Smoked Bear Ribs

Had we have known the result would be this good we would have taken more pictures. I will be sure to update with step-by-step pictures next time we are to make this again.

Brief post here with a fantastic recipe! Smoked Bear Ribs!

When we are blessed enough to harvest an animal we try to use as much of the animal as possible. This includes sometimes rendering down the fat, boiling bones for broth, and several cuts of meat many hunters scrap. One of these often-overlooked delicacies would be the ribs. Smoked bear ribs in particular is one of our favorites!

We absolutely love our pellet grill, and enjoy the opportunity to cook on our Traeger whenever we can. We enjoy the versatility of the grill and being able to go from grilling to quality smoked meats, giving each meal a flavor of its own. Smoking meats is definitely a learned skill, and can lead to great trial and error, but more often than not some fabulous dishes!

Finn and Mommy!
Alice’s 2021 Bear!

We had one rack of ribs left from our bear I harvested this past season, not wanting to make any mistakes in fear of ruining what little is left of our favorite game I had played around with a few racks of pork spare ribs until I was sure that I had not only perfected the rub, but the method, as bear cooks similarly to pork. Although it cooks much like pork in terms of fat content, bear has a very unique taste, which when prepared properly is absolutely flavorful. Our preferred methods for bear are either slow cooked or smoked. This flavorful and tender red game meat when combined with the smoke which rests on the surface of the meat during the process really brings out the distinctive and delicious sweetness found only in bear.

The key to quality smoked products is time, the slower the better. When I initially started running my experiments on the pork racks, I attempted the ever popular “3-2-1 method”. I was turned on to this way of smoking as it was a very easy process and simple enough recipe to follow. However, I found this way to often lead to an overcooked and “dry” end result. Although it was edible and the flavor was good, I was looking for a more “fall off the bone” method that does not compromise the taste of the game. The following recipe hit a home run for the Wheezy family, and perhaps will for yours as well.

Please note that although I used bear ribs in the recipe, pork and beef can be a great substitute. Please also, follow all necessary precautions and food handling measures to ensure proper and safe preparation of all meat. It is recommended that bear is frozen for a minimum of 30 days at -20°F prior to consumption, and should be brought to a temperature of a minimum of 150°F to rid the meat of the possibility of any parasites including trichinosis.

Enjoy the recipe, post your results and thoughts in the comments below!

-Alice Wiese

Wheezy’s Smoked Bear Ribs


  • Rack of Bear Ribs
  • 4 Tbsp: Melted Honey
  • 4 Tbsp: Melted Butter
  • Rib Rub (recipe below)
  • ½ C: of your favorite Barbeque Sauce


  • ¼ C: Brown Sugar
  • ⅛ C: Garlic Powder
  • ⅛ C: Onion Powder
  • ⅛ C: Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (this brand makes a fantastic substitute!)
  • ⅛ C: Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp: Cayenne Pepper (use less if you are sensitive to heat)
  • 1 Tbsp: Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp: Fine Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp: Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp: Chinese 5 Spice (I found this recipe if you struggle finding this in stores)
  • Dash of Cinnamon.

Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish and mix well.

Spritz Mixture:

  • 1 C: Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 C: Water


  1. Rinse bear ribs with cold running water and pat dry.
  2. Trim off any silver skin and membrane. Leave the fat! Not only is the fat delicious it also aides in keeping the meat moist and flavorful.
  3. Once ribs are prepped, generously rub in the Rib Rub. Be sure to cover all sides and edges of the ribs.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Once ready to cook, remove ribs from the fridge, allow ribs to rest in room temperature for a short while.
  6. Meanwhile, go fire up that smoker! Fill the hopper with your favorite pellets. We prefer Pecan, Hickory, or the Traeger Signature Blend. Set temperature to 225° and allow to preheat. (About 15 minutes.)
  7. Once smoker is ready, place ribs directly on grate, meat side up
  8. Leave ribs to smoke for 3 hours, spritzing with the Apple Cider Vinegar mixture every 30-45 minutes. This will add moisture to the meat and help create that smokey bark.
  9. After 3 hours, remove the ribs and place meat side up on a sheet of Heavy Duty Tin-foil
  10. Spritz ribs again with the vinegar mixture. Brush all sides with melted butter, followed by melted honey.
  11. Turn ribs bone side up and wrap tightly in tin-foil.
  12. Leaving the temperature at 225°, place ribs back on the grate bone side up, smoke for another 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  13. Remove ribs from tin-foil, place back on the grill grate, brush the ribs with your favorite barbeque sauce.
  14. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  15. Remove ribs, cover in tin-foil and allow meat to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Doesn’t a meal like this seem to taste better when you harvest the animal yourself?
Let us help!
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