Bear Fat

Mibowhunter49

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Mar 3, 2021
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This year was my first time bear hunting. Got to full draw to early on a giant on public land in MI, passed a smaller one earlier in the week.

In running through my mental check list of packing out and butchering, I was wondering how many of you save fat, for eating or other uses.

I'm not expecting a fall big woods bear to have particularly tasty fat, but I have seen articles about using the fat as a water proofer.

Any input?
 

jstahlberg

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Sep 28, 2020
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Check out Clay Newcomb's articles on the website for Bear Hunting Magazine. He goes through many uses as well as shows how to render it properly. I'd say not harvesting the fat is pretty wasteful when you consider the many uses for it. It should be something you take out of the woods with you.
 

30338

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I've personally rendered lard off of 4 or 5 bears. In general using an outdoor cooker on very low temp, slowly melt fat. Using warmed quart or pint jars and lids, fill jar will funnel that has several layers of cheesecloth to pour through. The warm lard will look like beer actually and will turn bright white upon cooling.

Works great on leather, pie crusts, cookie recipes, etc. Definitely interesting stuff and has a very long shelf life. Biggest issue on rendering is allowing the heat to get too high. Go slow and it works great.
 
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Mibowhunter49

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Mar 3, 2021
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I've personally rendered lard off of 4 or 5 bears. In general using an outdoor cooker on very low temp, slowly melt fat. Using warmed quart or pint jars and lids, fill jar will funnel that has several layers of cheesecloth to pour through. The warm lard will look like beer actually and will turn bright white upon cooling.

Works great on leather, pie crusts, cookie recipes, etc. Definitely interesting stuff and has a very long shelf life. Biggest issue on rendering is allowing the heat to get too high. Go slow and it works great.

Hows the taste?
 

rclouse79

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As I browse post titles I gauge my interest level from one to ten and usually open them if I hit a six. This post title generated a solid ten for me. I rendered the fat from the bear in my avatar and it is freaking amazing. I was able to get three big mason jars from my spring bear and am down to my last 1/2 a jar. It truly is white gold and everything it touches turns into a masterpiece. I have used it to brown game meat, bake with, and make pie crust. Usually those that I cook for rave about the meals I prepare with bear fat (even if I didn't disclose bear fat was used). I love bear meat and prize the fat just as much as the meat. After rendering the fat once I am kicking myself for not doing it on my prior bears. I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to replenish my supply this spring. Try it at least once and I bet you will utilize the fat on all future bears.
 

Agross

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Were you n the up or the lp? Just curious. I have never saved the fat off a bear. The guides always told us to get the fat off and cool the meat as fast as possible but I have read a lot of articles on how great the bear fat is.
 

30338

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Hows the taste?
Its been excellent as noted in other posts. Now to clarify, these are berry and acorn fed bears. If one was feeding on a dead cow it may be a different story. Also, I got one batch of lard too warm and it indeed does smell bad.
 

Gnatboy911

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Aug 30, 2017
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I ended up with 2.5 gallons of rendered bear fat from my bear this fall. It is awesome and I use it all the time for cooking in place of oil from the store. The bear I killed was feeding heavily on acorns, so its got a slight nuttiness to it. I wish I'd have done a better job getting more of the fat off of him.
 
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Mibowhunter49

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Any of you guys have experience with both spring and fall bear fat? Seems most of the positive feedbacks I've read talks about berry-fed spring bears
 
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Mibowhunter49

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Were you n the up or the lp? Just curious. I have never saved the fat off a bear. The guides always told us to get the fat off and cool the meat as fast as possible but I have read a lot of articles on how great the bear fat is.
I hunted Baraga Co in the UP. Have an opportunity for a semi-DIY black bear hunt in Anchorage this September, though.
 

Runningwater

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Agree with all the above. An outstanding fat for cooking, baking, dipping, etc. Mine have been fall AK berry bears, I'm sure you could get a stinker depending on diet. If the meats good I'd imagine the fay should be to.
 
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Mibowhunter49

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I’ve used the fat from my bears to cut into elk and deer burger and that was outstanding.
That's a good idea. I generally don't add fat to my venison, but with the amount of burgers I've been cooking, that might be my next trial.

Agree with all the above. An outstanding fat for cooking, baking, dipping, etc. Mine have been fall AK berry bears, I'm sure you could get a stinker depending on diet. If the meats good I'd imagine the fay should be to.
Good point.

What do you mean by "dipping"?
 

DawnPatrol

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Nunya
Great thread; hope I can put this info to use this spring.

In terms of getting the fat outta the woods, do y'all cut it off in the field (and if so, what do you put it in? is it firm enough to just go in a separate game bag?) or leave it attached to the quarters and such to be cut off later (seems like if its a 65 degree May afternoon, I'd want to get it off the meat to help the cooling)?

I'd take it all one way or another; just looking to learn from others' experiences.

Thanks!
 

roosiebull

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oregon coast
I've personally rendered lard off of 4 or 5 bears. In general using an outdoor cooker on very low temp, slowly melt fat. Using warmed quart or pint jars and lids, fill jar will funnel that has several layers of cheesecloth to pour through. The warm lard will look like beer actually and will turn bright white upon cooling.

Works great on leather, pie crusts, cookie recipes, etc. Definitely interesting stuff and has a very long shelf life. Biggest issue on rendering is allowing the heat to get too high. Go slow and it works great.
how are you storing your rendered fat? i'm going to start saving and rendering it all moving forward, because there is no reason not to, and it seems to have value almost equal to the meat for many uses.
 

roosiebull

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Any of you guys have experience with both spring and fall bear fat? Seems most of the positive feedbacks I've read talks about berry-fed spring bears
probably mostly a quantity thing. a fall bear has a lot of fat, some spring bear may not have enough to be worth messing with.

as for taste, i would expect most bear fat to be good, the rendering process is taking it down to oil, rendering out the impurities, so it seems like it would all be good.

best way to find out would be go to SE AK and kill one of those bears gorging on rotten pink salmon, haha... the rendered fat may be the only palatable part of that bear
 

Cameron.25

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I prefer to use ovenaufs to treat my boots, but bear fat is awesome for cooking. Makes great pastry and crusts and is good for frying. And dont assume the meat and fat won't be good, they just tend to taste like whatever they've been eating, mine had purple blood and smelled like blackberries. I canned all the meat except for one ham, which we made a smoked honey glazed ham out of. Everyone thats tried it says it tastes amazing. Good luck this year, hope you and i both connect on a good bruin!
 

30338

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how are you storing your rendered fat? i'm going to start saving and rendering it all moving forward, because there is no reason not to, and it seems to have value almost equal to the meat for many uses.
I've stored some pint jars in the fridge for 2 years and it keeps super good. While you are rendering, have a small pot of water with your lids in there warming up. Don't boil the lids, just warm them. Then filter the lard into the jar, put a warm lid on and spin on the rim tightly. MIne have all self sealed doing that. If you filter well, then the pure lard lasts for an amazingly long time.
 

Runningwater

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Broomfield, CO
That's a good idea. I generally don't add fat to my venison, but with the amount of burgers I've been cooking, that might be my next trial.


Good point.

What do you mean by "dipping"?
we sometimes warm it to liquid, add some seasoning, and dip crusty bread or vegetables in it. Think fondue. Its just a really good fat. I'll try and post some pics of the process...
 
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