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Elk Loin - rolled, reverse sear

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    Elk Loin - rolled, reverse sear

    A neighbor gave me an elk loin and invited me to have at it. Venison of any type is rare when you grow up in London so I was at a bit of a loss. All I could see was that it was really, really lean. And huge.

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    So I followed the only sensible plan of action - go to Amazing Ribs & see what they have to say. I concluded that a reverse sear was probably the way to go. I rolled it for a consistent diameter, then put in a marinade for a while. At the time I thought that was sensible, everyone (aside from AR) recommended it. On reflection, it was a waste of time and wine.

    I set up the weber kettle 22.5 for indirect using the smokenator. No water pan, so the temp would be in the 350 range. I seasoned with salt and pepper, and put the loin on. I had a digital probe in, alarm set for 130. I thought there would be some carry over, and there would be a sear at the end that would bring it up to the 140 range.

    Once the meat hit 130 I reverse seared directly above the smokenator coals (see pic) for about minute on each quadrant. The meat needed to be turned four times, and I tried to do the opposite side each time. The meat is being seared in the pic below. I'm afraid I can't remember the cook time, but it was significantly less than an hour, perhaps around 30 minutes? The potatoes weren't close to being ready, I remember that much!

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    The meat rested a short while, then I sliced. It was as good as it looks! Beautiful even color across the meat, a crispy 'crust', still very juicy - but not bloody. Thin slices across the grain, just fabulous.

    As I say, the marinade was a waste of time. Didn't do anything for retaining moisture (as we know), and really just distracted from the meat - also I think caused the band around the outside. That would be the only part I would change. The finish temp was just above 135.

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    Reverse sear seemed to work! Cheers, Matt

    Way to go, mtford72! I have cooked quite a bit of game meat, and I think you hit the spot with this one. Minus the marinade (as you conclude yourself), that is exactly how I would do it. Good job rolling it up. Salt, pepper, indirect heat and the reverse sear. That's all you need.

    I have found that the reverse sear works even better with the more delicate parts of an animal. I think it makes it harder to overshoot the inner temp, since you "bring it up" slowly, then "just" reverse sear. The meat on the last picture is trully mouth watering. Great job!


    • mtford72
      mtford72 commented
      Editing a comment
      thank you!

    Great job! I think your grey band was likely due to the temp of 350 to be honest. Keep it in the range of 250-280 or thereabouts next time, and begin your sear when you're 10-15 away from your target tmep (which it sounds like you did). Potatoes on the grill are a tough animal, they take forever. Last time I smoked potatos per Meathead's recipe, they took 2 hrs. Good habit to always give them an hour jump on meat that will taken to the average rare to medium range.

    I have never had elk, how does it compare in flavor to deer?


    • mtford72
      mtford72 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Huskee,
      Despite living in Texas, I'm not a big hunter so only have venison on occasion so a comparison is tricky. What I can say is that it had a very mild game flavor, and cut beautifully. It ate like a chateaubriand. It must have been about this time last year, so hopefully I'll get another one! I'll try it at a lower temp and see about that ring. It didn't have a noticeably different texture, so (fortunately) didn't spoil the enjoyment.

    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      It is kinda hard to describe the difference, elk has a mild and very elegant game flavor. I have yet to meet a carnivore that doesn't like elk. Overall there is slightly more texture in the elk meat, due to it being a much larger animal. Deer on the other hand has more of a game flavor, and is (if possible) even leaner. There are different types of deer (of course), fallow deer has more game flavor than red deer. Some people (myself included) prefer the red deer. The red deer is a larger animal than fallow deer.

    • mtford72
      mtford72 commented
      Editing a comment
      Good news! the Elk hunting neighbor just brought down an Axis. It's hanging at the moment, so I should have it in a few days. I'm going to have to get creative.


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