Thursday, November 15, 2018

How to Cook Elk (and Other Game)

I got my first elk ever. 
Image result for elk
(This is just a Pinterest pix from our area.)
He was a spike so should be good eatin’.
Honestly, it was weird. 
I never like seeing a critter die. 
Something I just realized I do is apologize to the animal then
follow it with a prayer of thanks. 
This fella was about 3 miles (mostly vertical!) from the rig. 
It took us two days to pack out all the meat. 
We lucked out in that we made it back to the rig with the last load
just before the rain started. 
We were just below the snow line so it wasn’t one of those nice warm rains either. 
We were pretty sore by that third morning. 
We looked like acrobats just trying to get out of bed that morning. 
I told MrLB “I wonder if this is what it will be like when we’re 80.”
Since we boned it out on the mountain,
we didn’t get to wait for hang time in order to process it
so went straight to work at cleaning and cutting and wrapping. 
We got the bulk of it done in one day but did have a couple hours the following morning in order to finish up. 
We are keeping it in the refrigerator for a couple days to cure
before transferring it to the freezer. 
MrLB is picking up beef fat today so we can get the burger and sausage ground. 
We ended up with right about 200 lbs. of meat. 
I can’t tell you how many people have asked if I’m making jerky.  
To me, that’s like going out and spending $1000 on dress shoes to wear through the mud or making creme brûlée and feeding it to the hogs!
Then it dawned on me,
most people don’t know how to cook game. 
Me being the curious person I am have researched various tidbits 
about not just wild game, but grass fed livestock in general. 
There is a ton of scientific information behind it,
but I will paraphrase ~
Grain (plus mystery substance) fed animals grow abnormally fast. 
Yes abnormally- as in not natural. 
Of course that’s the whole reason they are fed what they are fed. 
Grass fed (or leaves and other wild vegetation) animals
grow at a natural rate which is much slower than industry acceptance. 
The tissues/fibers of a grain fed animal grow so rapidly that they aren’t very strong. 
Those that eat a natural diet grow strong healthy tissues and fibers. 
That grain fed tissue is so weak, it can be cooked up in no time. 
Throw those steaks on the barbie and you’re eating 15 minutes later. 
That’s not the case with game meat or meat from a naturally raised animal. 
These fibers take longer to break down so
if you try to cook it like store bought meat,
it will be tough and you’ll be disappointed. 
The other thing to be aware of is salting the meat. Game should be salted in the final stages of cooking rather than right when it’s subjected to heat. 
Go ahead and add any other herbs or spices at the beginning of cooking,
but save the salt until last.
If you do those two things, you should enjoy your seeing that game meat
on the table and not just in the snack bin as jerky.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Elk Season 2018

Yesterday was opening day.
Isn't it peculiar how we can be surrounded by people
and feel all alone?
Or be here and feel complete.

(No elk yet.)