Wild Recipes

Spring Bear Barbacoa

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As winter slowly fades and temperatures start to rise again, for many hunters, sights are set on bear camp. While the attractiveness of hunting black bear has increased, so has the fondness for its incredible meat. Compared to a bear harvested in the fall, spring bear, as you can imagine, has very little fat. Although these bruins obviously lack fat stores after hibernation, there’s certainly no shortage of tenderness, making the meat excellent table fare for a variety of dishes.

Shredded meat is a staple ingredient in street tacos, but the use of bear takes them to another level all together. In this recipe, flour tortillas are loaded with spicy barbacoa and topped with a simple corn salsa that’s bursting with flavor. I have no doubt that even your most game adverse friends or family will be reaching for seconds.

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Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 4 hours
Serves 4-6
Special equipment needed: Pellet grill, dutch oven.

3-4lb bear roast
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
1 orange, juiced
3 limes, juiced
2 cups bone broth
4 chipotle chilies in adobo

Corn Salsa:
1/2 cup corn kernels
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, onion powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a sealable bag and season bear roast generously. Leave bag in fridge for at least an hour, or for best results, overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat pellet grill to 225F.
  3. Place bear roast directly on the grill and cook for 1 hour.
  4. Remove roast from grill and place in a large dutch oven with garlic, orange juice, lime juice, bone broth and chipotle chilies. Cover and place back on the grill. Cook for 3-4 hours or until fork tender. Add more bone broth throughout if needed. Internal temperature of the meat should be 205F when finished.
  5. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the corn salsa in a bowl and mix well.
  6. Remove roast from grill and remove from braising liquid. Shred the bear using two forks and pour a bit of the braising liquid back onto the meat.
  7. To build the tacos add the shredded meat to the tortillas and top with corn salsa. Enjoy!

Trevor McDavid

I live in rural Southern Alberta, where the edge of the prairie meets the foot of Canada’s awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. I grew up here, and after a quite a few years spent abroad, I eventually made my way back to my roots to realign myself with the community that raised me.

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