Mongolian Elk Stir Fry & Long Creek Elk Hunt

If you are looking for a way to spice up your same old elk steak routine like I was, this recipe is certainly worth a try, it was delicious and made me feel like I was eating at a restaurant from my own home. I used this recipe from the Real Hunters Wives site as the basis for preparing the meat in my slow cooker, and served it atop a bed of rice pilaf and stir fried veggies for a nutritious, flavorful dish!

mongolian elk

Mongolian Elk Stir Fry

Servings: 3

  • 3/4 lb elk steak (round steak worked great)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen sugar stir fry vegetables
  • 1 box rice, prepared per package– I used Mushroom Rice Pilaf (Far East brand)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Slice venison into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Place cornstarch in Ziploc bag, then put meat chunks inside and shake until coated.
  3. Combine onion, soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in slow cooker.
  4. Place meat in slow cooker so it is covered by broth mixture.
  5. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  6. Prepare rice, and while rice is cooking, saute stir fry vegetables in 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve meat over a bed of rice and vegetables.

This elk steak was from my 2014 bull elk, for which I am both gracious and grateful…..

2014 Long Creek Elk Hunt

This fall Wyoming experienced a cold August and a warm September and October, marked with weeks of sunny, 60 degree weather. This impacted the typical elk migration timeline and allowed elk to remain in the high country. In mid-October Joe and I headed out on a Sunday afternoon with Yolanda and Slim to scout an area for elk that Joe had in mind, given the unusual weather.

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We rode for a little over an hour through an old cut block and old burn area until we reached an open pocket meadow on the East Fork of Long Creek. After tying up the horses, we sat and glassed, and decided we would stay until the sun dropped below the tree line to the west and then ride back. After a little while, we spotted some elk far across the valley, six or seven, that were on private land. We also spotted two buck antelope munching away several hundred yards away. It was a wild and beautiful spot and I was already pretty happy just to have been able to ride to this spot.

As the sun began to lower in the sky, I looked back across the meadow and saw that two cows and a calf had suddenly appeared out of the timber and were grazing away. Ironically Joe had stepped away to find a tree just ten seconds before, so when he returned back a few moments later, I was resting my Kimber 25-06 on a head-high tree limb and was sighted in on the cows, in case a bull stepped out. Joe ranged the elk and they were a good 500 yards away. We watched them a few more minutes as more cows and calves stepped out, eight or nine total now, and were thinking; are they really alone, no bull?! Then, all of the sudden Joe caught just a glimpse of a bull as he headed back into the trees; he had come out of the timber already in front of the cows closer to us, but due to the gently rolling terrain we had been unable to see him from where we were. So now we were on the move to get closer; all but one cow were headed back into the timber and she busted us, but we had no choice but to move. So we “squat-ran” a ways and then got down and crawled up to a stump within 350 yards. And then the last cow headed up into the trees and they disappeared. Disappointed yet excited at having come so close, we sat there and waited about five minutes to see if they would come back out, but were doubtful, since we knew that one cow had seen us. This is usually how our elk hunting has been the past five years; close, but the elk usually win!

As we stood up to walk back to the horses, Joe glanced to the north and much to our surprise, the bull and just one other cow had stepped back out from the timber and were standing along the treeline eating. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This NEVER happens! Now, we “squat-ran” again to the right, trying to close the distance as much as possible without giving ourselves away, but we now had a bit more advantage due to the lay of the land and fact there was virtually no wind. We crawled the last little bit over to a rock at the top of a small rise and I laid down flat and rested my rifle on the rock. I do best when I have a few seconds to get real comfy and solid, and thankfully I had that time. Just that morning I had printed off the ballistics chart for my new Huskemaw scope and taped it to the stock; Joe had tested the loads he built for my gun at the Range and we were able to enter the data and know exactly how many clicks to make to adjust for distance. At 370 yards, I was able to find the bull immediately in my scope. I zeroed in with laser-like focus as the bull stood broadside, and my shot rang out into the calm evening air. I was confident I hit him, as was Joe, but knowing how tough elk are, I chambered another round and shot again, as he was now standing facing the other direction. I shot a third time. Then I was out of bullets; the rest were in my saddle bags. The elk had gone into the timber now, and in the back of both our minds was the thought we might have to track this animal through dark timber at dusk in some of the most dense bear country; where bears are known to run toward gun fire and a (totally unarmed) man was killed and eaten by a grizzly not ten miles away this summer.

