For this project, I chose to work with elk steaks. The reason for this was that I wanted a cut of meat that was healthy, and with 25g of protein, and only 110 calories per steak, elk fit the bill! I’ve also never had elk before, so I thought that it would be an interesting meat to experience.
The use of elk for their meat has a long history, as it was a key part of the diet of Aboriginal People and European Settlers (source). In fact, their co-existence with humans reaches back to the prehistoric era, as rock paintings of elks have been found at ancient sites (source). When cooking them, it is very important to not overcook, because as elks lack fat, it will become exceedingly dry and inedible. In fact, with steaks, one can brush the meat with butter, to help keep it from drying out. The steaks have a very fast cook time, around 5 minutes (source). There are 4 main cuts that are found: roasts, steaks, ground and stewing meat. Because of the lack of fat, cooking these cuts takes less time than with beef, and one can use both dry and wet cooking methods (source).
One of the main draws of elk is its similarity in taste with beef, without all the saturated fat (source). Elk is also a great choice for healthy eaters. With almost 9 grams of protein per ounce, this amount is higher than what is found in both chicken and beef (source)! It’s vitamin game is also strong. People who eat a 3.5 ounce serving of elk will be ingesting their full daily dose of Vitamin B12, 15% of their daily iron, a fifth of their daily phosphorus and thiamine, as well as many other nutrients (source). Finally, elk has zero carbohydrates, so while that means you won’t be getting any fiber from the meat, there also isn’t any sugar, as well, the sodium level of the meat is very low (source).
The cut I chose was steak, which comes from the rib area (source). This cut is one of the more tender ones, as the elk does not rely on its back muscles. As already mentioned, whe n cooking elk steaks, one must be very careful not to overcook, because as elk is lacking fat, it will be very dry and inedible if not cooked perfectly. When cooking them, the maximum inner temperature the steaks can reach is 160°F, because this signifies that they are well-done, however, they should be taken out at 155, because of carry over cooking (source). There are 3 main ways to cook steaks, all dry heat methods. These are frying, grilling and broiling, all of which are appropriate because they are fast cooking methods (source). Another plus is that no marinating is needed, just salt and pepper, as well as butter if one desires. All you need to do for a delicious elk steak is season it, pop it on the grill, and Bob’s your uncle, you have a great meal!
Elk steaks are a great alternative to beef or chicken, because they are a great source of protein and a ton of vitamins. While it is possible to render them inedible when cooking, with the proper care being taken (and perhaps a dab or two of butter!), you can enjoy a delicious and healthy meal.