How Can I Make Bear Meat Tender?

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Bear is an exotic, lean meat that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Bear is an exotic, lean meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Wild game can be challenging to prepare if you are unfamiliar with the techniques necessary to properly tenderize and cook it. Bear meat, for example, can be tenderized in a variety of ways to produce a succulent result. You can slow cook, pressure cook, manually tenderize and marinade the meat to break down the bear's tough muscle fibers. Substitute bear for beef and other red meats when you are creating a stew, curry or other meat-based dishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Bear meat
  • Marinade
  • Plastic bag
  • Slow cooker
  • Meat mallet
  • Plastic wrap
  • Pressure cooker
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Stock

Marinade Method

Pour 2 cups of marinade per 1 pound of bear meat into a large plastic zip-close bag.

Slice the bear meat into steaks or cubes and place it inside the plastic bag.

Shake the bag to coat the meat completely and marinade in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Remove the meat from the marinade and cook as desired.

Slow Cooker Method

Set the slow cooker to medium heat.

Place a 3-pound bear roast or 3 pounds of prepared, processed bear meat into the body of the slow cooker. You can brown the bear meat first, if desired, but it is not necessary.

Fill the slow cooker three-quarters of the way full with your chosen cooking liquid and add any herbs, aromatic vegetables and spices you desire.

Cook the meat, covered, in the slow cooker for eight hours if preparing a roast or for five to six hours for cubed meat.

Manual Tenderization

Slice a 3-pound bear roast into 1/2-inch thick steaks.

Place the steaks between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Beat the bear meat with a meat tenderizing hammer or mallet until it has reached a thickness of 1/4 inch. Remove from the plastic wrap and cook as desired.

Pressure Cooker Method

Place a 3-pound bear roast into a pressure cooker.

Pour 1 1/2 cups beef stock and any herbs or seasonings you would like to use into the pressure cooker.

Fit the lid on the cooker and process the meat for 1 1/2 hours at a high temperature and follow the instructions included with your pressure cooker.

Remove the cooker from the heating element once the cooking time has elapsed. Allow the cooker to cool and the pressure to release before opening it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bear meat can be used in a variety of recipes in place of beef. Use it in place of beef in stew and/or grind it down for tacos.
  • Soaking bear meat in milk overnight can help mellow some of its gamey flavor.
  • Use a marinade with a lot of acid to tenderize bear meat properly.

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