Joe headed back to get the horses and bring them over, and I waited and watched the spot where I last saw the bull, by a six-foot tall dead tree stump. Joe was back in a few moments, so I re-loaded my gun and walked out ahead as he followed with the ponies. I got over to the stump while Joe tied up and looked down for blood, and much to my horror, saw none. I then glanced over into the timber toward the direction the bull had gone, and out out of the pine trees saw two elk horns sticking up; he was only about 20 yards away laying down in the trees. I turned my scope way down and held my rifle up to my shoulder and shot him in the nose-area just below the eyes. Still alive. Joe now came up behind me and had me aim at a tiny patch of neck visible through the branches, so I shot him there as well. He now rolled onto his side, and as we approached, realized he was still indeed alive, head rolling up and down. A quick final shot with the .41 to the back of the head ended the suffering. They are tough.

I was instantly overcome with excitement and gratitude at having harvested the bull in such unsuspecting circumstances in such a wild and perfect spot, and grateful we would not be put in the situation of having to search the woods for the bull in the dark, or worse, not find him.

mo elk 2014

The next step was to quickly field dress him; Joe grabbed his knives off Slim, we had our rifles within arms reach, and we moved the horses as close as we could to have extra eyes keeping watch while I held legs up and open while sitting on the chest cavity and Joe gutted the elk. We discovered two of my first three shots hit the mark; the first shot was through the lungs, the second missed, and the third hit low, in the guts. By now it was dark, so donning our headlights, we worked up a good sweat as we drug the head and each half of the elk through the woods to the treeline using lead lines. Slim saved us a lot of work, as once the elk was at the edge of the treeline, Joe got on him and Slim dragged the elk halves several more yards out into the open so that when we returned the next day with pack horses they would be visible, should any bears be on them. Having done what we could for the night, Slim and Yolanda took us back out in the dark under the stars with a light snow falling. We got back to the trailer right before 9 pm, and in six hours, our “scouting trip” had turned into a successful and very memorable elk hunt.

Copy of Taz with 2014 bull

The following day, I had to work, so Joe and a friend rode back in with all four of our horses and retrieved the elk. No bears had visited during the night, and the ponies packed out the quarters for us. Taz, 30 years old, packed out the front quarters and head, the tough old bird. We do not use him very much anymore, and I was thrilled he did okay on this trip. Joe went on to harvest a calf on his cow/calf tag in December, and I have already told him that next year it is his turn to go after the bull!

Orange Elk Rice & Veggie Bowl

In an attempt to use up a small piece of leftover elk steak and a small piece of leftover prime rib from my birthday dinner last week, I came up with this stir-fry rice bowl recipe and was pleased with the results! The orange sauce recipe is something I made up after looking at a bunch of stir fry recipes online. I had a fabulous veggie and rice bowl at Lotus Cafe in Jackson two weeks ago when I was in town having lunch with a friend after an appointment, and have been making my own varieties of it ever since. Hope you enjoy it.

Orange Elk Rice & Veggie Bowl

Serves 2

  • 6 oz. Cooked elk or venison steaks, cut into thin strips
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 2 cups Brown Rice, cooked- (I use Uncle Ben’s instant bags)

Orange Sauce:

  • 3 T. Orange Juice
  • 3 T. water
  • 1/2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp.
  • garlic salt

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Method:

  1. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Chop vegetables and begin to cook, starting with the broccoli first, then onion, then squash and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.???????????????????????????????
  2. Meanwhile slice meat into thin strips and set aside. Stir vegetables periodically over the next 7-10 minutes until cooked. ???????????????????????????????
  3. While you are waiting on the veggies, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl using a fork or whisk, and then divide the sauce in two. You will use one now for the meat, and one later for the rice. ???????????????????????????????psst…Don’t forget the brown sugar, which is not pictured here!
  4. Scoop meat strips into sauce and dump mixture into veggies. Cook another 2 minutes on medium-low heat. DSC01656
  5. During that time, pop the rice bag in the microwave for 90 seconds and cook. DSC01653
  6. Heat the remaining sauce in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up before pouring it over the rice.
  7. Place 1/3 cup rice in a bowl and top with meat and veggie stir-fry, and then spoon remaining sauce over top to taste.

