Tips and Guidelines for Cooking Elk.
Elk is a healthy high protein and low fat alternative to beef. And because it is low fat, it has more connective tissue than beef so it should be cooked low and slow. Overcooking game meat, be it bison or elk will create a tough piece of meat and you will be disappointed. Over-cooking is a big NO.
Why low and slow?
- Cooking the meat gently with a bit of liquid breaks down the connective tissues and infused the meat with the flavors of the marinating liquids.
- Cooking methods like stewing, braising, slow cooking are good methods for tougher cuts like shoulder, neck, shanks, chuck, osso buco and stewing cubes.
- Large roasts and ground elk can also benefit the long cooking process.
- Ground elk meat makes for delicious stick to your ribs chilli and sloppy joes.
- Investing is a slow cooker is a great idea for all large game, from elk, to wild boar, to bison. It is of course a good way to cook beef too.
Tender cuts, especially for the filet mignon (tenderloin) are best cooked hot and fast. Elk has very little natural fat, because of this it can be tough if overcooked. It will toughen and get dry.
Rule of thumb for cooking steaks: Hot and Fast. Cook to a rare or medium rare. A steak will continue to cook a few minutes after being taken off the grill.
You might want to take a bite immediately from that awesome juicy steak you just took off the grill, but wait a few minutes. The juices will settle into the steak if you don’t cut into it right away.
Cooking an Elk Roast Without Using a Slow Cooker
Elk roasts and ground elk benefit from quick cooking too. You can cook a roast quickly in a hot oven to medium-rare or medium. Burgers from ground elk cook on the grill just like beef. So, if you like your elk burgers tender and juicy, cook them to medium or medium rare.
Below is a chart for cooking steaks on the grill or in the oven. This chart is for bison steaks but use it for elk cooking guidelines as well. Cooking elk and bison are very similar.
How to Defrost Elk Meat
When you purchase your elk meat from Sayersbrook, it will come frozen with dry ice. Stack it in your freezer until you are ready to cook it. When you are ready to defrost your elk meat, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator a day or two ahead of time. Put it on a plate to catch the drippings. It might take a full day or overnight to defrost a steak. Roasts will take longer.
Thawing your meat in cold water
If you can’t wait to defrost your meat in the refrigerator, put it in a pot of cold water while keeping the tap running low onto the roast or steak.
Thawing in the microwave
Avoid the microwave. It will thaw the meat unevenly and you will find that the outside edges might start to cook while leaving other areas still frozen. You don’t want to ruin your elk roast or steak so take the time to defrost your wild game meat properly.
Cooking Temperatures for Elk Meat
For Pot Roast
Slow cooker – cooking time is usually 7 – 8 hours.
Stove top -Preheat heavy pan for 10 minutes on medium. Cover and simmer for 7 -8 hours
Oven – Set oven temperature to 180°F and cook in a covered casserole for 8 hours