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  1. #11
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    The hands down best use that I have found for bear meat is Bear Chili. Even my non-hunting friends will start calling in September to see if I got a bear, or am I going bear hunting, and can they come over for chili. I process my own bear meat, and use the medium blade for a chili grind. DO NOT add any fat. Both bear meat and bear chili will last a lot longer in the freezer when no fat is added. Use your favorite spicy chili recipe and be generous with the onion and garlic. Do not add any water, but use beer instead. Thicken with a mixture of masa flour and water before serving, and be sure to cook long enough so that the flour cooks. You can serve it over rice, or not, as you prefer. Once you perfect your formula, you will never cook bear any other way.
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  3. #12
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    The one thing I will say is that it all boils down to how you care for the meat (just like with elk or deer).
    I would go as far as to say that bad bear, is really bad bear. Maybe even more so than with elk or deer.
    On the flip side the bear burger in my freezer tends to get picked before the elk or deer for anything using ground meat.
    I don't make straight bear chili because I usually get about 4 species in mine.
    Our favorite is probably bear tacos.

    This spring, I will take the advice of Sawfish and a couple of others and keep some set aside without the beef fat added.
    Honestly I haven't tried my own w/o fat added, but it smoked some straight bear meat that I was given…... again likely it comes down to care of the meat!!!! We are on about five with added fat so that might come down to personal preference but I will give it a shot, and be the first to admit if I'm wrong. I'll try that recipe as well
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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by OregonJim View Post
    The one thing I will say is that it all boils down to how you care for the meat (just like with elk or deer).
    I would go as far as to say that bad bear, is really bad bear. Maybe even more so than with elk or deer.
    On the flip side the bear burger in my freezer tends to get picked before the elk or deer for anything using ground meat.
    I don't make straight bear chili because I usually get about 4 species in mine.
    Our favorite is probably bear tacos.

    This spring, I will take the advice of Sawfish and a couple of others and keep some set aside without the beef fat added.
    Honestly I haven't tried my own w/o fat added, but it smoked some straight bear meat that I was given…... again likely it comes down to care of the meat!!!! We are on about five with added fat so that might come down to personal preference but I will give it a shot, and be the first to admit if I'm wrong. I'll try that recipe as well
    You are right about the care of the meat. Anything that has touched dirt or hair needs to be trimmed off and discarded. My wife's cousin is such a fanatic that he "skins" all wild meat a second time by removing a paper thin layer of meat before putting it in the freezer. That is a real PITA that I try to avoid by taking extra care in the field. I have a couple of pairs of old pillowcases that I keep in my pack to keep the dirt off the meat, and protect the pack a bit. When freezing, I first wrap the meat in clear commercial grade food wrap, then in two layers of coated freezer paper using the "drug store wrap". Meat will keep up to 4 years using this method. I try to rotate mine out before it gets that old, but occasionally an older packet sifts to the bottom of the stack.

    With a big animal, the three stage wrapping can be quite a chore. Last year I bought a Game Saver system, which vacuum seals the meat in heavy freezer proof plastic bags. I wish that I had bought one years ago. It really speeds up the process. Another point, a bear is a relative of the pig family. As such, the meat must be kept cool before it is processed, or it will rapidly spoil.

    Zip lock style bags are worthless for food storage in a freezer. You can test this by cutting an onion in half, and putting it in your refrigerator. Everything will smell like onions in less that two days. Meat will not keep for extended periods in a frost free freezer. These are the freezer compartments of your refrigerator, or most upright freezers. They remain frost free by removing moisture from the air, and will also remove the moisture from your meat. Long term storage freezers (not frost-free) are usually chest type freezers. About six months is maximum storage for a frost free freezer.
    Last edited by Sawfish; 03-24-2014 at 06:42 PM.
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  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawfish View Post
    You are right about the care of the meat. Anything that has touched dirt or hair needs to be trimmed off and discarded. My wife's cousin is such a fanatic that he "skins" all wild meat a second time by removing a paper thin layer of meat before putting it in the freezer. That is a real PITA that I try to avoid by taking extra care in the field. I have a couple of pairs of old pillowcases that I keep in my pack to keep the dirt off the meat, and protect the pack a bit. When freezing, I first wrap the meat in clear commercial grade food wrap, then in two layers of coated freezer paper using the "drug store wrap". Meat will keep up to 4 years using this method. I try to rotate mine out before it gets that old, but occasionally an older packet sifts to the bottom of the stack.

