Food Recipes

How to Grill Elk Steak: A Delicious and Lean Meat Option

Are you looking to try something new and exciting on the grill? Look no further than elk steak! Elk steak is not only a flavorful and lean meat option but also packed with essential nutrients like protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Grilling elk steak can be a fantastic way to enhance its natural flavors while keeping it tender and juicy. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to grill elk steak to perfection. So, let’s fire up the grill and get cooking!

Benefits of Grilling Elk Steak

Elk steak is not only a delicious choice but also a healthy one. Compared to other meats, elk steak is exceptionally lean and low in fat. This makes it an excellent option for those looking to watch their calorie intake or maintain a healthy diet. Additionally, elk steak is a great source of protein and is rich in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Grilling elk steak can enhance its natural flavors while keeping it tender and juicy. The smoky char from the grill adds a delicious depth of flavor to the meat, making it a favorite among meat enthusiasts. So, if you’re looking for a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional beef steak, grilling elk steak is definitely worth a try!

Preparing and Marinating Steaks

To ensure the best possible flavor and tenderness, it’s important to properly prepare and marinate your elk steaks before grilling. Follow these steps to create a delicious marinade that will enhance the natural flavors of the meat:

Step 1: Choose Your Base

Start by selecting an oil-based marinade to enhance the flavor and prevent the elk steak from drying out on the grill. Olive oil or sesame oil are excellent choices as they are healthy cooking oils and provide a unique flavor of their own.

Step 2: Mix Your Seasoning

Next, mix in flavor-enhancing seasonings to customize the taste of your elk steak. Consider adding soy sauce, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion slices, and pepper. Adjust the combination to suit your personal taste preferences.

Step 3: Add the Tenderizer

For optimal tenderness, add acidic liquids like vinegar, lemon juice, and minced garlic to the marinade. These ingredients help break down the protein bonds in the meat, resulting in a more tender final product.

Step 4: Store Meat Safely

Place the elk steaks in a stainless steel, plastic, or glass dish with an airtight cover or place them in a plastic food bag with a zip closure. This will ensure that the marinade evenly coats the meat and prevents any cross-contamination.

Step 5: Marinate the Meat

Pour the prepared marinade over the elk steaks, ensuring that each steak is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate the elk steaks for no more than 24 hours, turning the meat every four to five hours. Marinating the meat for a longer period can cause the acidic marinade ingredients to break down the meat, resulting in a mushy texture.

Grilling Elk Steak

Now that your elk steaks are marinated and ready to go, it’s time to fire up the grill and get cooking! Follow these steps to grill your elk steak to perfection:

Step 1: Prep the Grill

Before grilling, spray the grill grates with vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking. Prepare your grill for cooking with indirect heat. If you’re using a gas grill, set one side to high heat and the other side to medium heat. If you have a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they turn to a gray ash color. Divide the coals, placing about three-fourths on one side and one-fourth on the other. Set an aluminum foil drip pan in the middle.

Step 2: Remove from Marinade

Using tongs, remove the elk steaks from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Discard the used marinade.

Step 3: Heat on Hot

Place the elk steaks on the hot side of the grill and cook for about one minute on each side, turning with your tongs. This initial high-heat sear will help lock in the flavors and create a beautiful crust on the outside of the steak.

Step 4: Move to Medium

Move the elk steaks to the medium heat side of the grill, close the grill cover, and continue cooking. Cook the steaks for an additional one to two minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness or three to four minutes for a medium-well elk steak. Adjust the cooking time based on your desired level of doneness, keeping in mind that elk meat cooks quickly and can become dry if overcooked.

Step 5: Rest and Serve

Once cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove the elk steaks from the grill using tongs and transfer them to a serving platter. Allow the steaks to rest for about five minutes before serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Cooking Times for Elk Steak

When grilling elk steak, it’s essential to keep an eye on the cooking time to avoid overcooking. Elk meat is lean and cooks faster than beef, so it’s important to monitor the steak closely. Here are some general guidelines for cooking elk steak on the grill:

  • For a medium-rare elk steak, grill for about one to two minutes per side on medium heat.
  • For a medium elk steak, grill for three to four minutes per side on medium heat.
  • Remember to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the steaks and your desired level of doneness.

Safety Tips for Grilling Elk Steak

While grilling elk steak can be an enjoyable experience, it’s important to prioritize safety to avoid any foodborne illnesses. Follow these safety tips when grilling elk steak:

  1. Always use clean utensils and surfaces to prevent cross-contamination between the raw elk meat and other foods.
  2. Ensure that the elk steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any potential harmful bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to accurately measure the temperature.
  3. Avoid placing cooked elk steaks back on the same plate that held the raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
  4. Store any leftover elk steak in the refrigerator promptly to prevent spoilage.

By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy a delicious and safe grilled elk steak.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Now that your perfectly grilled elk steaks are ready, it’s time to think about how to serve and enjoy them. Here are some serving suggestions and pairings to complement the flavors of your elk steak:

  • Serve grilled elk steak with a side of roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers, for a healthy and colorful meal.
  • Pair elk steak with a flavorful sauce or marinade, such as a red wine reduction, mushroom sauce, or chimichurri sauce, to enhance the taste.
  • Consider serving elk steak with a hearty grain, like quinoa or wild rice, for added texture and nutrition.
  • For a complete meal, add a fresh salad or a creamy mashed potato side dish to balance the flavors.

Get creative with your serving options and experiment with different flavors to find your favorite combination with grilled elk steak.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long should I marinate elk steak before grilling?

Marinating elk steak for about 24 hours is sufficient to infuse it with flavor and tenderize the meat. Avoid marinating the steak for longer periods, as the acidic marinade ingredients can break down the meat, resulting in a mushy texture.

2. Can I grill frozen elk steak?

It’s best to thaw elk steaks before grilling to ensure even cooking. Thaw the steaks in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function of your microwave. Once the steaks are fully thawed, you can follow the grilling instructions mentioned earlier.

3. How do I know when elk steak is cooked to perfection?

The best way to determine the doneness of elk steak is by using a meat thermometer. For a medium-rare elk steak, the internal temperature should be around 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For a medium steak, aim for an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to let the steak rest for a few minutes before measuring its internal temperature.

4. Can I grill elk steak on a gas or charcoal grill?

You can grill elk steak on both gas and charcoal grills. Gas grills offer precise temperature control, while charcoal grills provide a smoky flavor. Follow the grilling instructions mentioned earlier, making adjustments based on your specific grill type.


Grilling elk steak can be a delightful and flavorful experience. By properly marinating the meat and following the grilling instructions, you can achieve a delicious and tender elk steak that will impress your family and friends. Remember to prioritize safety by following hygiene practices and ensuring the elk steaks reach the appropriate internal temperature. So, fire up the grill, grab your tongs, and let the grilling adventure begin! Enjoy your perfectly cooked elk steak and savor the unique flavors of this lean and nutritious meat. Happy grilling!

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