Elk NetworkElk Breakdown

Hunting | January 1, 2016

Elk Breakdown

Know your cuts and how to cook ’em.


1) The loin, aka, backstrap, runs the length of the backbone and provides the best steaks known to man, save for maybe the tenderloins, which are found opposite the backstrap, tucked up under the spine, just forward of the pelvis. These tender cuts should be cooked fast, with dry, high heat. A skillet or a grill work best.

2) For most folks, the front shoulder will be turned into burger and sausage, as the meat here will be too tough for steaks. For those who like roast, this is your classic pot roast, in which case, you should braise it.

3) The hindquarter is, depending on the cut, nearly as tender as backstrap. You’ll find a lot of meat here, which can easily be sliced into steaks for fajitas or stir-fry. Sirloin tips and roasts are here as well. Cook your steaks hot and fast or slow-cook your roasts in a stew.

See a detailed breakdown of hindquarter cuts and cooking tactics

4) BBQ brisket done right melts in your mouth. Don’t overlook this on your elk. It’s a tough cut, but the tough tissue breaks down when braised. 

5) Neck, rib and shank meat are typically carved off and cleaned for use in elk burger. But if you can carve off a big enough chunk, neck meat makes a good pot roast.