All About Elk Meat
By Monica Stockbridge, Frontière Natural Meats.
Everything you need to know about cooking (and eating!) elk meat.
If you’re reading this blog, chances are good that you like to cook (and eat) meat. From burgers on the grill to slow-cooked roasts to perfectly seasoned steaks, incorporating different meats into your kitchen routine can be a great way to include nutritious and flavorful protein into your daily meals.
For many carnivores, there are a few items that make regular appearances on the weekday menus. Perhaps it’s ground beef for tacos, or pork sausage for pasta sauce, and the occasional bison burger or steak. These nutritious, great-tasting and high-quality meat products are likely more familiar. You may even be cooking them a few times a week. There are other meats that may be less familiar in your kitchen, such as premium, all-natural elk meat.
If you’re like many of our customers, elk may not be on your list of go-to meat products. At least, not yet. That’s because many of us haven’t been exposed to elk as a protein option the way we have to beef, pork or bison. People often mistake elk meat for venison (deer meat), grouping them into the same “game meat” category, and assume elk meat is too expensive, too exotic, or simply inaccessible.
What you may not know is that elk is an affordable, healthful option that can be easily incorporated into your dinnertime routine. After all, if you’ve cooked other meat, you can cook elk.
Let’s break down a few truths about elk meat, including how to cook with this savory, hearty and wholesome game meat.
While elk is considered a game meat, this doesn’t mean that it’s out of reach for the contemporary consumer. In fact, elk is usually comparable in price to bison, another lean game meat. Some people may hunt for their own elk and get it processed on their own, while others purchase it from a reputable source, such as a family owned and operated supplier like Frontière Natural Meats.
Elk meat is nutritious
Much like bison, elk is high in lean protein without being tough or gamy. According to the USDA, elk has only 7 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving. That’s comparable to bison, but higher in protein and lower in fat than most beef. Don’t get us wrong — we love our beef. Yet, when it comes to lean protein options, elk is a favorite choice. Studies show that elk is also high in iron and B vitamins.
Elk meat is easy to cook
Frontière Natural Meats sells ground elk meat by the pound, just like beef or bison, which gives it a familiar look and feel when it comes to shopping and cooking. Ground elk is especially simple to test when you’re first starting out. Simply cook it as you would ground beef, knowing that it won’t take as long and can remain a bit pink, if you like.
Elk meat is easier on the environment
Frontière sells elk that is humanely raised on open pastures where they can graze and enjoy vegetarian diets free from hormones or stimulants. Elk are grazers, like cattle, but also dig up grass and twigs to munch on in the fields rather than relying on corn or soy feed. Some sources suggest that elk meat is less taxing on the environment, since it typically comes from independent ranchers or hunters rather than big factory farms. Of course, we always suggest buying high-quality, responsibly raised meats whenever possible.
Elk meat is delicious
Contrary to some beliefs, elk is not gamey or tough. Rather, elk is mild, savory, and an ideal substitute in your favorite ground beef recipes. Consider ground elk as an option for chili, burgers, and slow cooker meals. Generally, the lower and slower you cook elk, the more tender and flavorful it becomes. For the best results, aim for an internal temperature of about 130 degrees, but don’t go over 140 degrees.
Cooking with elk can be as simple as bringing up your favorite ground beef or bison recipe and replacing the ground beef or bison with ground elk. The key is not to overcook it, as the low fat content will dry out more quickly than beef. A recipe with a bit of added moisture and fat will help balance the texture and bring out the elk’s flavor as well.
Ready to try cooking elk? Try our recipe for elk meat in a hearty, family-friendly shepherd’s pie to combine the bounty of garden and pasture that is infinitely customizable depending on taste and season.
About Frontière Natural Meats
Frontière Natural Meats is a family-operated business dedicated to an all-natural, hormone-free farming process. Our animals are free-range and raised under strict guidelines in accordance with USDA requirements. We hold our values to the same high standards you set for yourself when it comes to guaranteeing healthy, savory nutrition for your loved ones.
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