It may not have the popularity of beef or even venison, but elk meat is slowly becoming more and more recognized in the US for its clean, beefy flavor, succulent texture, sustainable origins and heart-smart nutritional benefits. Here's our run-down of the top reasons it's worth incorporating this dark, delicious red meat into your diet.
1. It's low in fat and cholesterol
Because game meats come from animals with a highly active lifestyle and natural diet, they're nearly always much leaner than regular grocery store meats. Elk has only a fifth the fat of regular beef, and what's more, its meat is richer in healthy Omega 3, CLA and other "good fats" that aid in weight loss, improved muscle mass and cardiovascular health.
2. It's high in protein, vitamins and minerals
As well as skimping on the fats, Elk is a rich source of nutritional content that helps you meet your health goals. The average elk cut offers more protein than chicken, beef or lamb, and it's also packed with vitamins and minerals like B-12, thiamine, iron, phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and niacin, all of which work towards reducing the risk of heart disease, boosting the immune system and improving general health and longevity. It's easy to see why the American Heart Association awarded elk the title, "The Heart Smart Red Meat."
3. It's sustainable, free range and natural
Elk are virtually never farmed in the traditional livestock manner. Since they thrive in open grassland and woodland environments, and can survive harsh winters without the need for shelter or grain-feed, they're usually allowed to live a free-range lifestyle with an all-natural diet of grass, herbs, leaves and bark. Purchasing elk means you're supporting a sustainable food system devoid of steroids, hormones or antiobiotics, as well as bringing an unadulterated, natural meat into your diet.
4. It's versatile
Elk is available in a wide range of cuts and preparations, ranging from loin chops, flank steaks and rib racks, right down to ground meats, sausages and jerky. It can easily be substituted for beef in most recipes, though you may need to lower the heat and cooking time, since it's leaner and therefore cooks faster. We recommend cooking it to no more than medium-rare, and don't go too crazy with the seasonings: let that great elk flavor speak for itself.
5. It's delicious!
Of course, none of the above would count for much if elk tasted like rubber. The good news is that this rustic red meat is as delicious as it is healthy. In fact, many consider it tastier than beef, with a more pronounced, clean and slightly sweet flavor, along with succulent texture, to the point that it doesn't require marinating like some meats. It's also far less gamey than venison, so don't worry if you've been put off by that meat in the past. Pop some elk strip loins, ribs or loin chops on the grill, let them acquire a nice brown-char with a juicy dark pink center, and savor one of the finest game meats to grace your dining table.
All of Gourmet Food Store's Elk Products are sourced from 100% New Zealand grass-fed elk, raised on a natural, free-range lifestyle and never given antiobiotics, hormones or GMOs.