Elk steak is a very lean, low cholesterol meat, high in protein and the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. While appropriate for grilling, proper preparation and attention to timing is essential to enhance flavor and keep elk steak from becoming dry. For best results, the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association recommends first marinating elk steaks in an oil-based marinade and then grilling to no more than a medium well level of doneness.
Prepare and Marinate Steaks
Add marinade base to a small mixing bowl. Elk steak requires an oil base, both to enhance flavor and to help prevent the steak from drying out on the grill. Olive or sesame oil is a good choice as they are healthy cooking oils and provide a flavor of their own.
Mix in flavor enhancing seasonings such as soy sauce, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion slices and/or pepper, adjusting the combination to suit your personal taste.
Add tenderizing ingredients -- acidic liquids such as vinegar, lemon juice and garlic that function by breaking down the protein bonds that can make meat tough.
Set the elk steaks in a stainless steel, plastic or glass dish with an airtight cover or place them in a plastic food bag with zip closure.
Pour in the marinade and refrigerate the elk steaks for no more than 24 hours, turning the meat every four to five hours. Marinating the meat for a longer time can cause the acidic marinade ingredients to turn the meat mushy.
Grilling Elk Steak
Spray the grill grates with vegetable oil spray and prepare your grill for cooking with indirect heat. If you are using a gas grill, set the temperature on one side to high and the temperature on the other side to medium, close the cover and preheat for about 15 minutes. If you are using a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they turn to a gray ash color. Divide the coals so about three-fourths are on one side and about one-fourth of the coals are on the other. Set an aluminum foil drip pan in the middle.
Remove the elk steaks from the marinating dish or bag using tongs to prevent piercing the meat. Discard the used marinade.
Set the steaks on the hot side of your grill and cook for about one minute on each side, turning by using your tongs.
Move the steaks to the medium hot side of your grill, close the grill cover and cook an additional minute or two on each side for a medium rare doneness to an additional three to four minutes for a medium well done elk steak.
Remove the elk steaks from the grill to a serving platter with your tongs and allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat for about five minutes before serving.
- Minnesota Elk Breeders Association: Why Elk Meat?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agriculture Handbooks-Composition of Foods: Lamb, Veal and Game Products
- Minnesota Elk Breeders Association: Recipes
- The Meat Source: Marinade Recipes
- The Meat Source: Great Steak Marinade
- Eating Elk: Cooking Elk on the BBQ