My wife needed some things from Surfas for a client. It’s only because it was for a client that we went, as the place is a bit out of our budget. Whenever I go I like to look around, especially in the refrigerated and frozen section. You can find some really great stuff in there. On this particular trip, elk medallions caught my eye. At $26 per pound I was a bit shocked, but I found a 6 oz. package for $11 that looked appealing. My experiment with bison had gone really well, so perhaps the elk would be a winner, too.
I’m so glad I took the risk. After the sardine disaster from last week, I was a bit nervous, but everything worked out great. Because elk is so lean and dense, a 3 oz. portion for both my wife and myself was sufficient. I prepped the elk simply with only salt and pepper just to see what the meat was like on its own. I found that the elk lends itself well to any kind of rub or sauce, just like the bison. It’s an excellent flavor delivery vehicle!
My college buddy Don, who now lives near Modesto, laughed when I told him how much I paid. He says his hunting license is just $30 a year and a local butcher charges him 69 cents a pound. Perhaps I should start a So. Cal. Elk farm or something.
Cooking the elk reminded me of an experience from college. Years ago at Humboldt State, I went camping on the beach. I set my tent up right on the sand. When I got up in the morning, I looked outside and saw three elk walking down the beach, just hanging out near the water. For a San Diego boy, it was so cool to see such large, wild animals doing their thing. And years later I eat them. Life is strange sometimes.
Grilled Elk Medallion
6-8 ounce elk medallion
Freshly ground pepper
1. Dry the medallion with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature for 1 hour.
2. On a grill pan over high heat, grill the elk for two minutes, then rotate 45 degrees for cross-hatch sear marks and grill for another 2 minutes.
3. Flip the elk and repeat step 2.
4. Grill the elk along one of the long sides of the medallion for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to ensure the meat heats evenly.
5. Grill the opposite side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
6. Let rest for a few minutes, then cut in slices against the bias.
Use your favorite rub, sauce or compound butter to jazz up the flavor.
I took this photo the morning I saw the elk on the beach. It was glassy and empty, but I was always afraid of Mr. Whitey when I lived up there so I didn't go out.