Skip to main content

Beary Good: How You Can Turn That Bear Hock Into Great Table Fare

Beary Good: How You Can Turn That Bear Hock Into Great Table Fare
Print Recipe

A common complaint about bear meat is its unpredictable variability. No doubt this is because of the unpredictable variability of a bear's diet. I've eaten bears that were feeding on carcasses. I've also eaten bears that were feeding so heavily on blueberries that their fat was purple and their meat almost sweet. While good-tasting bear meat needs no more special treatment than beef (my brother reported to me the results of an Alaska wild game feed where barren-ground grizzly got top honors when lined up against 23 competing meats), off-tasting bear meat can often be easily resurrected through the simple process of brining and smoking.

For every 10 pounds of meat – you can smoke deboned cuts or a whole, bone-in leg – make a brine containing one gallon of water, two cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups kosher salt, eight teaspoons pink salt (also called Prague powder #1) and one cup of honey. Stir the brine until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then submerge the meat. (You may have to weigh down the meat with a cutting board or plate to keep it submerged.) Put the meat in the fridge, and let it soak for as many as 10 days, flipping it every other day or so and using a marinade injection needle to deliver the brine to the thicker portions of the cut. After brining, rinse the meat and pat it dry, then leave it on a rack, uncovered, in the fridge for another day. It should develop a dry, tacky pellicle. Smoke the ham with a light smoke (I like wood chips ranging from apple to mesquite) at around 200 degrees until it hits an internal temperature of 160 degrees – maybe around four or five hours, but check it every hour to be sure. Slice thin, and serve just like you would a store-bought ham.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades.8 Best Venison Marinades Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.The Return of Lever Action Rifles Guns

The Return of Lever Action Rifles

Craig Boddington - May 26, 2020

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy black bears.A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears North America Big Game

A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears

Joseph von Benedikt

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy...

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe.Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

See More Trending Articles

More Recipes

From mixing to grinding to stuffing, here's everything you need to know to produce your own venison bratwurst.How To Make Wisconsin-Style Venison Bratwurst Recipes

How To Make Wisconsin-Style Venison Bratwurst

Jack Hennessy

From mixing to grinding to stuffing, here's everything you need to know to produce your own...

Andy Moeckel reimagines wild game with his Flip Flop technique.The Flip Flop Method for Cooking a Deer Quarter Recipes

The Flip Flop Method for Cooking a Deer Quarter

Joe Ferronato

Andy Moeckel reimagines wild game with his Flip Flop technique.

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and spicy relish made with white-flesh peaches.Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe Recipes

Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe

Jack Hennessy

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and...

This is an adaptation of a wonderful Italian short ribs recipe in a wonderful book, Paul Bertolli'sWild Game Recipe: Italian Short Ribs Recipes

Wild Game Recipe: Italian Short Ribs

Hank Shaw

This is an adaptation of a wonderful Italian short ribs recipe in a wonderful book, Paul...

See More Recipes

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now