Black Bear Recipe: MeatEater Stuffed Meatloaf

Stuffed Black Bear MeatEater Meatloaf

Hey guys!

Today I thought I would share with you our most favorite meatloaf recipe.  Ok, our ONLY meatloaf recipe because after you taste this, you won’t make meatloaf any other way!  I promise.  It’s amazing!

We first happened upon this recipe when we were watching the show MeatEater.  It’s a really cool hunting show and of course, we were really interested in the Alaska episodes!

I can’t remember what kind of meat he was using to make his meatloaf but we just use beef.  That is until I got my black bear and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it for our first meal!

It was DELICIOUS.  It didn’t taste any different than beef honestly.  When we had grilled steaks out of one of the backstraps, I couldn’t tell a difference other than it was smoother or more velvety maybe?  Richer?  Which in my opinion isn’t a bad thing.

I got a spring bear that was pretty young between 3-5 years the Fish and Game guy estimated when we went to seal him so I was hoping he would taste really good and so far I’m a fan.

Later in the season when the salmon are running and the bears start eating a lot of fish, it’s well known that the meat doesn’t taste good anymore, so spring bear hunting before they get into the fish is definitely for us.

So onto the recipe!!

We used a nice backstrap and decided to ground up some bacon with it to give it a little more fat content.  What’s not better with bacon?  I know what you’re thinking, bacon is generally overpowering so why would I mask the taste with it?  We’ve made this meatloaf with ground up bacon in really lean beef steaks as well and we can’t taste the bacon at all.  Which I love bacon, but in this case just using it for fat works pretty well and I’m glad it doesn’t have an overpowering bacon taste.

We use the meat grinder attachment on our KitchenAid mixer.


Bear Meatloaf

Bear Meat Meatloaf


There are two mixtures.  You’ll have the ground meat with herbs, bread crumbs and oats, and onion then you will have the spinach mixture with some garlic and spices.


Bear Meat Meatloaf


Next you’ll put the bottom part of the loaf in the pan and start layering the spinach mixture, cheese and pine nuts.


Bear Meat Meatloaf


Top with the rest of the meat then pour that amazing seedy mustard and honey sauce on top.


Bear Meat Meatloaf

Bear Meat Meatloaf

The recipe says to bake until internal temp reaches 150 degrees but the important thing to know about bear meat is that you need to make sure it’s cooked very well all the way through just like pork.  So we baked it until it reached 160 degrees.  One spot that is a little stubborn is right on top in the middle really shallow so your thermometer is touching only the meat and not the inside spinach and cheese mixture.  So make sure to check the top!

Bear Meat Meatloaf

We served it up with some cornbread and baked beans and man, it pleased my southern soul something fierce!  So good.

Something I’ll also mention is that we like to make things as easy as possible so we used all dried spices, not fresh (even though fresh would be better I’m sure), and the recipe says 2 eggs in the ingredients list but only mentions one egg in the directions.  We used one egg.  We also use sliced cheese instead of cheese sticks.

What we did at first was just watched what Steven did when he made it on the show.  I couldn’t find a video to post for you here but you should try to find it!  I think it’s on Netflix right now.

So play around with it!  I’m sure it would be delicious with some mushrooms stuffed in there as well but honestly it’s so good the way it is.

So click HERE to go to the MeatEater website for the recipe or find it below!



3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons bacon grease)
1 onion, peeled and chopped finely (7oz or 1 ¼ cups)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (2T)
10 ounces baby spinach (or young spinach leaves, coarse stems removed)
Whole nutmeg, freshly grated (about ¼ teaspoon)
Pinch red chile flakes (1/4t.)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup finely chopped parsley (from one small bunch of flat leafed parsley)
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
½ cup milk
1 ½ pounds ground meat
2 eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Butter for greasing the pan
3 ounces provolone (or fontina) cut into sticks about 1/3 inch x 1/3 inch x 3   inches
3 tablespoons cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup seedy mustard mixed with 1t. honey for coating


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

3. Add the onion and cook until caramelized, about 6 minutes, and then season it with 1 teaspoon salt and  ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

4. Add the garlic and cook for  a minute  more. Remove half of the onion and garlic mixture and set that aside to cool.

5. Add the spinach and red chile flakes to the half remaining in the pan, and toss with tongs until the spinach is wilted.

6. With a microplane, finely grate ¼ teaspoon of the nutmeg over the spinach. Set aside to cool.

7. Place breadcrumbs, oatmeal, and chopped herbs in a small bowl. Pour milk over top. Let sit while you mix the meat.

8. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, cooled onion mixture, and the egg. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

9. Add the soaked breadcrumb mixture and combine well. You could use a spoon for mixing, but it’s easier to just use your hands.

10. Once the mixture is combined, lay a one-inch layer of the meatloaf mixture on the bottom of a loaf pan. Pat it down so it reaches the corners, and allow it to come up the sides a bit. You will fill this cavity with the filling.

11. Next, lay the cooled sautéed spinach over the meat mixture leaving a ½-inch border of meat around the spinach. Top the spinach with the cheese sticks lengthwise in the pans, forming a stripe in the center that runs the length of the pan. Next sprinkle the pine nuts over each stripe of cheese. Top with the remaining meat mixture and pat down. You want to be sure the top of the meat mixture meets the bottom meat mixture along the sides.

12. Pat the top of the loaf so it’s flat and even. Then coat with the seedy mustard.

13. Bake for an hour or until an instant read thermometer reads 150 when inserted in the center.


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