Swedish Bear Steak

This past season I spent a lot of time hunting bears. I had several encounters and even a shot opportunity. I am new to archery and flubbed it. Thankfully a good friend harvested a bear and gifted us some meat!

Bears can carry trichinosis, which is a serious disease. This dissuades many from trying it. However, cooked to the proper temperatures, bear is safe to eat! An internal temperature of 160F for at least 3 minutes ensures that trichinosis is killed. So be sure to use it in dishes where it’s going to be cooked well done and still be tender and tasty!

Among the assortment of cuts we were given were two steaks. Bear taste and texture can vary widely from bear to bear. Environmental conditions, diet and field care after the shot can also affect texture and flavor. I wanted to be sure these steaks were excellent, but without losing the meat in the dish. My idea was Swedish style steak.

My mom used to cook Swedish Steak, and I remember it fondly. Adapting that dish to bear seemed a natural compliment. And it was. The meat was flavorful and went well with the tomato based gravy. It was also incredibly tender. I can’t wait to make this again!

Swedish Style Bear Steak

We used an instant pot for this recipe, but you can also use a slow cooker. I recommend 4-5 hours cook time in the slow cooker, otherwise the process is pretty much the same!

We added some green beans to the pot as well. You can too!

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time1 hr
  • Total Time1 hr 15 min
  • Cooking Method
    • Searing
    • Braising
    • Instant Pot
    • Slow Cooking


  • 2 lbs bear steaks
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp meat tenderizer
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup low sodium broth (beef, bear, venison, etc)
  • 3-4 crushed tomatoes
  • small bunch fresh sage (whole)
  • small bunch fresh thyme (whole)



Pound bear steaks thin



Tenderize with meat tenderizer



Season steaks with garlic powder and black pepper


Dredge both sides of steaks with corn starch


Heat olive oil in skillet


Cook onions in olive oil until translucent, about 3 mins


Sear bear steaks quickly, with onions


Place thyme and sage in bottom of instant pot


Place steaks and onions on top of herbs


Deglaze the skillet with some beef broth


Add broth to instant pot


Add remainder of beef broth to instant pot


Add tomatoes to instant pot. DO NOT STIR!


Place lid on pot, seal and PRESSURE COOK for 45 minutes. After cook time, allow for 15 minute natural release.


Remove the steaks from the instant pot and discard the herbs


You can make a thicker gravy by using the saute option on the instant pot, after removing the steaks, and reduce sauce.


Pour sauce over steak and serve with rice!



TJ is an avid outdoorsman, with a strong interest in conservation of all species and the preservation of our public lands.

1 thought on “Swedish Style Bear Steak”

  1. I’ve hunted bears for 35 years, and my family has eaten LOTS of bear meat in that time.

    You are absolutely correct regarding differences in bear texture and flavor, depending upon fall/spring bears, young/old bears and most particularly their primary diet the 3-6 weeks prior to harvest. Essentially, they are what they eat when it comes to flavor. Carrion eaters and dump bears will taste exactly as you imagine their diet smells. Be discriminating when you harvest a bear for best outcome at the table!

    Great recipe above.

    As a variant, omit the crushed tomatoes, liberally add sauté mushrooms, done with the onions and garlic, and utilize broth as above, but add a can of mushroom soup undiluted, directly out of the can to smother the bear chops.

    Cook as above, provided the meat is thawed, if frozen add 15 minutes to pressure cook time.

    Use the resulting, fairly thick gravy over mashed potatoes or steamed rice.


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