Braised Black Bear Shank

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The secret to cooking shanks? Taking advantage of their natural features! The silver and connective tissues in a shank break down into collagen and gelatin when treated right. Moisture in the pan and cooking at low heat for a prolonged period will have the silver disappear, leaving you with pieces of exceptionally fork-tender meat with a rich, bold flavour!



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole black bear shanks
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine or beer
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 small red onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (optional)


  1. Cut the shanks into 1 ½ inch steaks or pieces. You can do them bone-in or boneless, but the bone does add flavour to the dish. If you’d like, you can use butcher twine to tie the shanks into servings before cutting across the grain.
  2. Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a cast iron Dutch oven. Place shank pieces in the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and brown both sides. Remove from pan.
  3. Deglaze the frying pan you browned the shanks in— pour the beef broth and red wine in while the pan is still hot. Bring to a simmer. Scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge and blend any bits seared to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the shanks, onions, garlic, and rosemary. If using, the mushrooms and celery can be added and stirred to blend.
  5. Place a tight-fitting lid on the Dutch oven or roasting pan, and put it in the oven at 375°F. For smaller shanks, like deer, braise for 4 hours. Larger animals like bears, elk, moose, or bison will need approximately 6 hours. When done, the shanks will be fork tender.
  6. Serve with mashed potatoes, using the rich broth to drizzle over the plate.