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By Lee Harrison

As summer quickly carries on toward fall, many of us are looking forward to elk hunting season. The thrill of calling in big bulls builds every day. If you’re anything like us, these long summer days are fillled with thoughts of big antlers and full freezers.

However, some of you may still have a good amount of elk meat from the previous season in your chest freezer. By now, you may be tired of your standard elk recipes and all that backstrap is probably gone.

As you sift through those odds and ends in the freezer, we have a few recipes to elevate your elk meat. Not only will these add some new interest to your family dinners, it’ll help get you amped for another season of elk hunting. We are sure looking forward to getting after them here in New Mexico!

Next time you open up that freezer, try one of these elk recipies:

1. OSSO BUCCO

First up, Oso Bucco. Oso Bucco is not only fun to say but fun to serve as well. Your friends will think you are a world class chef when you set it in front of them. For this meal you will utilize the shank. Shank meat is notoriously tough and full of sinew and tendons. But in this recipe, we use all that connective tissue to our advantage.

You can cook this dish with the shank whole or cut it into medallions while frozen with a band saw. If you cook it whole you will want to give it a little more time and lower heat to ensure the inside is cooked and the outside is not rubbery. A whole shank will also require a bigger slow cooker so make sure it fits in what you have before you get too far down the road. Now, onto the ingredients and directions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shank, whole or medallions bone on
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (Can substitute avocado or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (add more or subtract to taste, if it was up to me I’d add 6 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions:

  1. Rub your shank with olive oil, or your substitute, coat in flour, salt and pepper it, then brown it in a pan with butter. If you are working with a whole shank it may be too big for a pan. Turn your grill on high and begin to brown it by flipping it and mopping on melted butter as you flip.
  2. Add your wine, broth, fixings, and the shank to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 6-7 for medallions, and 7-8 for whole. You know it’s done when the meat can be pulled from the bone using a fork and a medium amount of pressure.
  3. Once done transfer the juices to a large pan and begin to stir in the water and cornstarch until it becomes thick, cooking to a boil to reduce into a thick sauce.
  4. Serve shank over mashed potatoes with sauce drizzled on top.

You’ve just made osso bucco and are sure to be the talk of your next bbq. Enjoy!

2. RAMEN

Up next, ramen. Ramen? Yes, ramen. Personally I love japanese dishes and anytime I get to try something new with my game meat I’m all in. Homemade ramen, unlike it’s cheap store-bought counterpart, is an incredibly healthy meal and is a ton of fun to make. For this dish we will utilize rib meat, however, I know many hunters do not take the time to take rib meat from their harvest. 1. You should, 2. If you don’t have rib meat you can use just about any thinly sliced cuts of elk.

Let’s get cookin’. Here’s the ingredient list:

  • 2 lbs rib meat, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce, can make your own if you’d like but I have not done that yet
  • 4 cups beef broth, reduced sodium preferred but not necessary
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root grated
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice (or white) wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup morel (or any) mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper minced
  • 9 ounces ramen noodles about 3 packages
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste optional
  • 2 cups bok choy greens thinly sliced
  • 4 soft boiled eggs
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 small red pepper diced

Directions:

  1. Boil up 4 soft boiled eggs. Bring water to rolling boil, quickly reduce to simmer, add eggs, and let sit for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add beef stock, minced garlic, freshly grated ginger, soy sauce, rice or white wine vinegar, and miso to a pot and bring to a boil. Once rolling reduce to a simmer.
  3. Add mushrooms, bok choy, and red peppers into the broth. Simmer til the bok choy wilts.
  4. While your broth simmers take your sliced rib meat and toss in your teriyaki sauce. Throw on the grill or pan on high flame or heat. Because our meat is thinner we can cook fast and keep it tender. Keep it pink.
  5. Let meat sit while you toss in your ramen noodles. Should only take about 3 minutes to soften the noodles. Once soft toss in your meat and give it a good stir.
  6. Serve into bowls topping each serving with an egg, carrots, and green onions.

You’ve just served your kids a healthier alternative to the cup-o-ramen they are used to eating and made room in your freezer for another fulfilled elk tag.

3. ELK POT PIE

Last, but certainly not least, elk meat pie. Admittedly, this is my wife’s specialty, and I do not touch this dish until it hits the plate. However; she has agreed to share her pie crust recipe that she has developed over years of trial and error for the perfect crust, and her secret to the best damned homemade, feel-good pot pie on earth. The neck of the elk is on the menu for this dish.

This dish will take the longest to prepare out of all three, so don’t expect to whip it up right after work. However; the time spent is 100% worth it.

Pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening cubed or spooned in small balls
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar

Pie Crust Instructions:

  1. Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl
  2. Add cubed butter and lightly coat the butter in the flour with your hands
  3. Add the cubed or spooned vegetable shortening and cut the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks until pea sized
  4. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of cold water one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition of water
  5. Stop adding water once the dough begins to form large clumps (you may need a bit more water)
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. It should come together quickly and not be overly sticky
  7. Using floured hands fold the dough into itself until fats are moderately incorporated, some fat clumps are okay
  8. Divide the dough in two and tightly wrap in cling wrap
  9. For best results, place dough into the fridge for at least 2 hours
  10. When you’re ready to roll the dough again flour your surface, flour your rolling pin and be gentle while rolling your dough. Rolling aggressively will heat your fat and result in a dense crust
  11. Lightly roll your dough onto your rolling pin to transfer it to your pie tin

Filling:

  • 2 lbs elk neck, cubed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/5 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons beef paste mixed with one cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rub meat with spices and olive oil. Let sit till it’s no longer cool to the touch
  3. Toss meat in flour
  4. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat
  5. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Cook until soft
  6. Add meat, green onions and red wine
  7. Cook meat to medium rare and until wine is reduced
  8. Mixtures should be thick in consistency. If not thick enough add a bit more flour
  9. Place in pie crust and cover with the remaining pie dough
  10. Cute four 1 inch slits in the top crust
  11. Place pie tin on a baking sheet
  12. Put in oven 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden and juices are bubbling from the cuts
  13. Let cool for a few minutes before serving so it can set. Once set cut into it and dish it up.

If you’ve had a rough week at work this dish is sure to make your reminisce about momma’s cooking back home. It’s my favorite thing to eat with any game meat in my freezer.

Feel free to take any of these recipes and experiment with them. The best part about cooking is that you can break the rules.

As you enjoy these meals, we hope you’re looking forward to a great elk season in 2020. We are looking forward to seeing many of you here in New Mexico! If you have questions about our guided elk hunts, please take a moment to check out our elk hunting page. For specific availability or other details, don’t hesitate to send us a message or call Jerry directly at 315-374-8209.