Guest post by: Midge
Although my “year of the carnivore” series is officially over, I came across a situation I just could not pass up sharing with you!
This week a friend of ours came home from a big hunting trip out west and brought back a cooler full of elk meat to share with our family. Now, as you may know, I’ve been cooking deer meat in a special venison chili (and boy was it good!) but, elk meat, I have never attempted. In the spirit all things frugal, I certainly could not pass up the opportunity to learn. So, elk, it is.
In the process of finding out how to cook this new dish, I learned a few things. Did you know that elk meat has less fat than chicken, pork and beef? It’s true! I even read somewhere that it’s lower in fat than some seafood. It has less cholesterol than bison, venison, or turkey! Who knew?
As a matter of fact, in most cases, at least in the recipes I came across, it was recommended that some fat be added to the dish in order to add moisture. The elk can be substituted for any red meat. You can use it in stir fry, grilling, roasting in an oven or the crockpot. You can even fry it up in a pan!
Evidently, elk makes a great burger when wrapped in bacon and grilled. If you decide to cook a roast, it’s as simple as adding plenty of moisture, like water with a few spices and slow cooking for a couple of hours.
I used the same kinds of special spices I keep in the pantry all the time to add to my roasts. Personally, I choose a sprinkling of garlic, a little fresh ground pepper, and maybe a touch of salt. Simple is good, and elk is a flavorful meat that does not require much dressing at all.
If you are keeping tabs, so far, I haven’t spent any extra money on this meal. (Now aren’t you proud?)
We are big fans of country fried steak (in olive or coconut oil) and all that is required to make that happen with elk, is the elk. The recipe I found is just like the country fried steak I always make. Cut it into strips, rinse and pat dry, then lay out flat. I like to season my flour (about 1-2 cups) with a bit of salt and pepper and then dredge the meat, coating it on each side. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil on medium to high in a cast iron skillet or a heavy pan and sear them on both sides. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook through for a few more minutes on each side. Once all the country fried elk steak has been cooked (and placed on a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to soak up extra oil) you can use the skillet leftovers to make a delicious country gravy.
Being the busy mom that I am, during a busy week, like it is, I decided to go with an elk roast. I added an inch or 2 of water to the bottom of my roasting dish. I rinsed the meat and placed it in the pan and then added garlic powder, pepper, a pinch of salt and a just little bit of mixed dried Italian spices (just for fun) and covered it with foil. I placed it in the oven at 300 and roasted for an hour. I pulled it out and added carrots, onions, checked the water level and removed the foil to place it back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes to an hour. You can slow cook the meat for longer, just be careful that it does not dry out.
The elk meat is naturally tender and flavorful and it’s now a favorite addition to our frugal family meal planning! Fortunately, there was about 45 pounds of elk meat in that cooler, so I’ll be trying some of those other recipes for cooking elk very soon.
How about you? Have you ever prepared elk meat? I’d love to hear about your favorite frugal recipes!