Wild Recipes

Black Bear Bo Ssam Roast

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Bo Ssam is a traditional Korean dish that slowly roast a large cut of meat until it is fork tender that is then finished with a crispy sugar-coated crusted and served wrapped in a lettuce leaf with a medley of rice, pickled vegetables and the famous ssam sauce. All thanks have to go to the Korean restaurant Momofuku that introduced me (and many others) to this wonderful dish. I love whole muscle roast, and this recipe does an excellent job at showcasing the versatility of a well-done roast. What I love most about this dish is that it is inherently designed to share family style, which complements the utilization of a large roast, especially a meat as special as bear. Black bear, with its high fat content, makes an excellent protein chose for this dish that will surely become a favorite. Venison front shoulders also make a good substitute. This black bear bo ssam roast dish has become a New Year’s tradition for my family and friends., who absolutely love it. As an added bonus, it also makes a wonderful first introduction to wild game, while providing a stunning presentation with relatively few steps in the kitchen. I hope it finds a place in your repeat recipes collection!

Brandon Dale


Entrée 6 people

Appetizer 10-12 people

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Black Bear Bo Ssam Roast

Recipe by Brandon Dale
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Course: Wild Recipes


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  • For the Roast
  • 1 black bear roast (3-5lbs)

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • For the Accompaniments
  • 6-8 Fresh lettuce leaves

  • 1 cup Kimchi

  • 4 cups steamed rice

  • Ginger-scallion sauce
  • 4 whole green onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • ¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed but olive will do in a pinch)

  • kosher salt to taste

  • Ssam sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang)

  • 1 tablespoon Korean spicy chili paste (gochujang)

  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ cup neutral oil


  • In a bowl, combine soy sauce, ½ cup of brown sugar, rice vinegar, minced garlic, grated ginger, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place the bear roast in a large marinating bag, pouring the flavorful concoction over it. Seal it up, and let it chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours, allowing the marinade to penetrate the meat.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once ready, take the marinated bear roast out of the refrigerator, letting any excess marinade drip off. Bake roast until it is tender enough to be pulled apart by fork (typically 3-4 hours).
  • While the bear cooks, prepare the two sauces. Combine the fermented soybean paste, spicy chili paste, sherry vinegar, garlic and oil into a bowl. Whisk until homogenous and set aside for serving. Repeat the process for the ginger-scallion sauce in a separate bowl.
  • Let the bear roast rest for a few minutes outside of the oven. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees or broil to high. Cover the external surface of the roast with the remaining brown sugar, and once the oven is to temperature, place the roast back into the oven to caramelize the sugar and brown the crust.
  • Remove the bear and serve hot. Shred meat from the roast and combine with bear meat onto a fresh lettuce leaf, a spoonful of steamed rice , kimchi and a dollop of the ssam and scallion sauces. Wrap and enjoy!

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Brandon Dale

Brandon grew up in South Louisiana camping, kayaking, hunting and fishing, and he is an avid fly-fisherman and hunter. Now living in NYC for graduate and medical school, he finds solace in the woods and waters of the Upstate NY, Hudson Valley, Long Island and Vermont.

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