Caspian. Questions of fantasy pseudocannibalism aside, from what possible experience is C.S. Lewis writing?
posted by Iridic at 9:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Malor I think that's just polar bears.
posted by boo_radley at 9:25 AM on November 30, 2010


Hunters' Kebabs.
[friguarui vanatoresti]
posted by clavdivs at 9:25 AM on November 30, 2010


My grandfather was an avid hunter and he eat anything and everything he could kill. Bear, Moose, Elk, Rabbit, Groundhog, you name it he killed it, ate it and shared it with the grandkids. It is no surprise that I am now a vegetarian. Groundhog is truly awful.

As to my memory of eating bear, it can be summed up as: Greasy as fuck.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:26 AM on November 30, 2010


'Why Bear Meat Must Be Thoroughly Cooked'- click here
posted by clavdivs at 9:29 AM on November 30, 2010


Iridic, apparently the taste of bear is really variable (see winnipeg's comment); they basically taste like what they've been eating. More fruits/plants/honey = better tasting.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:30 AM on November 30, 2010


Oh, how I'd love an.. earnest Bourguignon.

Now that's the worst pun I've ever heard ursine.
posted by hal9k at 9:31 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have found cans of Bear Curry here in Japan (Second can from the right)
posted by gomichild at 9:40 AM on November 30, 2010


Mmmm... spiked bear gall bladder.
posted by orme at 9:41 AM on November 30, 2010


Ah, but how does puma taste?
posted by jabberjaw at 9:48 AM on November 30, 2010


I've heard that you really really really really do not want to eat bear right after the salmon have spawned. The salmon swim upstream, die and it's one big Bear and Rotten Salmon Jamboree for several weeks.
posted by electroboy at 9:48 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, but how does puma taste?

The answer is TAWNY.
posted by electroboy at 9:49 AM on November 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


I like meat. I don't like killing.

If I had to kill my own food, I'd be vegetarian.

I've eaten some great elk chili and sausage - my brother used to hunt - but I don't think I could get into bear meat, being that they're so closely related to dogs. I love dogs.

Which of course brings to mind John Lithgow's excellent rant in Third Rock about which animals we kill and which we cuddle.

C'est le bourguignon...
posted by mmrtnt at 9:57 AM on November 30, 2010


My grandmother swears that Bear Lard is the best for pie crusts (registration required, but worth it) instead of shorting...
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 10:10 AM on November 30, 2010


I don't think I could eat bear. I just like them a bit too much (I'm the same way with duck.) But then, I must admit to a bit of personal hypocrisy here because I also like cows quite a lot and I eat them pretty regularly.

In fact, if I were to eat based on my feelings, most animals would be safe, but deer and people would would be dining staples.
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


My cousin's boyfriend hunts bears. The way his family prepares it is by slow cooking a roast in the slow cooker with 'chili sauce'. Homemade or from a bottle.

I am...intrigued.
posted by sandraregina at 10:14 AM on November 30, 2010


My dad buys meat from a butcher about an hour away in Port Angles, on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and once I went with him. They had the quarter-cow he had bought in the back room, but through a doorway I could see a metal table covered in chunks of meat. The meat was a really strange, uncomfortable color - burgundy, almost purple, unlike any meat I had ever seen. I asked them what it was. They said it was bear meat. They said that the lumber companies don't like bears where they're growing trees, because of the way they sharpen their claws on them,and they thin the population. Nobody wants the meat, so they were using it to make sausages. For the homeless.

Bear meat sausages for the homeless.

What the hell, universe.
posted by Rinku at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2010


Wow, the vegans are gonna have a field day with this one!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2010


Just wanted to point out that the Atlantic article linked above ("fillings") is written by Hank Shaw, a thoroughly awesome dude whose blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is definitely worth a read. He's like Michael Pollan with guts.

