Bear Jerky

As seen on a recent cooking segment of our new TV show, The Hunt, this is a quick and easy recipe for Bear Jerky.


  • 3-4 pounds bear meat, cut into strips
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup Morton Tender Quick or curing salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic

When slicing meat for jerky, the traditional cut is in strips that go with the grain.  For an easy to chew cut, meat can be sliced across the grain, and bear meat, being large-grained, simply melts in your mouth when cut this way.  In a large ceramic or glass bowl, mix all brine ingredients with a wire whisk until salt and sugar are dissolved.

Add bear meat, mix thoroughly, and put a plate on top to be sure all meat remains submerged.  Soak 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.  Drain brine and remove meat.  Do not rinse meat.  If additional pepper flavor is desired, grind fresh black pepper on bear at this time.  Pat dry or place on racks and let air dry for up to 1 hour.

Follow smoking directions on your smoker.  Cooking times vary greatly and depend on make and model of smoker and outside weather conditions.  Try to keep the temperature of the smoker between 150º and 200º.  Check for doneness after 3 hours.  Larger cuts of jerky can be finished on a baking sheet in the oven at 165º, check every 15 minutes.  When jerky is done, place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.  Keep refrigerated or frozen if storing for an extended period of time.

Want to spice it up?  Additional seasonings can be added to brine.  Try lemon pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, crushed jalapenos, liquid smoke, soy or teriyaki sauce, juniper berries, allspice, white pepper and/or honey.

For more bear recipes see the link on this website to my book, Cooking Big Game, in which I devote an entire chapter to bear.

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