Ah, nothing quite prepares you for that first bite of juicy, medium-rare, fried-to-perfection elk tenderloin, until……. you sink your teeth into it and realize it is completely and totally inedible and tastes like you are eating raw elk! I found myself in this predicament three days ago while making elk steaks for dinner. While I hadn’t marinated the meat–mistake #1- I had liberally seasoned it with Steak Seasoning while cooking, and it smelled great. Ha. It was truly the worst tasting elk meat I have eaten. EVER. By this time I was hungry and frustrated, so I put the meat in a plastic container to think about my options, and proceeded to make a grilled cheese for dinner. Yes. And it was cheesy, edible goodness.

So, what do you do with gamey elk steak? Why, make Crockpot Elk Fajitas of course! I am not one to waste food, so I knew I had to think of something. As a last resort I would have given it to Jade, but I reallty didn’t want to feed my elk to the dog if I could help it. So I left the steaks in the fridge for two days with the seasoning I had put on them while cooking to let that really absorb into the meat. At least I hoped it was. Then I came across this recipe for crockpot steak fajitas and decided that it would be my steak salvation. I followed the recipe more or less, but cut back on the Rotel and omitted the bell pepper (Joe won’t eat ’em and they are ridiculously expensive at our local store). I sliced the elk meat, added in the onions, then the seasonings, and turned the crockpot on LOW for about 3.5 hours. Now, the meat was already cooked to rare, and I didn’t want to dry it out. But if using raw meat, you would definately need to increase the time to 6 hours or crank up the crockpot to HIGH for 4 hours.

So, did it work? I would say yes, for the most part, this recipe saved the most gamey elk I have ever tasted (MY elk from this year!). There is still a slight elky flavor, but overall the meat is good and makes a nice fajita. We have had other steaks from this elk which have been great, and the burger is fantastic. I am not sure why this cut was so gamey, but it reminded me to 1) When eating elk steak, always lightly marinade for 1-2 days prior to cooking and 2) If you end up with inedible steak, make these fajitas!

Crockpot “Gamey” Elk Fajitas

Serves 4

  • 3/4 lb elk tenderloin/steak, sliced (already seasoned with whatever you like)
  • 1/2 of yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 c. Mild Rotel tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin OR taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • Bell peppers (optional)
  • Medium Size Flour tortillas (I use Mission Carb Balance)
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • Toppings: lettuce, salsa, sour cream, green onion, etc.
  1. Layer meat in bottom of crockpt.
  2. Top with sliced onions/peppers and Rotel.
  3. Sprinkle seasonings on top.
  4. Cook on LOW for 3.5 hours if meat is pre-cooked to at least rare. If meat is raw, cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours, depending on your crockpot.
  5. Layer meat mixture into warm tortillas, top with cheese and your favorite toppings.
  6. The gamey elk meat is now not just edible, but pretty darn good!

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