From the blog's about section:
My name is Hank Shaw. I write. I fish. I dig earth, raise plants, live for food and kill wild animals. I drink bourbon, Barolo or Budweiser with equal relish and wish I owned a farm. But most of all I think daily about new ways to cook and eat anything that walks, flies, swims, crawls, skitters, jumps – or grows. I am the omnivore who has solved his dilemma. This is my story.
posted by purpleclover at 10:20 AM on November 30, 2010


Long ago, I was at someone's house and they were cooking up some bear. Since I had previously eating alligator, rattlesnake, and a few other unusual items, I thought that I would give it a try.

I got it as far as my open lips, and the smell was so strong that I physically could not put it in my mouth. It was like my whole body refused. Felt like a wimp, among that company, but there was no way that I could ingest it.

So I guess, sometimes you DON'T eat the bear.
posted by Danf at 10:22 AM on November 30, 2010


I wouldn't cook an old black bear again. But perhaps a younger black bear would be better.
posted by kenko at 10:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Tastes like Pooh.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


as a diver, i promised myself i would never kill or eat shark. this somehow made me feel more comfortable in the presence of sharks. my chances of encountering a bear aren't much better than anyone else's, but i think i'll extend them the same courtesy.
posted by kitchenrat at 10:35 AM on November 30, 2010


I had barbequed black bear at a huge party here in Nova Scotia a few years ago. It had been marinating for at least a day, if I remember correctly. It was delicious! I admit I had a second helping. However, I don't mind the "wild" taste some people can't stand, and I'm always interested in trying a new food.
posted by digifox at 10:56 AM on November 30, 2010


Wow, the vegans are gonna have a field day with this one!


Some of those recipes look good, what is a good vegetarian substitute for bear meat?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:05 AM on November 30, 2010


Back in the day when I worked for the park service the rangers had to shoot an aggressive campground bear. They called in one of my buddies in maintenance to bring the backhoe and bury the poor thing.

Instead he picked up the carcass and hauled it behind his house and butchered it. That winter he had a freezer full of delicious bear meat and a bear skin rug in front of the fireplace.
posted by LarryC at 11:20 AM on November 30, 2010


Some of those recipes look good, what is a good vegetarian substitute for bear meat?

Well, cow works for most, but others prefer goat or lamb. But if you have a specific vegetarian in mind...
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: Teddybear?

I'm here all week, try the veal panda!.
posted by Goofyy at 11:25 AM on November 30, 2010


Only problem is, once you actually bag a bear, you gotta get the bear outta the woods. Big difference between hauling a white-tail a half mile through scrub and hauling a freaking bear.

Yeah, as a kid, we could only ever bring 100 pounds back to the wagon.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]



Also, "bearguignon"
posted by mmrtnt at 12:11 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


He's like Michael Pollan with guts.

Fuck does that mean?
posted by basicchannel at 12:59 PM on November 30, 2010


Bears: it's us or them.
posted by scalefree at 1:07 PM on November 30, 2010


This Brown Bear Sampler Pack (Six-1/2 pound fillets) couldn't be more disappointing.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 1:20 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck does that mean?

He makes his own sausage casings, andouilletes, chitterlings, etc.
posted by kenko at 1:58 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think I could get into bear meat, being that they're so closely related to dogs. I love dogs.

Bears are only related to dogs at the sub-order level; they're equally closely related to seals and weasels and raccoons.

I would eat any or all of the above, but have to date only eaten bear. It was gamy and overly tough, as far as I was concerned.

I would totally eat a seal if they weren't at risk. Or a walrus. A walrus would eat you as soon as look at you.

But not an otter. Never an otter. I love them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:55 PM on November 30, 2010


The only bear I've had was at an izakaya in Kyoto (it was listed in the lonely planet). The place is run by a hunter, and most of the food that's served is evidently stuff he's killed. The skewers of grilled boar were delicious. The bear jerky was pretty tasty, considering I'd heard how awful bear tastes. The deer sashimi, though, was pretty fucking awful. Color and consistency of cheap bubble gum.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:22 PM on November 30, 2010


Countless weak puns have so far been ignored. I can't bear it.
posted by jimitjim at 3:11 AM on December 1, 2010


Ugh. How grizzly.
posted by scalefree at 5:08 AM on December 1, 2010


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