My brother and husband have formed a bond over the years, especially because they are both avid hunters. Whenever they go for a hunting weekend, I’m left at home alone with the kids and then when they’re back my brother takes the kids and I get a day to relax or go to a spa. Another advantage of their hobby is that when they’re lucky enough to bring home an elk, I get enough meat to feed the family for months. Here’s what I do with all that elk meat.
A Deep Freezer Is Essential
There is absolutely no space in my regular freezer to keep all that meat. So I have a separate deep freezer in the garage to store everything for a longer time. I also have an app in my phone that is connected to a freezer alarm WiFi, so that I can be notified when the temperature drops below the minimum I’ve set. That way I can avoid spoiling food that should last me almost a year.
I make sure everything is portioned out ahead of time, and I vacuum seal it to avoid freezer burn as well. This way I can just take a couple of steaks out whenever I need them, ready to be cooked once they defrost. Running the steak under a trickle of water for 20 minutes usually does the trick.
Every Part Of The Animal Is Used
There is no point in wasting all that good meat and bones. I usually spend a weekend making soup, stock, and even demi-glace out of the bones and tough cuts. Again, everything gets portioned out and frozen. My cubes of frozen demi-glace add an extra layer of flavor to any gravy I’m making in an instant.
Even the guts are used to make elk sausage, and I make sure to change up the flavors and seasons to keep from getting bored. Everything gets labelled accordingly, with dates so I know what I’m getting before I defrost it.
Experimentation Prevents Boredom
One year, I decided I wanted to try to dry-age my steaks. That was an experience that added a lot of flavor to our meals, and it was a fun hobby for me too. I regularly research different recipes from all over the world and find ways to adapt the recipe for elk meat. One of the most surprising recipes I tried was one for Egyptian style basturma (similar to pastrami) – after curing the meat I added it to pizzas and even made soft scrambled eggs with it. In short, our family never complained that “we’re having elk again” because I changed up the flavors so much.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot of meat you get after a hunt, and I always make sure that I am not wasting anything. I even give away some of my creations – frozen, read to be cooked, and neighbours are grateful for the generosity. My creativity in the kitchen has certainly increased, and I have a lot more recipes now – so can you