It took five years but I finally did it. I finally shot a bear. We are enjoying the meat. Last night we had chops for supper and this time, I remembered to take pictures so I can write about our meal.
Bears can carry the parasites that cause trichinosis and toxoplasmosis. You must cook the meat properly just as you do pork. The internal temperature of the cooked meat must reach 160 degrees and stay there for a minimum of three minutes. You shouldn’t have pink meat or pink juice dripping from the meat. Be cautious around bones to be sure the meat is cooked. Bones absorb heat and slow the cooking process.
A good rule of thumb as told to me by Erin Merrill (who also shot a bear this year) makes it easy to remember – season like beef, cook like pork. My bear was a lot smaller than her 457 pounder and she graciously shared a roast with me. We’ll cook that this winter.
All that said, let’s cook. This is a how-to, not really a recipe. We had chops for supper last night.
Bear meat is very dark. Most beef isn’t this dark. I removed the fat around the edges to help keep the flavor good. Bear fat can be quite strong.
Season the meat, if you’d like. I used Grill Mates Steak Rub on one side of the chops.
I chopped a small onion and added minced garlic and butter to the cast iron fry pan while I let the chops sit for a few minutes.
Turn the heat on medium. Add the chops on top of the onions and garlic when the butter has melted and covered the pan. Cook for five minutes, then turn. Continue to cook until pink juice shows on the top of the meat, and turn the chops again.
Test the meat for pinkness at the bone. If necessary, turn the heat off. Cast iron holds heat well. There’s probably enough heat now to finish the cooking.
Supper was fantastic. There are four chops per package so we’ll be eating them again later in the week. I think I’m going to brown them in butter then simmer them in mushroom soup. I dehydrated a lot of chanterelle and lobster mushrooms this year.
I’ve been collecting bear recipes from friends and will be sharing them. As I’ve mentioned, fitness and diet have taken on a much bigger role for me this year. Bear meat has six grams of protein and two grams of fat per ounce. I seldom ever cook or even eat butter these days but for bear I make an exception.