Arguably one of the best ways to prepare elk for eating is to make it into salami. Elk salami can later be cooked into many different dishes, can be used in sandwiches, added as a taste treat to salads and is terrific when simply served with cheese and crackers.
The recipe is suitable for elk scraps that are left over while the meat is being cut and wrapped, since it is put through a meat grinder. The suggestion would be to trim off any gristle, though. Otherwise, it can be a little tough. Many people also prefer using coarse meat grinding blades when making the elk salami.
The following will make 3-4 salami sticks, depending on thickness and length, and after the elk salami is made, it can be easily frozen for storage.
Ingredients for Elk Salami:
- 5 pounds of elk scraps, coarsely ground
- 12-16 oz of unseasoned ground pork
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup non-iodized salt
- 2 tablespoons hickory or apple flavored liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder -OR- crushed garlic (crushed garlic increases the garlic flavor)
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1-2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
Instructions for Elk Salami:
1. In a large bowl, mix the ground elk, preferably freshly ground, with the ground pork, liquid smoke and water. The amount of water can be varied. Its purpose is to make the meat and the finished elk salami easier to work with and moister when it is done.
2. Once the meat has been blended well, mix in the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and coarse ground black pepper. It is easiest to do this by hand, however it can be done using a heavy duty mixer of the sort that are made for mixing thick, heavy dough.
3. Shape the unfinished elk salami into sticks, each about 3 inches thick and about 18 inches long. As a tip, if the meat starts sticking to your hands, get your hands wet and it should be easier to shape the elk salami sticks. Wrap each of the sticks in a double layer of foil so the meat is completely covered and with the foil crimped into place.
4. Put the sticks into a cold refrigerator (35 – 40 degrees F.) and allow them to sit for 8-12 hours so the flavors have a chance to blend with the meat. Leaving them in the refrigerator overnight is a great idea and there is no rush with this step.
5. Using a sharp knife tip, puncture holes in the bottom of the foil of each elk salami roll, to allow the oils to drain out when you cook the salami. For an 18 inch stick, there should be about 9 small holes.
6. Place the elk salami sticks in baking pans with the holes you created on the bottom. The sticks should’t be touching, so if you don’t have space to do them all, put the extra sticks back in the refrigerator and make the salami in two batches.
7. Cook the elk salami in a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours, checking on the salami every half hour and pouring off any accumulated oils when you check on them.
8. Cool the elk salami sticks for a half hour before removing the foil. These can then be wrapped in heavy duty meat wrapping paper and frozen.
Using this method, we’ve been able to keep and use the unfrozen salami for up to two weeks when it was stored in the fridge, and the frozen salami was still tasty and good for three months. Usually, 5 pounds of elk salami (after the oil has been removed, this makes roughly 5 pounds) doesn’t last us nearly that long, especially once friends and neighbors know that we made up a batch.
Note that these salami sticks are moist rather than being firmer and drier like summer sausage. If you prefer your salami to have a drier consistency, cut down on the amount of water you use in the initial step.
If you prefer salami that has a little more of a spicy bite to it, add 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder to the meat when the other spices are added. The amount can even be varied, depending on the level of heat that is desired, so there is no reason for you not to experiment.
Some people don’t like the black pepper and it can be omitted, but I feel that the finished salami seems to lack something in flavor if no pepper is used. In fact, some people will even roll the logs in barely cracked peppercorns before they even put them in the double layer of foil.
Making elk salami is a fantastic way to put the scraps and trimmings of the elk to excellent use. Looking at the recipe, a person might be inclined to think that it is an involved recipe that takes a lot of time. However, once you slice a hunk off one of these salami sticks and taste it, you will probably decide that it is very worth the trouble.