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Outdoors Girl grew up believing that sweet potatoes were glorified pig food and bear meat was an unchewable lump of greasy protein. Folks with a contrary point of view always said the dislike was directly tied to not having those foods prepared the right way. After much experimentation, she still thinks sweet potatoes are pig food, but the outdoors writer at the Cumberland Times-News turned her around on bear.

Mike Sawyers counsels: For bear stew, all I do is use a packet of McCormick Beef Stew Mix, perfect for a Maryland bear since McCormick is a Maryland company. I cut the meat into fairly small cubes and just follow the recipe, adding potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and a small amount of green bell pepper. The pepper makes a nice difference in the stew. For grilled backstraps, it's McCormick again, this time the Montreal Grill Mate. I marinate the pieces of backstrap for 30 to 45 minutes and then grill the meat fast and hot. I've found that the medium was a lot more tender than the well-done.

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