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Ginger Infused Bacon Wrapped Elk Backstrap

Ginger Infused Bacon Wrapped Elk Backstrap

3/4 lb elk backstrap, cut into 4 steaks

4 slices bacon

Dash Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning (optional)

Marinade:

1/3 c. beef broth

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. Worcestshire

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

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This recipe was created based off of a ribeye marinade I used to make when I was cooking for summer packtrips. The marinade of beef broth, worcestshire, brown sugar, ground ginger, and garlic salt give the meat a distinct tangy flavor, and then adding in the bacon wrap makes it juicy and tender.

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Combine marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and add in elk steak to coat completely. Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to two days.

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1. First, cook bacon on a grill or griddle until it is half-way cooked. You want it to remain flexible enough to wrap around the steak, but cooked enough so that the bacon will be done when the steaks are.

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2. Then remove bacon from griddle and immediately wrap one slice of bacon around one elk steak. If your bacon is on the shorter side like mine, make a cut up the center of the bacon to create a wishbone shape.

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Then proceed to wrap totally around the steak. (If I was using the outdoor grill I would probably have secured the bacon with toothpicks, but since I was using the griddle on the stove I could watch the bacon and easily re-arrange it when necessary.)

3. Put bacon-wrapped steak back onto the griddle and cook over medium heat in the bacon grease. Flip occassionally to make sure the bacon does not burn on one side or the other. I sprinkled some Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning on my steaks at this point for a little extra flavor. While working at our old jobs, Joe received a large sampler bag of their seasoning products after a guide job at the lodge. We are still happily using them up!

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My steaks took about 10 minutes to cook through to what I would call medium to medium rare (still pretty pink inside).

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I served these steaks with green bean casserole on a snowy Wyoming evening. I had worked up more of an appetite than I thought after a 5 mile afternoon ski in 14 degree weather. It was nice to have some fresh snow to ski in again, and I hope to get in at least one or two more trips this spring.

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“Shake & Bake” Fried Elk Steak

Get ready, cuz we’re busting out the Fry Daddy for this one! I got home just at dark from a fun 5-mile ski on the National Forest yesterday afternoon and was ready for dinner. I am pleased to say that it is not totally dark now until 6 pm– so exciting! It’s nice to know there is a little daylight left on days I work until 5:30. Jade “helped” me cook dinner from her perch on the yoga mat. She loves laying on it!

???????????????????????????????See the little blue ball? It does not belong to Jade. Even as a puppy she was too “mature” to play with toys or fetch. I roll around on that ball and use it as a foam roller of sorts to work out the soreness in my hips and IT band after running or skiing (problems I never had until I herniated a disc in my back in 2010). Please let me know if you have a good recommendation for a foam roller. I am thinking about getting one, but am afraid it will have to be very firm, like the ball, to acutally do anything for me!

 

Shake and Bake Fried Elk Steak

Serves 3

In order to ensure even cooking in the fryer, you will need to use butterflied steaks for this recipe. If your steaks have not been butterflied while processing the meat, you can do it now. To butterfly, make a cut in the center of the steak that splits the steak into two halves so that it looks like a butterfly with open wings, WITHOUT cutting all the way through the steak.

Once your steaks are butterflied, the marinade is next. Marinade steaks in the following dry rub in a ziplock bag for 3-5 days:

Combine a big shake of the following in a small bowl and pour onto steaks.

