Honey Garlic Five-spice Black Bear Meatballs

Today, according to fur.ca, bear numbers are in the ballpark of 900,000 in North America. Healthy populations mean healthy harvest numbers, which means a very sustainable, nutritious, organic, and delicious meat to be had.

People ask all the time, “What does bear meat taste like?” Think of it as something that resembles a pork-tasting beef. The truth is, bear is a protein all on its own. You can substitute it for pork or beef, but remember bear should always be cooked to an internal temperature of over 160º F (71º C) due to the risk of trichinosis (also known as trichinellosis). If you are using bear in place of beef, know cook it to well-done! A temperature of 160°F makes it safe—and the meat will still be tender and juicy if cooked properly.


Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. or 3 cloves minced garlic 


  • 2 lbs. bear meat, ground and chilled (I use a 25% pork grind)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp or 2 cloves minced garlic


  1. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on the stove while you are making the meatballs. This helps it reduce and get that sticky consistency before you add it to your dish. Careful as it will boil over very quickly, usually when you’re not looking!
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  3. Add all your ingredients in a large bowl. Glove up and mix by hand for two minutes or until mixture is very tacky. Form balls roughly 1.5 ounces each, or an inch in diameter. Throw them from hand to hand to firm them up—this helps them stick together.
  4. Add lots of butter to a deep-sided dish or pan, and heat on the stove at medium-high. Once your butter starts to brown, add a few meatballs at a time, browning them all around. Roll them around as they brown so they don’t flatten on one side. If they are a little square, no worries, they’ll still taste fantastic!
  5. Once the meatballs are seared, place the meatballs and sauce in an oven-safe pan and cook uncovered in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71º C).
  6. Serve with fried rice, along with other Asian-inspired favourites from right in our recipe library.