YouTube: Mark Gassner

Elk Backstrap Recipe: Lightly Seasoned, Cooked in Cast Iron, and Finished in the Oven

Here's an elk backstrap recipe that will please the crowd every time.

Just marinate your elk backstrap, throw it on the grill, and serve, right? Well, not so fast.

Not every wild game recipe has to be at the height of gourmet cuisine to be good. But there are a few things you can do to ensure you end up with a great finished product.

You can smoke and sear it, grill it to perfection, or place it directly on the coals "caveman style." But to be honest, one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook your elk back loin is to get it into your favorite cast iron skillet and finish it off in the oven.

While we all like to cut the backstrap into medallions, that's best to do after it's been cooked. If you cook elk loin meat in a bigger chunk, it will take a bit more cooking, but the results will be worth the time since the piece will remain quite juicy and tender.

Start by cutting a sizable portion of the elk backstrap and placing it on a plate. Season it with salt and black pepper, then cover it in your favorite rub, whether it's your own or something you got from the outdoor shop. You don't have to marinade an elk steak, and in our opinion it's better to let the meat's flavor stand with dry seasoning instead. And besides butchering and trimming time, the overall prep time for these elk backstraps is super quick.

A healthy three to four inch slab needs to be started in a hot skillet with olive oil and medium-high heat to sear it closed. In this included version of this great recipe, you will see that the cook flips the back loin to let it begin to sear on the other side while placing several pats of butter on the top just before, you guessed it, placing it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to finish it off.

Anyone can easily do this right at home with a minimum of ingredients and a little effort in taking the time to watch over it. Searing your meat seals in the juices and allows them to stay inside of your meat. Medium heat to medium high is best for both the oven and the skillet.

This big chunk ultimately took about 10 minutes in the skillet and about 14 minutes in the oven, but cook times may vary. It all depends on how you like your meat cooked, but most wild game meat shouldn't be done past medium rare.

Nothing should be too good for your hard-earned elk meat!

Putting It All Together

One of the reasons that we love our wild game so much is the fact that is a hard-earned, long planned way to feed our family some nutritious and organic food that we chased down ourselves. I mean, what tastes better than something you made for yourself more than something that you had to defeat in its own environment?

These types of recipes are just fine for venison steaks, antelope, mule deer, or even moose. A couple of extra tips can go a long way, so remember these things.

Let your elk or other game meat come to room temperature before cooking. Also, make sure that the searing is done on all sides. And of course, let the meat rest for at least five minutes before serving.

Total time for cooking is a little less when using a preheated oven to finish. Ideally you've treated the meat well during the whole process, and it doesn't have the gamey taste that some folks complain about.

A beautiful elk steak or elk tenderloin with some fresh bread and mashed potatoes can truly be a thing of beauty, and one of the best wild game meals there is.

If you use this recipe, your filet will have a crispy doneness as good as anything you've ever tried, so leave out the Worcestershire sauce this time, but have a good glass of red wine close by to seal the deal.

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