By Jameson Curtis
As seen in the March/April 2017 Issue of Bear Hunting Magazine!
My whole life growing up I heard people talk negatively about bear meat. Without ever trying it, I already had a “bad taste” in my mouth. As I grew older and began to prepare my own meals and cook the meat from my hunts, I started to wonder if people really knew what they were talking about when they discussed the taste of bear meat. Does the meat really taste that bad? Or do people not care for the meat, and take improper butchering and cooking preparations? After I harvested a Pennsylvania bear I had to find out for myself. Here's what I did.
- 1 cup dry red wine 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 5 cloves minced garlic 1 sliced carrot
- 1 tbsp dried or fresh tarragon
First off, I always remove as much of the exterior fat and silver skin as possible from the bear’s loin. Then, submerge tenderloin in the combined marinade ingredients and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Before cooking, remove the loin from the marinade to allow meat to come to room temperature.
Grill the loin on high until the outer part of the meat is well done and even has some charred marks. Reduce the heat to medium/low. I like to grill meat on high, then reduce heat to finish cook- ing. This locks in the moisture first, then allows you to bring the meat internally to the desired temperature.
Flipping the meat by stabbing or puncturing it in any way allows internal juices to run out and in turn dries it out. Be sure all bear meat reaches internal temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures all Trichina spiralis is thoroughly killed. Once the meat is to temperature, remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes.
Finally, sprinkle the dried or fresh tarragon over the cooked loin. Tarragon has a strong flavor so apply as desired. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy. As it turned, the naysayers were wrong, and the meat was excellent.