    With a big animal, the three stage wrapping can be quite a chore. Last year I bought a Game Saver system, which vacuum seals the meat in heavy freezer proof plastic bags. I wish that I had bought one years ago. It really speeds up the process. Another point, a bear is a relative of the pig family. As such, the meat must be kept cool before it is processed, or it will rapidly spoil.

    Zip lock style bags are worthless for food storage in a freezer. You can test this by cutting an onion in half, and putting it in your refrigerator. Everything will smell like onions in less that two days. Meat will not keep for extended periods in a frost free freezer. These are the freezer compartments of your refrigerator, or most upright freezers. They remain frost free my removing moisture from the air, and will remove moisture from your meat. Long term storage freezers (not frost-free) are usually chest type freezers. About six months is maximum storage for a frost free freezer.
    Our systems are quite similar, except I haven't bought a Gamesaver yet.

    Great info!! I had never considered that tidbit about freezers.

  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckink65284 View Post
    Our systems are quite similar, except I haven't bought a Gamesaver yet.

    Great info!! I had never considered that tidbit about freezers.
    I balked at buying a Gamesaver for years. Just thought it was a gimmick. Finally bought one at a big discount on the last day of a trade show. My only regret is not buying one sooner. You can get one at Costco, Walmart, etc.. If you don't like it, take it back. the Gamesaver is just a HD Foodsaver, with the exception that they are equipped with a 12 volt adapter so you can power them with the power outlet in your vehicle. Great idea! Never used it in the 2 years that I have had it, but maybe next year!
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  8. #16
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    Sawfish, I re-skin my game meat too! Just a very thin layer of the outside exposed meat. (If I bone it in the field I use different measures, due to so many exposed edges!) I don't hear of that very often. I'm happy to say I've been lucky to change quite a few peoples mind about what game meat taste like. I totally agree,it's how you take care of it.
    One thing to remember with a food saver type sealer. If you are going to be transporting or moving meat after it's frozen, They want hold up to clanging them together very well(after frozen). They will get little pin holes quite often. I move my meat from a local locker I rent(Due to that frost free problem,that's another good point) and have found the plastic wrap and freezer paper combo works better in these cases. Same thing goes when hauling frozen meat from AK or etc., if it.s vacuumed sealed be gentle on the packages when moving after frozen!

  9. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonhunting247 View Post
    Sawfish, I re-skin my game meat too! Just a very thin layer of the outside exposed meat. (If I bone it in the field I use different measures, due to so many exposed edges!) I don't hear of that very often. I'm happy to say I've been lucky to change quite a few peoples mind about what game meat taste like. I totally agree,it's how you take care of it.
    One thing to remember with a food saver type sealer. If you are going to be transporting or moving meat after it's frozen, They want hold up to clanging them together very well(after frozen). They will get little pin holes quite often. I move my meat from a local locker I rent(Due to that frost free problem,that's another good point) and have found the plastic wrap and freezer paper combo works better in these cases. Same thing goes when hauling frozen meat from AK or etc., if it.s vacuumed sealed be gentle on the packages when moving after frozen!
    I have also changed a few folks' minds about the taste of wild game, and hunting (you mean that you eat what you kill?). Every time we have people over for a meal, I always throw some venison on the grill. They are always surprised at how good it tastes. One time, we had some friends over for steaks (Prime Rib Eye), and I cooked a couple of pieces of Blacktail backstrap for appetizers. One of the guests complimented me on the steaks, but added, that venison was every bit as good, if not better than the steaks. My Wife added "it should, it cost a lot more".

    re: the Food Saver bags, they make a heavy duty Foodsaver bag that will stand up to rough handling. I have not seen them in stores, but you can order them online, and they can be found at some trade shows. Once I put mine to sleep in the freezer, they are rarely moved until time for cooking.
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  11. #18
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    If your a Steak man like me you might like this.

    "Braised Bear Steak "
    All Purpose Flour
    Salt and Pepper
    Thyme
    2 3 inch thick bear steaks
    1 cup of sliced onions
    4 tablespoons bacon fat
    1 cup of red wine
    2 tablespoons tomato past
    Boiled potatoes
    Parsley for Garnish
    Saute'ed Mushrooms

    Pound the flour, salt , pepper and thyme into the steak with a meat hammer. Brownthe onions in the bacon fat and add the meat. Brown the meat well on all sides. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook briskly for five mins. Turn the steak reduce heat and cover pan the pan. Simmer for 30 min - 1 hour , when steak is tender remove it to a hot platter , add tomato paste and additional water or wine if needed to the pan to make a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning, and pour the sauce over the steaks. Surround with boiled potatoes, garnish and serve with the mushrooms. Serves 2-4 people !

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