Picture this: you’re perched atop a granite slab five miles from the nearest paved road and there isn’t another soul in sight besides one of your closest compadres sitting a few rocks over from you, glassing the same drainage you are. You guys aren’t talking a lot besides the occasional mumble about the landscape and wildlife in front of you.
During a recent interview with a senior carnivore specialist responsible for bears, he said it was my fault that bear hunters and bear hunting harvests had increased by 50% in the last decade or so in the jurisdiction he oversaw. It was not an attack. He observed that bear meat on the table has become much more popular over the previous decade, and it was guys like me who made it so. We share delicious bear meat. We share recipes and methods. Guests come back for seconds.

“Kuma Niku” is Japanese for Bear meat
Katsu is essentially a ”breaded cutlet” that is fried and served with rice and shredded cabbage.
In this traditional Japanese recipe I am simply using bear instead of pork or chicken. But any wild game would be a delicious substitute.
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas deserve celebrating. Families of hunters get the bonus of adding game to special holiday menus. A traditional French Canadian centre-of-the-plate item is the classic meat pie: Tourtiere. This one is made with bear meat and the pastry is made with bear fat: a double whammy of celebratory goodness from the boreal forest.

Sometimes your kid gets what they want.

As I held the forepaw of my youngest son's 2021 spring black bear for skinning, he said, “why don’t we make the whole bear into charcuterie? I need some ingredients and love Chorizo, Tasso ham, confit, and smoked bear shanks. I want to make baked beans, Cassoulet and Jambalaya.”
Braising will turn tough as tennis balls bear shoulder or moose shanks into the most delicious center-of-the-plate entrées fit for your best friends and close family, even if they are royalty.

Canning Bear Meat

Pressure canning is a perfect solution for preserving meat.

I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious the canned meat was on our last hunting trip. I emptied the contents of a jar into a carbon steel fry pan over the blazing blue flame of the Coleman 425. As soon as the meat was heated through and the juice evaporated down to a thin gravy, I dished it into bowls, added a thick slice of buttered homemade sourdough and handed it over. I can report it was delicious. Peter, my hunting partner recommended I just eat it plain. He knows first-hand how much I like to mess with stuff. “Just taste the game before you get fancy” was his advice. The just-canned recipe was delicious, but the possibilities for fancy are nearly endless. You can can anything from bears to moose and rabbits to squirrels––using pretty much the same process. - Tim Fowler | @timothydfowler -
Osso Bucco, meaning ‘bone with a hole’ in Italian, utilizes a part of a bear that would typically go to the grind pile. In this dish, we are using the shank, or lower part of a bear leg. This meat would not typically be used by itself because of all of the connective tissue, tendons, and sinew running from the knee down to the paw of the bear.

The ingredients for Osso Bucco are common and cheap, so that’s a big win for this guy. That combined with the flavor and how the meat falls off the bone after cooking makes this a new go-to. Oh, and it’s made with only seven ingredients, too. It is easy and at the same time unique enough to be a hit in any environment. I’m definitely going to try it with other wild game as well because only the best of friends will be getting it with bear; it’s too good.

Osso Bucco is traditionally paired with risotto, but a bed of grains or noodles of some kind would do just fine too. You don’t have to put it on anything with a lot of flavor; the flavor of the meat and sauce will make up for that.