Back Country Elk Tenderloin

Back Country Elk Tenderloin

I guess I should start this off by explaining how I got into cooking.

Upon returning from combat deployments, everyone would reintegrate back into their somewhat normal lives. Being one of the few single fellas at the time, my place quickly became the hangout on shortened workdays and weekends. You see after spending so much time with the guys it becomes difficult to just cut that off. Deployed, it seems, your every waking moment is spent relying on one another. So, it only makes sense that when our team would come home, we’d still rely on one another.

Afternoons drinking beers and hanging out often led to firing up the grill and from there the stories would flow. I began to really take a liking to the communal aspect of food and how it brought people together to share in stories past and prophesize future endeavors. As the rib recipes were perfected, I turned to the kitchen to expand. And while I still focus primarily on meat and flame, I’m no stranger to the other facets of bringing a meal together.

I harvested the elk in the recipe below twenty-two miles into the back country of Montana, just outside Yellowstone National Park.

Elk Tenderloin

1-pound elk loin or chop

1 & 1/2 cups of prepared beef bouillon

A healthy tbsp of sour cream

1 tsp mustard seed

2 tbsp brown sugar

Marinade (throw it all in a bag) and keep separate

One garlic clove minced

Two sweet peppers or half an onion diced

Cover with olive oil – around 1/4 cup

Splash of Worcestershire

Sriracha to taste (note the heat dissipates when cooked, so fear not)

2 oz Apple cider or rice vinegar

1 Tbsp Honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard


Heat iron skillet to where a flick of water rolls off and evaporates (med-high)

Add a thin base of olive or a higher temp oil once hot

Add a dollop of butter (the oil will ensure it doesn’t burn)

Sear elk for about five minutes on each side then reduce heat to medium

Baste with the butter oil and juices

Remove elk from skillet to rest

Turn heat back up under skillet, add marinade and beef bouillon

As marinade cooks down incorporate sour cream and mustard seed. Once reduction hits a steady boil stir in brown sugar and mix

Reduce a few more minutes and remove from heat – you’re looking for a thick consistency like a watered-down syrup

Slice rested elk and plate reduction


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