By Brent Reaves
As seen in the July/August 2018 Issue of Bear Hunting Magazine!
Bear recipes are a dime a dozen because I haven’t found a beef recipe that you couldn’t substitute bear meat for and have great results. Chances are whatever you’re doing to your beef steaks will work just as well with bear. I like to allow any meat that I’m grilling to warm up to room temperature before cooking. This combined with a lower cooking temperature helps keep it from being tough. I use lump charcoal and once my fire is reduced to coals and I can comfortably hold my hand a few inches above the grill heat for 5 seconds without causing discomfort I’ll start grilling. I chose a bone-in bear ham steak for this recipe. Remember, just like cooking pork, use a meat thermometer to insure you reach the magic temperature of 160 degrees.
I killed this bear during Arkansas’ Fall archery season and he was literally “fat as a bear” and in prime shape as he prepared for winter. I’ve had lots of folks ask me, “Isn’t bear meat greasy?” as they wrinkle up their nose expecting me to say what they’ve all heard to be true. However, I’ve found that not to be the case. Bears are fat and the fat is greasy but properly trimmed and prepared as you would beef, venison or any other meat prior to packaging or cooking solves this issue. In my experience bear meat is no greasier than any other and more flavorful than most.
I grilled this ham steak using an Argentine recipe called chimichurri. Chimichurri, pronounced chimee-curry, can be used as a marinade before and during cooking or as pesto and added once your steak is plated. Prep time to completion is less than 10 minutes and cleanup is easy. I used a food processor for the ingredients, but a blender would work just as well.
- 1 cup of fresh parsley
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro
- ½ cup of diced onion
- 3 tablespoons of fresh oregano
- 3 cloves of peeled garlic
- 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup of olive oil
Add all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and pulse the blades until it is thoroughly chopped. Add in the olive oil and pulse the blades until the mixture is complete and even.
I spread the marinade on both sides of the steak in a sealed plastic bag and let it sit on the kitchen counter for an hour prior to grilling.
This recipe will work not only with bear but with venison and other game as well. Garlic and cilantro are the two most recognizable flavors to taste but not overpowering so much that they take away from the sweet, smoky flavor of Ursus americanus.