Do people eat bear meat? Would they in 1675?
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- Last Post 03 August 2014
Bear was the largest source of animal fat until the introduction of swine into North America. Bear fat is easily rendered into a light oil used by native people for insect repellent and lard used to preserve food. Meat is OK for modern tastes, but strong.
I believe people in 1675 made bacon and smoked jerky with bear meat to preserve the shelf life. The meat was also smoked after the fat was rendered off by boiling and used in soups and stews. Bear with corn and pumpkin in a stew is a historical recipe I recall.
The modern tasty stuff made with bear meat is prepared and very similar to barbecued pulled pork and used in big sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers on a sub sandwich roll or rolled in flat-bread. These look like they come from SUBWAY and are very tasty with a Hickory smoke barbecue sauce. I have had my fair share and actually like it.
Thanks. Ned Roberts writes that neither he nor his uncle liked bear meat. I didn't know if that opinion was universal.
Honestly, it is brutal without hickory smoke barbeque sauce, but still a high protein source.
I have shot and eaten several bears big and small both in Alaska and Maine in addition to bears that friends shot and one that the game warden gave me. I didn't get one last year but I haven't forgotten how they taste. Taken care of properly in the field and prepared the same way you prepare beef, bear meat is very tasty. Not as good as moose but better than deer. A bear roast tastes closer to beef than to deer and it you don't tell your guests they probably won't know the difference. There may be bears that don't taste good to normal American taste buds but I have never found one. I have eaten them that have been eating at a dump, living on marmots, eating jelly donuts, and gorging themselves with blueberries. They all tasted about the same -- and none of them had an unpleasant smell. Like the steak from an old whitetail buck I once had the opportunity to taste there may be some bears that aren't prime meat.
If you ask people in Maine how bear meat tastes most will say definitely very greasy and with a strong flavor. If you ask them if they have ever actually ever tasted any they will almost all admit that they haven't but they do know they don't want to. Just another bit of conventional wisdom that is usually wrong.
Food taboos are funny things. Lewis and Clark's men traded the wild salmon they had been living on coming down the Columbia and it tributaries to the Indiana for dogs so they could have some better meat.
Bear must fall in with goose. I have eaten a truck load or two of geese over the last 30 years. I have eaten it cooked by others and didn't care for it. I can make mine taste almost like prime rib. I have never found one greasy. Maybe tame ducks and geese are, have never eaten a domestic one. Any kind of game be it fish, foul, deer etc. can't be hauled around in the back of the truck all day and then expect it to be good table fair. One owes it to the critter to take care of it after it is “harvested". Jeff
when i was young i hunted with several families that ate the racoons y possums we treed ( after prep of course ) .. that probably was more common from folks that grew up thru the depression.
not so strange; i like tree rats and even an occasional multipedial lagomorph !
i guess that's why god created onions, garlic, green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots etc.; for game stew.
edit: oh, i forgot good strong horseradish ... after your nose and eyes stop burning, even roadkill would seem sweeter .. ( g ) .
Back about 66 years ago, when I was courting the girl who's still with me, bless her heart, I had to drive over a small range of hills to get to her house. One night I was made very aware of a very recently killed skunk on the road. The skunk stayed there for several days, ripening. Then one night as I came around the bend I surprised a couple of possums, feasting on the now ripe and somewhat flat skunk.
Up to that time, I had never eaten possum. Since that time, I HAVE NEVER EATEN POSSUM!!!!
P.S. I've killed and eaten more than one black bear. Wife can make them taste pretty darn good. Bear ribs and sauerkraut - Yumm! (But then I never caught one feasting on a dead, overripe skunk.)
Wes, you make me laugh. I feel the same way about the various forms of raw fish that some folks try to pass of as food. Never was much for fish unless thoroughly cooked, then I took an upper division parasitology class in college. That sealed the deal, when it comes to fish, if it isn't cooked, I'm not eatin' it. I would be more likely to eat your possum. Michael
I got my black bear in Canada some years ago. We ate everything except the toe nails;)
It was very much like beef but you must cook bear meat thoroughly as it can carry trichinosis. We did chops, roasts and used the ground meat for chili. The ground meat is firmer than beef but very tasty. I LOVE the texture of it in chili.
Properly handled from shot to skillet, it is GOOD meat and the rendered oil has many uses in the kitchen as well as the shop.
Greetings Joeb33050 Up here in interior south central Alaska bear is eaten a lot, mostly black bear (preferred)but occasionally brown bear. Most people here hunt them in the spring before the bears start eating fish, or late after they have topped off on berries, like cattle finished with grain. Bear meat is delicious, but as mentioned above must be cooked thoroughly. In fact, we had one go through our yard a week ago about 11 at night, but as I had way too much to do by commitment I helped it wander off with a couple rounds into a stump (I used jacketed bullets rather than waste a cast bullet). I was all set to grab the 45-70 I have written about, but I must be getting old as common sense told me I had too much to do for the time required to take care of the bear, and listened (for once).
Again, bear is delicious. As said above, better than deer (and caribou I might add), not as good as moose.
Thanks to all.Now, how does one make bear OIL out of bear TALLOW? Clear oil at room temp? Chemistry must happen here!joe b.
Check your email, as I send a link for you to work your way through. Ric
Got it, still don't get it. Maybe just continue heating the tallow? I've got so much tallow and no oil!
Are you expecting to get a liquid at room temperature? Like in oil for an engine? Check the new, next, emailed site Field and Stream. The bear oil is only liquid at about human body temperature. Any colder and it is semi-liquid. If you are starting with already processed bear tallow, the lighter material has already been removed.
Joe, I've got to ask. Where did you get a supply of bear tallow? I would have thought the bears would be pretty scarce on the keys.
When you say bear tallow, I assume you mean just the fat you can separate out when you butcher a bear. Three years ago I got a very fat bear and saved the fat. My wife cooked it just like we use to do hog fat to get lard. We then poured off the liquid and strained what was left through a cotton cloth to get most of rest. It is nice clear oil and does not smell bad. We didn't have a press so we couldn't squeeze out the rest of it and have the bear equivalent of cracklings which are the leftovers from squeezing the lard out of hog fat which was our equivalent of potato chips -- sort of when I was a kid.
I mixed the bear oil with solid lanolin and used it for dry cracked hands in the winter. I put some in little plastic containers and gave it to a few women in the family for hand cream. I told them what it was and all accepted it graciously but I never heard any reports on it actually being used except by me.
At one time it was highly prized for use in cosmetics and when the supply of bears began to run, out partly from the pressure of hunting them for oil, manufactures were sometimes charged with claiming bear oil when in fact they had used less desirable oils.
Google it for some interesting reading. Tastes change and we decide to be finicky about the silliest things.
Back 50 some years ago when I was working in NW Montana, the word was that you could sell bear fat to some of the donut shops over in Spokane for a pretty good price. It was illegal, of course, to sell it and illegal for the donut shops to use it (not FDA approved) but it was done. I understand the donut shops liked it because it lasted better than commercial fats.
We have also corned bear and made bear ham; both delicious.
Would you post instructions or recipes?Thanks;joe b.
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