Pan-Seared Elk Steak


The marinade for this pan-seared elk steak recipe has just the right combination of ingredients. They help to tenderize the steak and give it a bold and delicious flavor! Serve with pear arugula & goat cheese salad or parmesan roasted rainbow carrots.

elk steak and salad 3 Pan-Seared Elk Steak

If you have a freezer full of elk meat and you’re trying to find a few new recipes to try, you’ll have to give this elk steak recipe a try!

The marinade is similar to my carne asada recipe marinade with a wonderful array of ingredients that do a great job of tenderizing the steak. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

If you’re looking for a simpler marinade, give my elk backstrap recipe a shot!

Jump to:

  • 🧐 Why This Recipe Works
  • 🛒 What Goes Into This Recipe
  • 🔖 Recipe Ingredient & Substitutions
  • 🥩 How to Make This Recipe
  • 🍽 Serving Suggestions
  • 🤷🏻‍♀️ Recipe FAQs
  • 👩🏼‍🍳 Pro Tips
  • 🍗 Related Recipes
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

🧐 Why This Recipe Works

If you don’t have elk meat, don’t stop reading! This elk steak marinade can be used on other wild game or beef.

Elk and most game meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef. However, being lower in fat means it’s a lean meat that you have to learn how to prepare correctly. The last thing you want is a tough, hard-to-chew steak, am I right?

Unlike ground elk, which is usually mixed with suet to make elk burgers and meatloaf, elk steaks need another way to tenderize.

The combination of lime juice, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, and oil in the marinade helps to tenderize the elk steaks, while the other ingredients, really enhance the flavor.

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Sometimes elk steak is prepared in the oven or on the grill. I prefer to prepare elk steaks in a hot skillet to sear them. Cooking them quickly really locks in the juices and results in flavorful and tender elk steaks, in around 4 to 6 minutes depending on desired doneness.

🛒 What Goes Into This Recipe

🔖 Recipe Ingredient & Substitutions

  • Elk Steak — When a butcher processes an elk, they will label the various parts of the animal. This includes roast, tri-tip, loin, backstrap, and regular steaks. The backstrap is the length of meat that runs along the spine of an elk, deer, or other game. Because it’s in an area that’s not weight-bearing, it’s an extra tender cut and absolutely delicious. So if you have a backstrap, be sure to use it in this recipe. The cooking times listed are for ¾” thick steaks. If your elk steaks are thicker or thinner adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Elk Marinade — The marinade is made with a delicious combination of flavors including orange juice, lime juice (or lemon juice), olive oil, soy sauce, and liquid smoke.
  • Seasoning — You’ll need the following seasoning for this recipe: Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle pepper, and fresh or dried or fresh rosemary. If you don’t have chipotle pepper, red pepper flakes can be used.

🥩 How to Make This Recipe

Step 1 | Prepare Elk Marinade

Whisk all the wet marinade ingredients into a bowl, then add the spices and whisk to combine.

oil and vinegar in a bowl with a small whisk
adding spices to marinade

Step 2 | Marinate the Steaks

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Add the steaks and the marinade to a large Ziploc bag and seal. Massage the marinade into the steaks and marinate for 4+ hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

steak in a ziplock bag with a bowl of marinade on the side
marinated steak in a ziplock bag

Step 3 | Cook Steaks

Heat a cast-iron skillet and make sure it’s nice and oiled (or add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tallow). Cook steak over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature taken with a meat thermometer reads 125-130 degrees for medium-rare.

steak in a pan
grilled steak in a cast iron pan

Pro Tip: Don’t overcook elk steaks, otherwise they will dry out!

Allow the steaks to rest, covered, for five minutes or so before slicing into medallions.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

You can serve elk steaks with some zesty quinoa salad, air fried potato wedges, or a side of edamame dill rice. You can also add a dollop of black garlic butter onto the hot steaks right before serving them, yum!

🤷🏻‍♀️ Recipe FAQs

👩🏼‍🍳 Pro Tips

  • When flipping the steak, use tongs to avoid pricking the steak and letting the juices escape, which will dry out the elk steak.
  • Slice the steak against the grain and serve over a bed of rice or with a healthy broccoli salad. Another option is to serve the steaks with scalloped potatoes.
  • Don’t skip resting the steaks. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, resulting in a more tender steak.
  • Store leftover steak in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
3 venison steaks cooking in a pan

🍗 Related Recipes

If you like this elk steak recipe, be sure to check out these other game recipes.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page. Stay in touch with me through social media @ Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes!

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📖 Recipe

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>