Topic 3
Prepping Elk Meat for the Freezer

Prepping Elk Meat for the Freezer

People refer to “venison” as meat from deer and elk. Some of your favorite deer recipes will work for elk too!

Field dressing, skinning, quartering an elk and loading it onto pack horses or on your back can take several hours. Depending on the time of year, you will want to get the meat cooled as quickly as possible. While most deer can be quartered and placed in a large cooler, you will need several coolers (with ice) for an elk. The same methods for deer will work for elk if you desire to wrap and freeze it yourself.

When cutting up the meat, three important steps must be taken. First, remove all hair, fat, muscle sheath, and bruised meat that you can. Hair clings to the meat and can be removed with a damp cloth followed by a careful search. Much of the taste that people associate with venison is held in the fat. Fat and sinew can be sliced away from the muscles with the aid of a sharp fillet knife. That meat around a wound will be bruised from impact. Bloodshot tissue may have a strong taste or may not be visually appealing when served, so it should be removed.

Next, rather than cut into individual steaks or chops, cut chunks that will provide enough meat for your intended meal. For instance, if you normally feed four people, cut the steaks into 4 inch pieces. By leaving it in larger chunks, there will be less freezer burn. When you are ready to wrap and freeze, plan to double wrap to reduce freezer burn. First, wrap in clear plastic wrap that seals as you wrap. A vacuum sealer can also be used.

Lastly, cut pieces of freezer wrap and place the meat at one corner. Roll the meat and freezer wrap together from one corner to the other, folding in the edges. The package can now be sealed with one small piece of tape.

Plan time according to the amount of meat you have to work on. There is approximately three times more meat on an elk than a deer, so the time planned should be at least three times as much as it normally would be for you to prep deer meat. As with deer, that area on the body where the animal was shot can be discarded. This can be done before it is removed from the field, decreasing the amount to be transported.