My buddy Chris Avolio from Hot Shots hooked me up again.  He hooked me up with an entire bison tenderloin that I cooked as two separate roasts.  One I marinated in coffee stout and garlic and the other I slathered with a paste of roasted garlic, cracked pepper corns and Worcestershire sauce.  This time Chris gave me an enormous NY strip elk steak, otherwise called the strip loin.  The bison was out of this world.  The elk was even better…

First, I have to give a big thank you to Chris Avolio for the hook up on the bison and now the elk:

Chris is the Director of Operations at Hot Shots Bar and Grill and a generally great guy who keeps giving me amazing cuts of meat to do something with on the grill.  Chris, I hope this one lives up to the hype.  What’s not to love about Hot Shots?  I get served by hot waitresses, drink beer, have a great burger, watch the game, and get some exotic piece of meat to throw on my grill.  It’s a beautiful thing even without the elk or bison.

Now on to the grilling recipe.


1 big ass NY strip elk steak (bison or beef could be used as well)
3 ounces bourbon
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp soy (not pictured)
1 tsp honey
two cloves of garlic, minced
4 pats of butter
black pepper

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen redder meat than this.  There is no fat in this elk steak at all which can be a but problematic.  More on this later. While it has no fat, it does have some silver skin to trim off:

Under that little flap of meat is a bunch of tough silver skin.  Here it is trimmed:

With this elk steak I wanted to get a feel for the flavor without the marinade, so I trimmed off about an inch from the end that would not be marinated.  All it got was a little salt and black pepper:

The nibbler piece will also help me gauge how long it will take to cook the rest of the elk steak.

I combined all the ingredients except for the butter and steak in a small bowl:

I whisked the marinade together:

Then I put the elk steak in a plastic bag with the marinade and into the fridge overnight:

The following day, Dad came by to enjoy this glorious piece of meat along with some white wine before dinner (it was the first time the temp had been above 50 in 4 months, it felt like a heat wave) in the form of a Gott Chard, some red (Trilogy Flora Springs) with the meal, and a side dish of grilled romaine lettuce.  I took the elk out to come up to room temp:

Notice how much redder the nibbler pieces is compared to the marinated steak?  The Worcestershire and the soy darken the elk.

I set up the Grill Manufacturer That Shall Not Be Named for two zone grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other.  I used the bricks to section off the two sides:

After cleaning my grill grate with a brush, I put the sampler piece directly over those coals:

I flipped the pieces after only a couple of minutes.  What struck me was that there was no grease on the surface of the meat.  I wasn’t kidding when I said there was no fat:

I was worried that there was no way to get a juicy steak of out of the rest of the cut the way this looks. The sample pieces had no fat but were full of flavor and were indeed juicy.  It’s different than beef.  It’s more robust and had a nice sweetness to it.  Dad actually asked if I had dusted it with garlic because there was so much flavor.  I told him it was just salt and pepper.

After we sampled it was time to get the elk steak on the grill.  I put the cut directly over the hot coals:

After two minutes grilling over the hot coals I rotated the elk:

After another two minutes, I flipped it over:

Again, no fat is glistening on the surface of the meat which tells me that I have a very, very small window for getting this right.  Go beyond medium rare and say good by to a juicy steak and say hello to shoe leather.

After two minutes I rotated the steak:

After two more minutes (a total of eight over the hot coals), I moved it to the side with no coals to bake:

We decided to add some fat to this since there seemed to be none.  The fat we added came in the form of butter:

I baked the steak for three minutes:

I didn’t want to risk over cooking it so it was time to take the grilled elk steak off and let it rest under some loose foil.  You could go longer if you wish and it all depends on the heat of the grill.  Let the steak tell you when it’s done by using the thumb test.

Here’s the steak with the glistening melted butter on top:

Dad foiling the elk while I work on the side dish:

Resting is of critical importance for a juicy steak.  When that meat comes off the grill, the juices inside are in an excited state.  They’re moving a million miles an hour.  Slicing into the meat when they’re in that state will cause them to run out of the meat.  Give it a few minutes to calm down and when you cut into it, the juice stays in the meat.  We rested this about eight minutes while I grilled the lettuce.  You can find a more detailed write up on how to grill lettuce here.

Basically, I tore away the really leafy outer leaves from the head of romaine and sliced it in half lengthwise.  I drizzled it with olive oil, coarse salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and put it right over the hot part of the grill:

Once there’s a nice char, flip the head halves over:

Once there’s a char on both sides, plate and cover with hard grated cheese (in this case asiago).  Here’s the elk sliced along with the the lettuce and glass of wine on a tray.  Dad and I went downstairs and ate on the couch while watching a guy flick:

And a closer shot of the juicy steak:

The marinade added a great complementary flavor to the elk.  It wasn’t too strong to overpower the meat, but also stood up to the hearty red meat quite well.  It was a juicy steak as well as incredibly tender.  The skinnier end of the meat was rare to medium rare and the fatter end was rare, which was perfect for dad and I, he got the skinner end, and I got the bloody fat end.  This was the skinnier end.

I can sum up with this simple sentence. Elk may have ruined beef for me, it was that good.

Looking back, if I ever get elk again, I’m adding some oil to the marinade.  Maybe two tablespoons.  It needed some added fat.  It would be a healthier alternative to the butter at the end, but I’d probably do both the butter and the oil.

If you have any questions or comments about the grilled elk steak marinated in bourbon, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

If you’re interested in other grilled game recipes, click here, or here if you want other steak recipes.

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page where you can post your own grilling pictures, share grilling recipes or join the general grilling conversation.  You can follow us on Twitter @GrillinFool

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
What would you do with this? Pic and gorgeous marbled beef courtesy of @debetti - Olha o … - 15 mins ago
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This looks like the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.


If you get a chance try some Moose. Thats my favorite!


Did this tonight with 1 elk loin (backstap) and 1 nice size round steak which I cut into 3 pieces to be similar thickness as the loin. If you haven’t tried elk roundsteak, it has become my favorite cut as a steak! zero silverskin or visible fat, tends to be a little juicier, unbelievably tender! And that’s “normal” round, I haven’t even tried the center cut piece yet!

I haven’t been a big marinade fan before, but this was great!


Thank you very much,
I was looking for complete instructions how to cook elk meat and yours are even accompanied by pictures! How thick is the cut?


That elk steak was a little under an inch thick at one end and a little over an inch at the other end. Looking back, I probably should’ve cut the steak in two with the thin side as one steak and the thicker as the other.

All I have to say is don’t go beyond medium rare as the difference between medium and the crime of shoe leather elk is only a few moments on a hot grill! Have a great rest of the week!


I’ve discovered brining. If you are cooking thicker cuts of elk, venison or pork really, try brining. I cannot tell you how much flavor and moisture you get by this process. Try it!



I brine everything from poultry to beef. I am a firm believer in brining. And you are right. It really adds moisture and flavor to just about anything.

What is your go-to brine?


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