How to Tenderize Elk Steak (3 Easy Methods)

Are you looking for ways to tenderize your elk steak? Elk is lean meat and a healthy protein, an excellent alternative to beef.

However, it has more connective tissues than beef. And has low fat which gets meat tough and dry when overcooked. 

You can tenderize tough cuts of wild game meat using different methods.

For example, commercial meat tenderizers, cooking techniques, marinations, or fruit extracts.

These methods help break down the connective tissue in the steak.

Keep reading to see several ways you can use to tenderize tough cuts elk steak.

 3 of Our Favorite Ways to Tenderize Elk

1. Marinating Your Elk Steak

Marinating can help you tenderize your steak, add flavor and texture.

Ingredients for your marinade: Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Olive oil or canola oil
  •  Worcester sauce
  •  Water
  •  Onion powder
  •  Lime juice
  •  Soy sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper.

1. Whisk these ingredients together and mix well.

2. Place your tender elk steak in a resealable plastic bag, and pour in the marinade.

3. Seal the bag and let it rest for 2- 3 hours in the fridge.

4. Cook the steak on medium heat on a hot grill.

Marination tips: Acidic marinades can make your meat tougher and draw out moisture.

2. Dry Rubbing

Dry rubbing steak with a blend of seasoning and Kosher salt is a great, and common technique of tenderizing tough steak.

Coat the steak with olive oil and massage the seasoning into the meat.

Let it rest in the fridge as the meat juices and the seasoning mix and draw and add flavor into the meat.

3. Physical Tenderizing

A meat mallet is a handy kitchen tool that can help to break down the connective tissues.

Use a rolling pin or skillet if you don’t have one.

Use a cutting board or wrap your meat in plastic to avoid contamination. Pound on all sides but don’t make your meat mushy.

Does Elk Have a Gamey Taste

Yes, elk does have a gamey taste. But that is not a bad thing, some people really enjoy that flavor.

Game Meat Recipes

Try some of our other game recipes

Smoked Kangaroo

Grilled Kangaroo

Bonus Tip: Cooking Your Elk Steak to Perfection!

Cooking meat on medium-high heat using different techniques can help in tenderizing a tough steak.

To Cook:

Step 1

Prepare your roast or elk steak by thawing in cold running water or in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Use these cooking methods to tenderize a tough piece of meat like shanks, shoulders, neck, and chuck. 

  • Slow cooking
  • Stewing
  • Braising
  • Grilling

Step 2 

If you’re roasting your steak, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Dry rub kosher salt, black pepper, or your favorite spices on your steak and place it in the hot pan.

Step 3

Sear your elk on all the sides for one to two minutes to a golden brown color. Pan searing traps the natural juices inside the meat. 

Step 4

After searing roast it in the oven and avoid opening the oven for at least 60 minutes. This depends on whether you’re roasting a whole roast or a steak. Baste your elk steak often as it cooks with the drippings from the meat.

Make sure the temperature of your steak is around 130 degrees with a golden-brown crust. Let your steak rest and serve!


Preheat your stovetop, or slow-cooker and place your meat inside. Add carrots, potatoes, onions, or your favorite vegetables.

Pour vegetable stock, meat broth, or water to coat the bottom of the pan.

Avoid covering the meat with the stock. Baste the meat with the stock during the cooking process.

These methods can help turn your tough elk steak into a juicy and tender masterpiece!

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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