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
- 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.
- Layer meat in bottom of crockpt.
- Top with sliced onions/peppers and Rotel.
- Sprinkle seasonings on top.
- 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.
- Layer meat mixture into warm tortillas, top with cheese and your favorite toppings.
- The gamey elk meat is now not just edible, but pretty darn good!