Tough Elk

joesikora

Very Active Member
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Hey guys
My AZ elk I killed last September had to have some age to it, it is like chewing on a leather boot! I cut the steaks @ least 2” thick and I like mine on the rare side it’s still terrible. It’s not bad of course Trenton meats makes great brats along with slim jims and the regular things everyone else makes. I saved the meat that I grilled the other day in the ice box and went to tear a little piece off with my fingers I almost had to get a knife LOL! I haven’t tried the back straps or tenderloins I would think they should be great. I’ll let you know

Thanks Joe
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HiMtnHntr

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Age the steaks in the fridge for a few weeks. If you have a drawer in the fridge that doesn't get used much or, better yet, another fridgr that doesn't see much use, keep the temp between 34-38 deg or so and let it sit wrapped for a few week. Then, use you favorite marinade for 24 hours. Grill on high heat to 125 or so and dome and rest for 20 min. I put some smoke to an aged bull backstrap steak and reverse seared to the same temp. Good stuff.
 

tailchasers

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1/4 cup EVOO, 2 tbsp applecider vinegar, teaspoon of kosher salt. Put ingredients & meat in zip-lock bag, squeeze out air, and mix well. Mix every 30 minutes or so over a 1-2 hour period. It will mellow the meats toughness. Vary quantity of tenderizer based upon size of cut.
 

Trix4me

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Combine 1 can of coke. 1/2 tsp garlic pdr 1/2 tsp onion pdr. Marinate meat (in refrigerator) in covered bowl several hours or overnight. When ready to grill pat dry with paper towel and let meat come to room temperature, brush lightly with mixture of equal parts of EVOO and soy sauce. Sprinkle with black pepper and grill to med/rare.
 
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sagebrush

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Braise it. A simple recipe I use is onion and garlic in about an inch and a half of water. You can also add any of your favorite fresh aromatics like thyme or rosemary. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat to very low. Add your cut of meat and cover. Check the water level every 30 minutes to be sure it doesn't go dry. Turn the meat after 1 1/2 hours. Should be fork tender in 3 hours or less. The onions and garlic will completely break down by stirring with a fork. The pan juices make awesome gravy. Works well with large roasts as well as smaller cuts.
 

jester

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630
Age it..
Grind and trim..
S/B great.. was it a clean kill or you plug it full of holes?
Never had tough game..had a 10yrs cow...was perfect.
Bison was 8 and good!
Jester
 

joesikora

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Thanks guys for the great ideas can’t wait to try them.
Hi Jester, yes it was a clean kill 1st shot he hunched up and 2nd he dropped in his tracks never moved a step.

joe
 

Trix4me

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Give it a try and let us know
At a family reunion last week my 8 year old grandson announced that elk is now his favorite food. He ate 3 steaks
 

joesikora

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Curious if it was cut up while still in rigor ? That can really affect the tenderness. Let 'em relax a bit or age before processing.

Hi wytex, I kept it on fresh ice for several days before cutting it up.
I’ve never had any venison, deer or elk that was tough that’s why I thought maybe he was an older bull but from the posts above shouldn’t make a difference. I only thing different about this elk was he was in Hot Pursuit he had a Chubby and was following right behind a cow and 2 more in front of her. I really felt bad when I walked up to see that I stopped him short of his last encounter Sorry old friend!

Joe
 

joesikora

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Trix4me that just put the biggest smile on my face right there!

I like to share my harvest with family and friends especially elk because most would never get to try it, anyway, my high school teacher Mr Noeth called me to say thanks for the brats and slim Jim’s I dropped off for him and his family and he told me that Everett his 8 yo grandson said “Grandpa these are the best bratwurst I ever had in my whole life!” Now we all know that’s a good sign Thats a lot a living there boys! Lol! Anyway after laughing so hard I just about ran off the road I him “well I need to hook him up”. So I called Everett’s Dad and made arrangements to take care of his boy. It’s very cool I have a new best buddy Everett Noeth!
Everett told me when he gets his first deer he’ll give me some. It don’t get any better then that!

God Loves them kids!
Joe
 
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diablo

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A buddy of mine killed a cow elk years ago that was aged by a biologist at over 25. Pressure cooker was the only way he could eat it.
 

Servehim

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Combine 1 can of coke. 1/2 tsp garlic pdr 1/2 tsp onion pdr. Marinate meat (in refrigerator) in covered bowl several hours or overnight. When ready to grill pat dry with paper towel and let meat come to room temperature, brush lightly with mixture of equal parts of EVOO and soy sauce. Sprinkle with black pepper and grill to med/rare.
Sorry guys, trying to figure it out... what is EVOO ?
 

joesikora

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Well I tried 2.5 lbs back strap with olive, oil garlic, cracked pepper, rosemary wrapped in plastic placed in fridge for 5 days cut a piece 3” thick seared all sides finished in 500 degree oven to rare. The outside where it was cooked well done I couldn’t bite through it the only part was the rarest part. So long trying to render steaks all going to brats, summer sausage, slim jims! Thats not bad it’s just I like steak. I’m not a roast, fajita, hamburger guy.

The only think I can thing of which may have cause the elk meat to be so tough since age has been ruled out and that he hunched up with first shot and dropped in his tracks after second, is that he was in hot pursuit of a cow right in front of him and he was fully aroused when he was shot! Many raging testosterone levels? I don’t know but I’ve never had this problem ever!

Thanks Joe
 

junior

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1,263
An old butcher friend of the family used to help us kill beef and hogs. He was always particular about shooting the animal. His philosophy was you can shoot one to dead and you would have bloody meat, because the heart would stop before bleed out.
Not dead enough and adrenaline would kick in making it tougher. Shooting low or high on the brain was his tool. He used 22 mag on everything except bulls, he used 410.
Also he didn't like killing on a full moon as it took forever for something to die.
 

nontypical

Long Time Member
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3,328
Don't rule out age. I've had some fairly tough older bulls, but never a tough spike or cow( especially a yearling cow). The bull I'm eating on now was aged at 7&1/2. Backstraps are tender, but nothing else really is. I cook the rounds and chucks differently, but they are semi-tough on the grill after marinating in olive oil, soy sauce, and Montreal Steak seasoning. The straps are to die for!

Sometimes you just get a tough one.
 

junior

Very Active Member
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1,263
Ok..guys..maybe I'm the only one that remembered this bull was in Hot Pursuit and he had a Chubby upon Joe's bullet???
Think I'd be tough to🤣🤣🤣
 

Trix4me

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In 40+ years I’ve had one elk that I would consider bad. An old cow. This past year I butchered a 6x and a young cow. Both are excellent.
 

Buckjunkie

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275
I have never had a bad tasting elk, but I have had a few that were chewy. Chewy can be overcome by several methods. There is Jerky, Pepperoni, burger, and slow cooking. Recently I was told to buy a Cuber and it works also. You can feel how tough meat is when you are cutting it up. If it is tough, run it through the Cuber and problem solved.
 

HiMtnHntr

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2,007
Older bulls, especially if killed in the late season, are typically very tough. Lots of good tricks here to guide in preparing the meat, but they are not going to be like a younger bull or cow killed on the upswing as far as tenderness goes.
 

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