Elk steak, the epitome of wild game meat, takes the spotlight in this exceptional recipe. As a family devoted to the richness of elk, we were fortunate enough to bring home two cow elk this year. To honor this revered meat properly, we’ve crafted a truly special recipe that is surprisingly simple to make. So, if you’re seeking fresh ideas to elevate your steak game, look no further!
- Elk Steaks
- Lard (or other cooking fat)
- Salted Butter (preferably Irish butter)
- Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Sage
- Parchment Paper
- Cast Iron Pan
- Digital Thermometer
How to Cook a Perfect Elk (or Venison) Steak:
Achieving a perfect elk steak requires just a few key elements: the steak itself, lard, salt, pepper, paper towels, a trusty cast iron pan, and a reliable digital thermometer. When it comes to cooking fats, lard proves to be the ideal choice for wild game, enhancing both the crust and flavor of the steak. Cast iron pans excel at retaining heat, crucial for developing that desired crust on your steak.
Seasoning your steak is a straightforward affair – simply salt and pepper the meat just before cooking. While this recipe adds additional flavors, the steak stands wonderfully on its own. A digital thermometer is a worthy investment, ensuring consistent and accurate temperature results. For a medium-rare to rare steak, an internal temperature of 120 degrees F is perfect.
Now, let’s get cooking! To achieve a perfect crust, pat the steaks dry with paper towels, ensuring minimal moisture for optimal caramelization. Season the meat right before cooking to preserve its delicious juices. Heat up your cast iron pan, adding a tablespoon of lard, before placing the steaks in the pan.
Cooking time depends on the shape, size, and thickness of your steak, so exercise patience and refrain from peeking for at least 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on the steak’s progress as the brown sear gradually climbs up its side. Flip the steak and test the temperature about a minute after cooking the other side. Once the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F, transfer the steaks to a plate or cutting board to rest for at least 10 minutes, preserving those succulent juices. If you choose to use compound butter, generously spread it on top of the steak immediately after removing it from the pan. Now, it’s time to slice and relish the flavors!
Drying steak on paper towels helps form a crust when cooking
Season just before cooking
Don’t flip too early!
After flipping, cook until 120 degrees F internal temperature
Rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing or serving
What Does Elk Steak Taste Like?
Elk meat, much like any other wild game, offers a wide range of flavors and textures influenced by various factors. In general, elk possesses a mild flavor and a very lean profile, making it one of the best wild game meats available. The taste of elk can be influenced by factors such as the animal’s age, sex, and meat care. Additionally, habitat and the time of year also play a role in shaping the nuances of its flavor. While cow elk typically yield milder flavors than bull elk, an older cow may exhibit a stronger taste and a firmer texture.
Proper meat care can mitigate any negatives associated with less-than-ideal meat quality. Adequate field dressing and aging greatly enhance the flavor and tenderness of wild game meat. However, if you find yourself with a tough cut of meat even after employing all the recommended techniques, consider infusing the meat with flavors and slow cooking it to break down the tough tissue. A braised shank recipe provides an excellent example of this technique.
What Goes Well with Elk Steak?
A perfectly cooked elk steak is a showstopper in its own right. However, for a truly mesmerizing culinary experience, pair it with simple sides that allow the steak to shine. Roasted or grilled vegetables alongside a straightforward starch like roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or homemade bread with butter make delightful accompaniments. And let’s not forget about the wine – a bold Cabernet Sauvignon pairs exceptionally well with the richness of elk steak.
How to Make Blue Cheese Compound Butter:
Compound butter, the magical finishing touch that elevates an amazing steak to a five-star restaurant masterpiece, requires minimal effort. Simply put, compound butter is a butter blended with herbs, spices, or other ingredients. Once blended, the butter is rolled into a log and sliced to adorn resting meat. As the meat rests, the butter melts, imbuing the meat with additional layers of flavor. This recipe calls for Irish butter, blue cheese crumbles, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh sage, salt, and pepper, resulting in a flavor bomb that perfectly complements your delightful wild game steak.
While compound butter may sound and look fancy, fear not, as it is surprisingly easy to prepare! Follow the instructions below, and you’ll be amazed at how effortless it truly is!
Place all ingredients in a bowl with butter on the bottom
Start folding the butter over the other ingredients
Keep folding it until all ingredients are evenly dispersed in the butter
Butter should be nice and smooth like this
Place butter on parchment paper
Spread butter into a rough rectangle
Fold the long end over the top of the butter so that the butter starts folding onto itself
Keep rolling butter until it forms a log
Squeeze tightly to compact butter
Twist ends tightly
Refrigerate until solid
Slice and enjoy on top of steak or refrigerate/freeze for later use
Freezing Compound Butter:
You might be wondering what to do with excess compound butter. Well, fear not, as it freezes beautifully! Freeze it in individual servings to enhance simple meals in the future. Follow the steps below to maintain the quality of your compound butter:
Freeze sliced compound butter on parchment paper-lined sheet pan until solid
Cut individual pieces of parchment paper to fit however many slices you need for a serving
Fold parchment paper over slices so all sides are covered
Place in vacuum seal bags and seal with a vacuum sealer
Place back in the freezer for lots of delicious meals in the future!
More Steak Recipes You’ll Love:
- Venison Steak Frites
- Backstrap with Red Wine Mushrooms
- Elk Steak with Chipotle Butter
- Elk Chicken Fried Steak
Putting It All Together:
Elk steak is undoubtedly a show-stopping dish on its own, but when crowned with blue cheese butter, it reaches new heights of culinary excellence. Don’t have any wild game steak lying around? No problem! This butter pairs beautifully with ribeye or beef tenderloin too. Whether you savor this recipe in solitude or use it as the centerpiece for a special gathering with loved ones, one thing is for certain – you’ll keep coming back to this masterpiece time and time again!