By Gabby Zaldumbide
Growing up, beef tips made in the crockpot was a staple dinner in our home. My mom would wake up a little earlier for work, prep the meat and spices, and set the crockpot on "low" before she took us to school and then went to work. She always paired it with rice and steamed broccoli; affordable sides that went far when it came to feeding three hungry kids.
When I pulled this black bear shank out of the crockpot, not only was it falling off the bones, but the flavor of those beef tips shot back into my memories. It tasted exactly like that meal I ate so many times as a kid. This time, though, was extra special because of the critter featured as the main course: my first bear. I decided to pair it with mashed potatoes, acorn squash with brown sugar and cinnamon, and a thick gravy to pour on top of the pulled meat (and the potatoes, too, of course).
This goes to show how similar bear can taste to beef when it's cooked well. It's rapidly become my favorite wild game and I love that I found a way to combine elements of my childhood into the bear-y meals I cook today. It's nothing fancy, but it is delicious; enjoy my recipe for pulled bear shank below!
- 1 bear shank (feeds two with some leftovers)
- PS Seasoning Chop Shop spice blend
- PS Seasoning Good Fella spice blend
- 1 tbsp oil for searing
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 4 crushed cloves of garlic
- Garlic powder
Bring your shank up to room temperature. Pat dry.
Bring your oil up to a medium-high temperature in a nonstick or cast iron pan. I like to use olive oil. Generously season the shank with PS Seasoning's Chop Shop, Good Fella, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on all sides. Then, sear the shank in the hot oil on all sides until crisp on the outside.
Put your browned shank into your crockpot and cover with your stock of choice or water. I used water this time around because I wanted the shank to make its own stock while it cooked so I could use it in the gravy later. Add in your rosemary, thyme, garlic, and the scrapings and oil from the bottom of your searing pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Set your crockpot on high and cook the shank for 6 hours or until it's falling off the bone. When it's done, I like to pull it off the bone and season it with a little bit more Chop Shop. Top with gravy, serve with a side of mashed potatoes, and enjoy!