Organic meat is one big reason many bowhunters venture afield, and wild game provides a great source of low-fat, protein-packed meals. Most wild game has more protein, less fat and fewer calories than domestic meats like beef, pork and chicken.
Arrowing an elk is like hitting the jackpot of wild meat. Adult cows and bulls provide hundreds of pounds of meals. A 3.5-ounce elk steak contains about 137 calories, 23 grams of protein, and 0.9 grams of fat. A similar-sized beef steak contains 267 calories, 26 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fat.
My dad, husband and I live in Montana. One of us usually connects with an elk each year. Because we’re lucky enough to have elk meat in our freezers, we’ve settled on a few favorite recipes, and we can highly recommend some others. Allow me to share:
Tenderloin gets its name because it’s the tenderest meat on the animal. This special cut doesn’t need much dressing up if it’s cooked right. That means don’t overcook it. You’ll find endless options for rubs and marinades. This recipe creates a simple marinade, and I’m a big fan of balsamic reduction sauce.
Elk spaghetti has been my toddler’s favorite way to eat elk since she started munching solid foods. Spaghetti is quick, delicious and a great way to use ground elk. This meal can be whipped up with pantry staples like noodles, tomato paste and sauce packets. Nearly any spaghetti recipe works, but here’s one specifically for elk.
Chad Mendes, a hunter and UFC athlete, says one of his all-time favorite pasta dishes is Italian elk sausage, roasted red pepper and goat cheese pasta.
Elk tacos are my husband’s favorite way to eat ground elk. I keep a healthy supply of tortillas, taco spices and shredded cheese handy for quick, simple dinners. This delicious recipe calls for barbequing assorted vegetables, which adds a delicious punch of flavor.
Pastrami takes some planning, and requires a few steps, but the result is worth it. MeatEater’s recipe recommends elk round or sirloin roasts for pastrami because of its uniform shape and few tough connective tissues. You’ll need a 3-pound block of meat. Brine the meat in your refrigerator for four or five days before putting it in the smoker and then the oven. It’s often enjoyed with rye bread, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and mustard or Italian dressing.
Roasts are great ways to cook wild game, especially if you’re not skilled in culinary arts. Elk meat shouldn’t be tough, but several hours in a slower cooker makes any cut melt in your mouth. Crockpots are a great way to deliver hot meals after work, and roasts are easy because you can throw in whatever you like with the meat. Most roast recipes include onions, carrots, celery and potatoes, but classic roasts don’t stop there. A former neighbor recommended ranch packets for seasoning, and it’s become the go-to recipe for wild-game roasts in my home.
If you want to spice up your meals, consider this Indian dish. The Portuguese brought this dish to India, and the Goa region made it their own while creating a globally popular dish. This dish is very spicy, so be warned. To go lighter on spice, swap dried Indian red chilies for dried Mexican guajillo chilies. You can find them at an Asian or Indian grocery store, or on Amazon.
Eva Shockey is a field-to-fork champion who shares her wild-game recipes on her blog and social-media accounts. One of her favorite dishes is her wild-game meatloaf. Shockey touts the recipe as easy, quick and healthy. And if you’re cooking for kids, you’re in luck. Her toddler loves it. Another wildly popular elk recipe is Shockey’s elk jalapeno popper recipe.
Whether you like Italian, Mexican, Indian, American or other styles of cooking, you’ll find endless culinary options for elk meat.