I hit up google, found a recipe for smoking black bear ham, and thought what the hell. Worst case is we don't like it and he never gets to shoot a bear again.
The hind quarter sat in brine for ten days and then I smoked it up in my Bradley Smoker. At the end of smoking it, I did put it into a pan and cooked it in the oven. I wanted to make sure I had the internal temperature right up to 180F to make sure the meat was thoroughly cooked.
End result? Oh my god. It is amazing! It really does taste like a ham. The outside got really black and crispy and I could not stop eating little bits as I carved it up.
I carved up the entire quarter and vacuum sealed them in lunch sized portions. We have been having sliced bear in sandwiches! With a bit of mustard and cheese on homemade bread? To die for. And tonight I took all the little bits of meat along with the drippings from the oven pan, with onions, carrots, celery, chicken stock, a small bit of brown sugar and salt and then a bunch of beans (one of those bags of 12 types of beans) and I made a great soup! The kids even ate it. Hunter declared it his third favorite soup!
We have the other hind quarter in the freezer, but will take it out this week to start the process all over again. And I do believe a black bear tag will be purchased again next fall.
|At this point I was not happy about putting a hunk of bear into my smoker.|
|But after slicing a bit off, I was a changed woman!|
|Soup bits on the left, sandwich slices on the right.|
|All ready for smoked bear sandwiches!|
|Bear and bean soup!|