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Elk and other forms of wild venison were an important source of protein for Americans during the frontier days. That's no longer the case, but sport hunters and their friends still have the opportunity to enjoy lean, flavorful elk periodically. Wild elk is not usually as tender as farmed venison, so many cooks choose to slow cook it.

Oven Method

Wipe any blood spots or bone fragments from the elk roast using a damp paper towel. Use clean paper towels to blot the surface dry, especially if the roast has been thawed or marinated.

Heat a large skillet on your stove top until it is almost smoking. Sear the roast on all sides, ensuring that it is well-browned. If your roast is too large for your skillet, a heavy roasting pan or large Dutch oven will work. This step is optional, but gives the finished roast a better flavor.

Add the carrots, onion and celery to the roasting pan, if you are using them. Scrape the vegetables together to make a flat pad in the middle of the pan. Season the roast lightly with salt and pepper and place it in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables.

Pour a bottle of red wine or 3 cups of beef broth into the roasting pan, if desired. This will add flavor to the elk meat, and serve as the basis for a sauce. Tender cuts can be slow-cooked just as well without liquid, but tough cuts are better if cooked in wine or broth.

Cover the roasting pan and slide it into a preheated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Slow-roast the elk until it reaches a food-safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, when tested with a meat thermometer. Tough cuts will benefit from cooking to a minimum temperature of 185 degrees, which will melt most of the connective tissue.

Serve hot with your choice of side dishes and sauce.

Slow-Cooker Method

Preheat the slow cooker on its high setting. Prepare and sear the elk roast on the stove top until browned. Season it lightly with salt and pepper. If you are using carrots, onion and celery, place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Place the roast in the slow cooker, centering it on top of the vegetables. If you are using wine or beef broth, pour in enough to submerge approximately 2/3 of the roast.

Turn down the slow cooker once there is definite smell of cooking, usually 30 to 45 minutes. If you are using wine or broth, turn down the slow cooker once the liquids have begun steaming.

Cook on the low setting until the elk is fork-tender, from four to eight hours depending on the cut of elk and the size of the roast. Serve hot with your choice of side dishes and sauce.


Make a sauce for the elk by straining the cooking juices and wine, and reducing the liquid until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in a tablespoon of cold butter and serve over the elk meat.


Wild game animals should be cooked to well done, to ensure food safety. Trichinosis and various other food-borne illnesses may be contracted from wild game. Always clean and sanitize any surfaces that have come into contact with uncooked meat.

About the Author

Fred Decker

Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.