The best things about RMEF work projects are the camaraderie, the work completed to improve elk country and—of course—the food that awaits you after a hard day’s work! As we head into spring and summer some of these projects will be coming up soon. Here are three simple recipes, submitted by Oregon volunteer Tom Baker, for mouth-watering elk dishes that will help you showcase your harvest. Perfect to bring to your next rendezvous work party or other hands-on project. You may even decide to take these tasty recipes all the way to elk camp.
If you process your own game and you don’t know what to do with the shanks, this is the perfect tasty solution. These cuts from the lower legs have so much connective tissue that they can stick in the grinder, plus those tendons aren’t super appetizing to begin with. This simple recipe makes removing tendons and utilizing these lesser cuts a breeze.
Elk shanks or any large pieces of round or sirloin.
Half a large onion, chopped.
2 Tablespoons minced garlic or chopped garlic cloves.
Beef broth (made with cubes, granules or “Better than Bullion” paste)
Place ingredients in a crock pot or Dutch oven. Cover the meat entirely with the broth. Cook on high for about 8 hours. Remove the meat from the tendons. The tendons should be jelly-like and easily parted. Freeze the meat in a large freezer bag. Out at your rendezvous, add a generous dollop of BBQ sauce and enjoy it on Hoagie rolls, or throw some taco seasoning on it and put it in tacos and burritos. Save the broth to be used in the elk Barley soup to follow.
ELK BARLEY SOUP
This hearty soup has become a Baker family favorite. It’s great to make on the weekend, so there are plenty of leftovers for weeknight dinners. If you take it to a work project though, don’t plan on having any leftovers.
1 ½ pounds elk round or sirloin.
½ of an onion chopped.
1 can cut green beans (cut into smaller pieces)
4 stalks of celery.
½ bag of pearl barley.
1 teaspoon Oregano (you can add more toward the end of cooking if needed)
6-8 cups of beef broth (use the leftover broth from the pulled elk and add to it)
Cut the elk into ½” cubes and brown. Add everything to a large pot and simmer until the barley is tender. You may have to add some bullion to add a little more flavor.
Here’s a chili that’s mild, but still bursting with flavor. For those who like it hot, you can always add your own spicy touch.
1 pound ground elk.
1 pound pork breakfast sausage (spicy if you like)
2 16oz. cans diced Italian styles tomatoes.
4 6oz. cans tomato sauce.
1 16oz can Kidney beans.
1 each red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
½ large onion, chopped.
2 Tablespoons chili powder.
Brown the meat in a large skillet. Add to the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Gradually add more chili powder if needed, until the desired taste is reached. If you like it hot, add anything that will boost it to your desired level.