Elk offers a deliciously lean and tender meat that can be prepared much like other red meats. Though small in size compared to beef, an elk steak makes for a satisfying individual-sized meal. In this article, I will instruct you how to cook the perfect elk steak in 4 different ways

1. How To Cook Elk Steak in the Oven


  • Elk steaks, about 6-8 oz each and 3⁄4 to 1 inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
  • Butter (optional)


Preheat your oven to 400°F. Pat the steaks dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Rub each side of the steaks lightly with olive oil and generously season both sides with salt and pepper. For extra flavor, gently press fresh thyme or rosemary leaves into the meat.

Place the steaks on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a wire rack. Bake for 15-25 minutes for medium doneness, flipping halfway through. Check for your desired doneness with a meat thermometer.

Remove from the oven when the elk reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare, or 140°F for medium. Tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

For a pan sauce, melt a few knobs of butter in the baking pan with the elk juices over medium heat. Spoon over the rested steaks before serving. Enjoy with roasted vegetables or potatoes.

2. How To Cook Elk Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet


  • Elk steaks
  • Butter or vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped rosemary (optional)


Pat the steaks very dry with paper towels and allow them to come closer to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes.

Season both sides generously with salt and pepper. You can also rub lightly with chopped fresh rosemary.

Heat your cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add just enough oil or butter to lightly coat the bottom.

When the oil just begins to smoke, add the steaks. Let sear untouched for 2 minutes to get a good crust.

Flip and cook another 2 minutes, adjusting heat so the steak doesn’t burn. Use tongs to hold the fat cap edge down on the pan if you want it extra crispy.

Check for doneness with a thermometer, removing from pan when elk hits 135°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium.

Let steaks rest 5 minutes off heat before slicing against the grain and serving. Dig into the flavorful browned bits in the cast iron pan to pour over meat.

3. How To Cook Elk Steak in an Air Fryer


  • Elk steaks
  • Oil (avocado, olive, vegetable, etc.)
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings


Pat the elk steaks dry with paper towel. Brush lightly with oil on both sides.

Season the steaks on both sides with salt, pepper, plus any other seasonings.

Set the air fryer to 390°F.

Place the steaks in the air fryer basket without overcrowding.

Cook for 5-8 minutes then gently flip the steaks. Cook 5-8 minutes more depending on thickness and desired doneness.

Check for doneness and add more time if needed. Steaks should reach 145°F internally.

Remove steaks from the air fryer and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

4. How To Cook Elk Steak on a Traeger Grill


  • Elk steaks, 1-11⁄2 inches thick
  • Traeger signature rub
  • Traeger applewood pellets


Fire up your Traeger grill with Traeger applewood pellets to reach 225°F. Pat steaks very dry.

Generously coat both sides of the elk steaks with Traeger signature rub, gently pressing so it adheres.

Place steaks directly on grill grates over indirect heat, avoiding direct flame. Close lid.

Flip steaks after 5 minutes. Then cook another 5-8 minutes with lid closed until elk reaches 135°F for medium-rare doneness.

Remove steaks when done and tent loosely with foil. Let rest 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

Serve piping hot topped with a pat of herb butter to melt over the smoked elk. Enjoy with baked beans, potatoes, or other grilled veggies soaked in Traeger flavor.

Now, you know how to cook elk steak properly at home. The key to cooking great elk steak is proper seasoning, searing the outside, and monitoring carefully as they cook quickly. These methods for oven, skillet, air fryer, and Traeger grill will all produce a tasty elk steak.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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