Bear Sausage Recipes


Best Outdoor Cooking Equipment For Sale

Visit Our Store
By Robin Follette Bear hunting is my favorite season. I love the work of setting up bait sites, lugging bait, and especially studying game camera photos. We’re able to bait here in Maine because our bear population is too high and increases each year. It sounds like it should be easy, but it took me five years to shoot my first black bear and another two years to shoot the second. The first bears appeared on cameras at both of our sites in three and four days. By the third week of baiting there were ten bears at my site and one at my husband Steve’s. On opening day my site was down three and Steve’s still had only one. None of the bears were visiting the bait barrels during legal hunting hours. After 60 hours sitting on the ground at two sites and a tree stand at one, I was losing the desire to hunt. There were more blackberries and mushrooms this year than I’d ever seen. Bears strolled through our sites without a side glance at the barrels. You can offer up food but you can’t make a bear eat no matter how hard you will it to. I made the decision then to take the first bear that wasn’t a sow with cubs or a cub. She walked in from behind the barrel, disappeared to the right to the trail I knew she’d use to enter the site, and stood broadside. Three minutes from the time I saw her, it was over. Steve and friends took the tenderloin off and skinned her for me, and Steve broke the carcass down into sizes I could manage. I spent three days teaching myself how to debone a bear and grinding the meat into sausage. The people who raise our pork for us supplied the fatback. The fourth day was spent seasoning the meat. It was simple work but more time intensive than I expected. Next time I’ll have the butcher do the deboning. His experience and tools are much better than mine.

Bear Bacon Cheeseburgers

Before seasoning the sausage, I ground a few pounds of burger. I purchased two pounds of excellent quality slab bacon to make bear bacon burger. Freeze and cube it the same way you do fatback. This makes the best burger by far I’ve eaten. To add a little more to the burger you can place a piece of cheddar cheese in the burger before grilling. When our daughter Taylor shot her first bear two years ago she ground cheddar cheese into the burger. Fantastic! With other bears we asked the butcher to give us as many roasts as possible. If we want sausage later, we can grind a roast. It took me a while to figure out how to keep roasts moist and tender while cooking them all the way through.

Crock Pot Bear Roast

Make 1” deep and wide slits every four inches in a bear roast. Place a small clove of garlic in each slit. Sear the roast in bacon fat, and then place the roast in a crock pot. I like to use beef stock. If you don’t have homemade stock you can easily substitute with a good store bought low-sodium broth. Add baseball-sized potatoes (smaller will finish cooking too early and fall apart) and large whole carrots to the crock pot, and cover all but two inches of the roast with stock. Cover. Set on low and allow to cook for six to seven hours. Let the roast sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Add salt and pepper to taste after plating.

Dutch Oven Bear Roast

Prepare the roast, potatoes and carrots (and add an onion if you’d like) the same way described in the Crock Pot recipe. Replace the crock pot with a cast iron Dutch oven. Do not sear the roast in the Dutch oven. Adding cold liquid to hot cast iron can cause it to crack the same way hot water in a cold glass cracks. Roast in the oven at 300° for two and a half to three hours. Allow to set for ten minutes, customary for roasts, before slicing.

Fresh Sausage

Fresh sausage is simple and a great way to break into sausage making. You don’t need casings or a sausage maker for any of these recipes. I used 20% fat because bear is already lean, and all fat should be scraped from the meat to avoid a gamey flavor. Freeze fatback until it is 50-75% frozen. It’s easier to cut into one-inch chunks and it helps keep the grinder cool. Warm metal can change the texture of the sausage as it’s ground. If you’re using a lighter-weight grinder you use a larger grind the first time and a finer grind on a second grind. Alternate meat and fatback through the grinder, and be ready to mix them more when you’re done grinding. Start these recipes with bear meat already ground with pork fatback. After blending in the seasoning by hand or the flat beater attachment of a stand mixer, allow the fresh sausage to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Cook a small portion as a sample. If you’re satisfied with the flavor it is ready to be cooked or packaged and frozen. Never press the juices out of sausage as it cooks. It will be dry and disappointing. Bear meat should be thoroughly cooked to avoid trichinosis. As the sausage cooks the juice will slowly well up on top of the patties. You shouldn’t depend on the juice to run clear as an indication that the sausage is fully cooked. When it doubt, make a small slice in the center and take a look.

Italian Bear Sausage

2.5 pounds of ground bear (with fatback already ground in) 3 medium garlic gloves 1 tablespoon dry basil 1 tablespoon dry oregano 1 tablespoon dry rosemary 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon cayenne ½ tablespoon black pepper 2 teaspoons sea salt 2 tablespoons sugar (helps browning) I use this sausage in spaghetti sauce, frittata and quiche, and on its own with fried eggs.
Hot Italian bear sausage.

Garlic and Onion Bear Sausage

1 pound ground bear 2 teaspoons pepper 2 teaspoons basil 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh onion If you have a sausage stuffer and casings I highly recommend this recipe for Italian sausage sandwiches. Pan fry the sausages in a cast iron skillet. Half way through cooking add a little olive oil if needed, and one cup each sliced onions and bell peppers.

Hot Italian Bear Sausage

If you want to heat up your sausage you can add two to three teaspoons of red pepper flakes to the Garlic and Onion recipe above. Better to add a little a time and add more if needed. Once it’s in there you can’t take it out.

Maple Breakfast Bear Sausage

I use maple sugar in my maple breakfast sausage. The maple sugar caramelizes quickly so you’ll want to cook this sausage covered and over low heat. Turn it often. By the time it’s finished cooking the outside will be crispy brown from the sugar and sweet and juicy on the inside. 1 pound ground bear 1/3 cup maple sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper You may substitute the maple sugar for ¼ cup real maple syrup. To increase the maple flavor without adding a lot of sugar you may add 1-2 teaspoons of maple extract.
Maple sugar.