I've spent the last two days elbow-deep in elk meat from the cow I shot (pictured above). I shot it a week ago and have been letting the quarters age in my garage. Elk and venison meat are much more tender if you can let the animal age for 7-10 days after the kill, but this can only be done if the meat can always remain around 45 degrees or lower, or you risk spoilage.
The first dish I prepared from this elk was cooking up its tenderloins the next day in a little salt and butter. Truly delicious!
Cow elk average a live weight of around 500 pounds, and dressing an animal usually yields around 50-60 percent of its live weight. On my cow, I've probably got at least 200 pounds of meat to process. Tomorrow I'll dive into the hind quarters, which are teeming with prime cuts. I've already marinated and froze steaks from the two backstraps (using my trusty FoodSaver).
My process for dressing deer and elk is simple: eat the tenderloins within 48 hours, steak out as much as you possibly can, keep both rump roasts in tact, cube and can what you can't steak, and grind what you can't can. With the ground meats I make summer and breakfast sausages, beef jerky and hamburgers. I use canned meat for chili and Sloppy Doe's.
If I don't get a duck or goose before Thanksgiving, I'll be preparing an elk rump roast. I just discovered a new meat rub blend, which I'll try before I share, but for Turkey Day, I'm going with this recipe.
Apple Cider Roast
8 lbs. boneless elk roast
4 Tbls. butter, softened
2 Tbls. Dijon mustard
4 Tbls. packed brown sugar
2 Tbls. cracked black pepper
2 tps. dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
2 tps. kosher salt
2 large onions, sliced
1 1/2 c. apple cider (or juice)
2 Tbls. pickle juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. While oven is preheating, rinse roast and pat dry. In a bowl, blend together butter and Dijon mustard and spread on all sides of the roast. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, pepper, rosemary and salt; sprinkle mixture evenly over roast, patting into butter.
Place roast on rack in a roasting pan. Scatter onion slices over roast. Pour apple cider and pickle juice into bottom of roasting pan. Cover with foil and cook until roast is done to your preference (see chart below). Let roast stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Doneness Chart (internal temperature)
Rare 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit
Medium-rare 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit
Medium 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit
Medium-well 150-155 degrees Fahrenheit
Well-done 155-160 degrees Fahrenheit