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Thread: Leg o' bear

  1. #1
    TVWBB Member
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    Jul 2013
    Wrentham MA

    Leg o' bear

    Out of ashes come growth - this old adage proved true this summer. We had a minor house fire requiring the replacement of the house electrical panel, my electrician and I started chatting about stuff, and he asked me about my family of webers. I told him how much I enjoy grilling and smoking with them, he informed me that he is an avid hunter, and asked if I've ever smoked game. I had not, and told him so. The conversation ended with him asking me if I'd be interested in a bear shank he had shot the previous fall, which had been in his freezer. In a moment of male posturing, I replied something like "hell yeah"!.

    About 10 days later, he stopped by to drop off his bill, and asked if I was still interested in the bear. "yes", was my reply, thinking it will never actually happen. He excused himself for a minute, and returned to my kitchen with a large plastic bag, and a couple of packages of what turned out to be venison. His only request was that I give him some of the bear when I smoked it. Fair enough.

    Finally, this weekend looked like it would be the time, as he was going to be around, and I had some time to smoke. Now, I'm starting to get nervous, reading seemingly contradictory things like "treat it like pork", "treat it like beef", it is tough, it is fatty etc. Combined with dangers of a potential parasite made me second guess my earlier bravado. The best advice I did get was not to eat bear shot at the garbage dump. Fortunately, this one was not.

    I removed the shank from the freezer on Thursday night, and set things in place to start early on Saturday morning. Naturally, I could not sleep and woke up a bit before 6, giving me enough time to light a small pile of coals, heat water and take out the bear. The smoker was filled with Stubbs briquettes, a few chunks of mesquite, and a full water pan as well.

    A moment of panic ensued, as I had to make a decision on what to rub it with. I selected a commercial rub and with a little trepidation, began to sprinkle it liberally on the bear.

    Ended up chickening out a bit and going lighter on the rub than I normally do on pork and brisket as I was concerned about overdoing it, and having no idea what to expect from the meat. At 0603, this is what stared back at me on the smoker.

    With a deep breath, I closed the cover and made my way to the coffee pot. A few checks of the temperatures and all was well around 275 or so according to the thermometer, a bit higher than I prefer, so after checking it at 10AM, I shut down two vents halfway to settle the temperature down slightly, as the cook was going a bit faster than anticipated. The temperature was already up to 140 or so and I had planned for a 6pm dinner.

    At about 2:30 it was up to 180, and time to remove from the smoker.

    After a couple of hours of rest in a cooler, my electrician friend stopped over, and we sliced into it and were very happy - nice flavor, not dry, and a great looking smoke ring on the edge pieces. The final product:

    So, despite a lot of trepidation and worry, the actual cook went fine, and the end result was much better than expected. Nice to have something different under my smoking belt. The texture of the meat felt a lot like roast beef. Not as gamey as expected, actually quite mild.

    Thanks for reading this long winded post.
    22" Performer / 18.5" WSM / 22" OTS / 18" OTS / 14" Smokey Joe

  2. #2
    TVWBB Emerald Member Rolf Jacobsen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Bucks County, PA
    Kirk that actually looks pretty good and i would try some for sure....... especially smoked like that. Nice job. What's next?

    Hint...... I hear bison shoulder is pretty good.

  3. #3
    TVWBB Emerald Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    May 2011
    near Toronto Ontario, Canada
    Excellent story with a wonderful ending! Congrats.
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  4. #4
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Tony R's Avatar
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    May 2012
    San Berdoo, CA
    Nice job! Wish I could try a piece. I like trying new things.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Fan
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    Oct 2013
    That looks excellent to me! I thought it would be lean but looks to have some nice marbling through it.

  6. #6
    TVWBB All-Star Matt Gard's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    That's right up there with geir's whale cooks for originality. Looks like some nice roast beef!
    WSM 22.5, 22.5 OTG
    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” -Henry Ford

  7. #7
    TVWBB Diamond Member Bob Sample's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Ottawa Canada
    Looks excellent. You've got to love it when people give you meat. Now you have me longing for my Christmas care package of venison.
    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries.....
    It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today is likely to come back and burn you in the butt tomorrow.

  8. #8
    TVWBB Honor Circle Tim McCann's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Like good prime rib! Chunk it up and make chili, that's how we do it.
    22.5 WSM , Performer DO (2005)

  9. #9
    TVWBB Gold Member Larry D.'s Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    But... the sight of Yogi walking on crutches is one I will never be able to erase from my memory.
    "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?"
    18.5 WSM | 22.5 OTG (green) | 22.5 Kettle (OTS, black)

  10. #10
    TVWBB Guru Gary S's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Kirk, nice job on the shank. Bear is very much like pork. It tends to be fatty and needs to render out. In my younger years we used to shoot them in farmers fields eating their grain, no licence required in those days. I've had several bear roasts. It can be pretty tasty. I wasn't smoking meat like I am now but if I had an opportunity to have bear again I would love to try it on the WSM.
    There's no such thing as a bad cook if you learn something from it.
    26.75 Custom Kettle, SS rotisserie, WSM, BSK, Maverick 732, Laser, Thermapen,

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