Wild Recipes

Smothered Black Bear Chops

Latest posts by Jeff Benda (see all)
4.5 from 2 votes

For most hunters, spring means chasing gobblers or snow geese. But there’s another hunt that will get you back outside and get your adrenaline going – bear hunting. There are a handful of western states that offer over-the-counter tags with strong and growing bear populations. A spot and stalk hunt will allow you to chase these big animals just out of their winter dens roaming food sources to put the weight back on they lost during hibernation.

After receiving some bear steaks from a friend who hunts in Minnesota, I created this recipe, and was hooked on bear meat. Because I live in North Dakota, I have a few years before I will be able to draw a non-resident tag for a fall bear hunt in Minnesota. So I’ve decided to pull the trigger and apply for an over-the-counter (OTC) spring tag in Montana. I plan to take the train from Fargo to Troy, Montana where my wife’s uncle lives. He’s agreed to drive me up into the Kootenai National Forest and drop me off where I can set up a base camp. My plan is to walk old logging roads and clearcuts at dawn and dusk. If I time it just right, these will be one of the first spots to green up and attract bears who are looking for a quick and easy meal on the fresh grass. The thought of spending my day walking old logging roads looking for fresh bear scat is also much more appealing than sitting and glassing for hours on end until my eyes bleed.

Boneless bear chops have a tendency to dry out when we cook them to the recommended 165 degrees F. The reason for cooking them to such a high internal temperature is to ensure we don’t get trichinosis, a disease people can get by eating raw or undercooked bear meat. I developed this rich and flavorful pan sauce to help keep the bear meat nice and moist. The tangy Dijon and Worcestershire is balanced out by the heavy cream. This goes really well served over rice, but I used my 7-year-old daughter’s favorite egg noodles.

Serving Size: 4

Time to make: 45 minutes

Also works with: Wild pork

Serve with: Rice or egg noodles

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Smothered Black Bear Chops

Recipe by Jeff Benda
4.5 from 2 votes
Course: Wild Recipes


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  • 4 (6-ounce, 1-inch-thick) boneless bear chops

  • 2 teaspoons Harvesting Nature Big Game Blend

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons butter

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced

  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic

  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon diced fresh rosemary leaves

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Salt

  • Cooked egg noodles or rice, for serving


  • Sprinkle both sides of the bear chops evenly with the Harvesting Nature Big Game Blend and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add bear chops to skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until bottoms are golden brown, about 5 minutes (the bear meat will not be cooked through yet). Transfer bear chops to a large plate.
  • Reduce heat under the skillet to medium. Add butter, onion, and garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
  • Add flour and rosemary and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Stir in chicken broth, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Return bear chops, browned side up, to the skillet. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for about 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove skillet from the oven and transfer bear chops to serving plates on top of hot cooked egg noodles or rice.
  • Return skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Whisk in heavy whipping cream and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt if needed. Divide sauce evenly among the bear chops and serve immediately.

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Jeff Benda

Cooking gives me a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people's perceptions. My goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. I hope that by sharing and celebrating the food I create with the fish and wild game I harvest, I can highlight the great contribution so many hunters and anglers have made to conservation in this country, and reflect the freedom we have to enjoy America's great outdoors.

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