While visiting my mother recently, I had an opportunity to eat black bear steak. I've seen a number of black bears in the wild, but I've never gotten a good picture of one. The one below was taken from Wikipedia.
The picture below is of the raw black bear steak. I was really quite excited to try it.
|black bear steak|
I had heard mixed reports on the taste of bear meat. I've heard that it can be sweet, but that the fat can be very nasty. I've also read that it tastes like pork.
The meateater website states that the taste of the flesh reflects what the bear has been eating, even more so than other animals. If the bear has been eating salmon or carrion, the flesh is not going to taste as good as if the bear has been eating blue berries or grass. Years ago bear meat was eaten regularly. It was so prevalent in New York that a market was given the name of Bear Market (distinguished from bear and bull markets on Wall Street today). The Joy of Cooking, by Erma S. Robauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, 1964 edition, gives recipes for cooking bear meat. It suggests that you "Remove all fat from bear meat at once, as it turns rancid very quickly." It also suggests marinating the bear meat for at least 24 hours in an oil based marinade before cooking it. I had just a few small steaks and wanted to get the full flavor of it.
So I did nothing to prepare the meat other than to rub on a little olive oil and put it on a grill on high heat. I cooked it six or seven minutes on one side and about four minutes on the other. It came out looking very nice and was quite tender and flavorful.
There were nine people present and everyone had at least one bite. All liked it. Some compared it to beef. The meat was a tad-bit sweet and reminded me of lamb more than any other meat, although it was darker, more tender and not as strong as lamb.