Articles and photos by Clay Newcomb
Save the ribs off your next bear for an unbelievable rib dinner. You smoke the ribs just like you would pork. They don't have as much meat on the ribs, but the flavor is exceptional. This is a great introduction to bear meat for the skeptic in your life.
1. Trim excess fat off the ribs, but leave some to keep the meat moist while cooking. Bear ribs will not have the amount of meat that pork ribs will have on them, so leave some fat. I don't like to marinate ribs, but rather leave the magic to the acorn-fattened meat.
2. Liberally coat the ribs in Barbeque sauce. I use a sweet, sugary sauce called Sweet Baby Rays. You can't use too much. By putting sauce on the meat and letting the smoke directly contact the meat you'll create what barbeque lovers call "bark." This is a slightly blackened crust on the meat - a must for all barbeque.
3. Put the meat in a foil tray and smoke over hickory smoke for 2 hours at 180 degrees. Don't cover the meat, but let the smoke do some work on it. After two hours, wrap the meat in foil and move to the oven for 5-6 hours at 180 degrees (a total of 7-8 hours). The oven offers some consistent heat and the meat has already been infused with the smoke flavor. By wrapping the meat you'll keep it from drying out. The low heat for a long period of time will make the meat fall off the bone.
4. You're done. Slice the meat and enjoy. Your city friends won't believe that it's bear meat. Don't even tell them until they go back for their second rib.