  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • season salt
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper
  • cajun seasoning
  • Mrs Dash
  • Worcestshire

You will also need:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups AP Flour
  • 1 tsp Season salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

I marinaded these steaks for 5 days. It may seem like a long time, but after my last experience a month ago cooking elk steak that was literally inedible due to the gamey taste that resulted from not marinading it before hand, I was taking no chances this time around. It has taken this long just to get that taste out of my mouth and to want to eat elk steak again!

So, when you are ready to eat, if you own a deep fryer get it revved up and sizzling. Most deep fryers have a line inside showing the minimum level that the oil must reach. If you don’t have a deep fryer, it’s perfectly fine, just pour vegetable oil in a medium frying pan about 3/4-inch deep. Begin to heat oil by either turning on the fryer or stovetop.  Once oil is bubbling, you can drop in the steaks carefully to avoid splatter. This “Fry Daddy” is known to take an eye out with hot oil if not careful! One advantage of it though is that while cooking, all of the oil splatter is contained inside the fryer.

But first, using the same ziplock bag your marinaded the steaks in, drain out excess blood and pour in about 1.5 cups AP flour along with 1 tsp. of season salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Now shake until meat is coated completely. And Fry!

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Fry steaks for about 2 minutes and flip. Fry for another 3 minutes and check. I usually pull out one steak onto a bowl with a paper towel in it and make a cut into the center to see if there is still raw meat. At this point I had to deepen the butterfly cut in two of my steaks so that they could open up more and cook.

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If your steaks need more time, check every two minutes until they are golden brown and not spongy when when push on the center of the steak with tongs or a knife.

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Allow steaks to drain some grease on a paper towel laid on a plate for a minute or two and enjoy.

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On a side note, how often does eating game or produce you or a family member has harvested or grown take you back to the hunt and the experiences that went with getting the meat or vegetables from the mountain to your plate? I am curious…sometimes I think about it in detail about the origin of the meat I am eating and sometimes I can’t remember with certainty the species of the ground meat on my plate {  Label those bags! ; )  }.

What to Do with Gamey Elk

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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!

Open-Face Elk Tenderloin with Gravy and Onions

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Marinade

  • 1 T. Worcestshire
  • 1 tsp Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning

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  • 3/4 lb elk tenderloin
  • 1 egg
  •  1 c flour + another 3 T flour, divided
  • ~1/2 c milk/ half and half
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced onions
  1. Marinade steaks for two days with worcestshire, Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning, and Hi Mountain Cajun Campfire seasoning.
  2. Beat an egg in a shallow container and dip steak in egg, bread in flour on a paper plate, repeat once to completely coat meat.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in frying pan and fry, flipping twice, until centers are no longer raw.
  4. Pour about 2 T of oil/meat drippings into a separate small saucepan (you can use the same pan if the bottom isn’t burnt, but I was low on oil and my pan/drippings had a burnt taste, I needed to use a fresh pan).
  5. Add in some flour (about 3 T. or so) and pour in milk (I used fat free half and half, no milk in the house tonight!). Stir with a fork until smooth on low heat.
  6. Toast slice of bread and sautee sliced onions until tender.
  7. Layer steak on toast and top with gravy and onions.

In the spirit of elk, check out this photo from Wyoming’s Wind River Country of Lander, Wyoming in the early 1900’s. Made me smile. And also laugh–one commenter had wrote “it’s all fun and games until you get an eye poked out!” Happy Holidays!

Grilled Elk Steak w/ Bacon Wrap

These steaks came out extremely tender with great flavor, and a little kick.

You will need:

  • 1 lb elk steak, butterflied (this was backstrap)
  • 1 slice bacon per steak
  • toothpicks
  • Dry Rub= A Shake of the following: cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt, Mrs Dash lemon pepper, Hi Mountain Seasoning Elk Seasoning, garlic pepper, cayenne pepper, and worcestshire (not pictured)

1. Marinade meat in refrigerator with the dry rub for desired length of time (we did 2 days).

2. Preheat grill. Wrap each butterflied steak with a slice of raw bacon and secure with toothpicks.

3. Grill steaks 15-17 minutes to medium-rare. Mine were pretty thick, so adjust time accordinly if your steaks are on the thin side. I flipped each steak twice.