Hearne's Indians prepare a beeatee made of deer blood, fat, tender flesh, torn up heart and lung, mixed inside of a stomach roasted over a fire to steam the contents.
July 13, 1771
A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772
The twelfth was so exceedingly hot and sultry, that we did not move; but early in the morning of the thirteenth, after my companions had taken what dry provisions they chose from our unsociable strangers, we set out, and walked about fifteen or sixteen miles to the North and North by East, in expectation of arriving at the Copper-mine River that day; but when we had reached the top of a long chain of hills, between which we were told the river ran, we found it to be no more than a branch of it which empties itself into the main river about forty miles from its influx into the sea. At that time all the Copper Indians were dispatched different ways, so that there was not one in company, who knew the shortest cut to the main river. Seeing some woods to the Westward, and judging that the current of the rivulet ran that way, we concluded that the main river lay in that direction, and was not very remote from our present situation. We therefore directed our course by the side of it, when the Indians met with several very fine buck deer, which they destroyed; and as that part we now traversed afforded plenty of good fire-wood, we put up, and cooked the most comfortable meal to which we had sat down for some months. As such favourable opportunities of indulging the appetite happen but seldom, it is a general rule with the Indians, which we did not neglect, to exert every art in dressing our food which the most refined skill in Indian cookery has been able to invent, and which consists chiefly in boiling, broiling, and roasting: but of all the dishes cooked by those people, a beeatee, as it is called in their language, is certainly the most delicious, at least for a change, that can be prepared from a deer only, without any other ingredient. It is a kind of haggis, made with the blood, a good quantity of fat shred small, some of the tenderest of the flesh, together with the heart and lungs cut, or more commonly torn into small shivers; all which is put into the stomach, and roasted, by being suspended before the fire by a string. Care must be taken that it does not get too much heat at first, as the bag would thereby be liable to be burnt, and the contents be let out. When it is sufficiently done, it will emit steam, in the same manner as a fowl or a joint of meat; which is as much as to say, Come, eat me now: and if it be taken in time, before the blood and other contents are too much done, it is certainly a most delicious morsel, even without pepper, salt, or any other seasoning.