The goal of this fall’s bear hunt was to resupply our stock of confit bear meat. A package of bear confit added to fried onions yields a deliciously satisfying snack, and it is a good way to get your pals onto the let’s-eat-some-more-bear ramp. Just fry the onions in a bit of excess bear fat from the sous-vide bag. Once the onions are caramelized, add the rest of the stock and let this cook on medium-high until the stock thickens to the consistency of syrup. At this point, you can serve it on a slice of bread, or a fresh-baked pretzel with mustard and sauerkraut for a German-inspired lunch.


This confit has pink curing salt added, giving the bear a distinct hammy flavor. Confit is one of our favorite ingredients in game cassoulet and can be added to anything from mac and cheese to soups and stews for a luxurious addition of texture and taste.


Worth the Effort


I have written previously about bear confit. What follows is a recipe adapted from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. The original recipe was intended for pork. In some ways, I think bears are much like pigs but with bigger teeth and better fur (and more delicious). I use this book like a textbook, referring to it every few months for sausage making, game curing, and for making confit. Because my son tagged this bear in September, I still had a garden full of fresh herbs which I used for this recipe. If you have fresh herbs, use them. Otherwise dried herbs will work too, just use about 1/3 of the weight of fresh.




25-pound scale

Gram scale

Vacuum sealer

Vacuum bags

Spice grinder

Food processor   

Large stainless mixing bowl


French knife

Paring knife

Cutting board

Anova Sous-vide and suitable container (I had to do this one in two batches)

Container suitable to hold 8 packages of bear at at time



Ingredients for Confit


8 kilograms or 17.6 pounds boneless bear shoulder or leg

105 grams of sea salt

10.5 grams of pink curing salt

10 dried bay leaves

14 garlic cloves, peeled

70 whole black peppercorns

2 bunches of parsley (50 grams)

3 bunches of sage (25 grams)

125 grams of peeled and chopped shallots




  1. Bone bear shoulder or leg, leaving at least 1/2 an inch of fat covering on the meat.
  2. Dice into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and salt, place in a spice grinder, and pulverize into powder.
  4. Mix the pulverized spices and salt with shallots, garlic, and herbs in a food processor and blitz with a blade to a very fine texture.
  5. Toss the bear meat and seasoning/cure in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  6. At 12 hours, mix and turn the bear meat and seasonings again to ensure the bear and cure are well incorporated.
  7. After 24 hours, remove the meat, rinse in cold water, and drain well in a colander.
  8. Place the desired amount of rinsed and drained bear in vacuum bags and seal (I used between one and one and a half pounds per bag).
  9. Place sealed bags in the Anova Sous-vide container and set at 180 degrees F for 14 hours.
  10. When cooking is completed, submerge bags in cold water. Once chilled, dry the bags and refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for future use.



Ingredients for Bear Confit Sandwich

Serves 2-4 depending on how much your guests like confit

1 pound of bear confit

1 large onion peeled and sliced

Hot mustard

Sauerkraut, rinsed with water and drained

Bread, bagel, or pretzel of your choice (one per person)




Frying pan


Chef’s knife

Cutting board


Wooden spoon




  1. Peel and slice the onion and add a couple of tablespoons of bear fat from the confit into the frying pan.
  2. Sauté the onions on medium-high.
  3. When the onions begin to caramelize, add the rest of the bear and stock and turn the heat to high.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the bread, bagel, or pretzel; rinse and heat the sauerkraut.
  5. Slather the bun/toast with hot mustard and as soon as the liquid in the frying pan thickens to the texture of syrup, turn off the heat and assemble your ‘sandwich.’


We shared this bear, so I only got to keep half of this batch of confit. Even that is already disappearing from the freezer. Good thing I have two bear tags. I hope there will be more confit (and sausages and ham) before the season closes!