North Dakota Elk Growers
American Elk Product Foundation

Elk — A Banquet for Kings

Kings kept red deer stags, ancestors of our elk or wapiti, on their game preserves as a private source of gourmet venison. The meat from farm-raised elk, the premier venison, is very mild flavored and low in fat and cholesterol. Compared to other meats, you get more protein and nutrients while getting fewer calories. Elk has been featured in "Weight Watchers Magazine," and it is accepted as a diet food by several national weight loss programs.

Individual cuts of elk appear identical to beef except for color. Prior to cooking, the meat is darker, due to the fact that it is not marbled with fat. Elk does not require as much cooking time or as high a temperature as other meats. Remember-slow and low!

Cook elk meat to the same doneness that you prefer in beef, but the most flavorful meat is produced when cooked in a slow oven (275° F) to a rare internal temperature. A medium-cooked roast is best cooked at 275° to 300° F. A well-done roast should be cooked at the lower temperature, and do not overcook.

Very slow, moist heat (Crock Pot cooking) works well with less tender cuts, such as chuck. With the slow cooker method, you don't have to worry about overcooking. Just let it cook until it falls apart.

For broiling, cook at a greater distance than you would for beef and check and turn a few minutes sooner than you normally would. The rare to medium range is best for elk.

Nutrient Composition of Elk Compared to Beef and Chicken
Per 100 grams (cooked)
Elk Loin/Rib* Beef Loin** Chicken Breast**
Protein 31.0 gm 28.6 gm 31.0 gm
Moisture 64.5 gm 59.3 gm 65.2 gm
Fat 3.8 gm 10.2 gm 3.6 gm
Calories 166 214 165
Cholesterol 75 mg 76 mg 85 mg
Iron 2.8 gm 2.5 gm 1.0 gm
Thiamin 0.16 mg 0.09 mg 0.07 mg
Riboflavin 0.33 mg 0.20 mg 0.11 mg
Niacin 8.98 mg 5.3 mg 13.70 mg

*From 2000 USDA/University of Wisconsin Alternative Red Meat Study
**From USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Beef top loin, trimmed lean, USDA choice; chicken breast, skinless)

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