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Smoked Bear Ham Recipe

This smoked bear ham recipe is a great excuse to slow down and make the most of your bruin's best cut.

Smoked Bear Ham Recipe

Smoking a bear ham is a great way to serve up numerous portions to a large group of friends or family. (Photo courtesy of David Draper) 

Print Recipe

Serves: 10-12
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 hours

Smoked Bear Ham Recipe
Low and slow is a great method for cooking any ham, and bear hams are no exception. (Photo courtesy of David Draper)


  • 1 bear ham (about 10 pounds)
  • 1 gallon ice cold water
  • 1 cup Tender Quick (or about 1.5 tablespoons per pound of meat)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pickling spices
  1. Prepare the bear ham by removing the fat cap and much of the other surface fat. (Keep the fat for rendering. Bear fat is great for frying potatoes, making biscuits and even waterproofing your boots.)
  2. In a food-safe tub large enough to submerge your bear ham, mix water with next three ingredients. Whisk thoroughly until the Tender Quick and brown sugar is fully dissolved. (Whisking the ingredients into warm or hot water will help the dissolving process, but then you’ll have to refrigerate the brine for several hours before adding the bear ham.)
  3. Using a syringe or marinade injector, pump the brine into the bear ham at several locations. Be sure to get the needle down the bone while pumping.
  4. Add the bear ham to the brine, ensuring it is completely submerged. 
    Place a weighted plate or pan on top of the bear to keep it under the surface of the brine.
  5. Brine the bear for 10 days (or one day per pound).
  6. After 10 days, remove the bear from the brine and rinse with cold water. Place on a rack set over a sheet pan and let drain. Pat dry.
  7. Hang the bear ham in a smoker that’s been preheated to 120°. Open smoker vents and hold at this temperature without smoke for 1-2 hours.
  8. Add wood chips to the pan and raise the temperature of the smoker to 180°. Close vents halfway and smoke until the ham’s internal temperature reaches 155°. Time will vary depending on a number of factors, including outside temperature. This ham took about 10 hours.
Smoked Bear Ham Recipe
You'll know that your ham is ready when the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees and the ham has a smoky golden brown exterior. (Photo courtesy of David Draper)
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