Does Elk Taste Like Deer?

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Not everyone has had the chance to sample all types of venison, and the question ‘does elk taste like deer?’ is bound to pop up. Elk meat is similar to deer venison but tastes more like beef largely due to the absence of that gamey flavor.

Its meat is dense and dark red, high in protein but low in fat and cholesterol. Many connoisseurs of elk meat describe it as ‘clean,’ leaner than deer, but more succulent.

Elk venison is indeed a rarity, but it’s one delicacy that’s healthy for you and your family. 

How Does Elk Meat Differ from Deer Meat?

Elk is the second largest deer species after the moose or reindeer. Its meat is coarsely textured and grainy with a darker red hue than whitetail or mule deer venison.

How Does Elk Venison Taste Like Compared to Deer?

Elk and Deer are related, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there would be a resemblance in their meat’s flavor. Though many associate elk venison’s tastes with beef, it’s leaner even when the large deer are farm-raised. 

American Indian tribes and the early European settlers preferred having some salt pork or bear fat to mix in the leaner elk meat when cooking.  Deep winter would come with a condition called mal de caribou or rabbit starvation. 

This is because the hunted animals would be so lean that folks would starve for enough protein digesting fat. 

When adequately prepared, elk venison turns out succulent, full of flavor, and tender. Elk meat is a blessing for any meat eater trying to cut down their dietary animal fat intake. 

When elk have been feeding on conifers, or if the buck was harvested during the rut, you’ll find a bit of a gamey flavor to the meat. This wild taste is typical in all types of venison but is present more in Deer than Elk.

You can mask the gamey taste with seasoning with medium marinade, preserving much of its natural flavor.  

You can use the mild but creamy elk meat for any recipe that suits deer venison or beef.

How Fitting Is Elk Venison for the Table Instead of Deer?

Elk and deer meats are much-sought-after delicacies, with many benefits, including being a wild source of animal protein. These animals grow up and feed in a free-range environment, free from antibiotics and other animal feed chemicals present in beef.

If, like me, you prefer hunting your own elk, you can be assured that the venison steak you’re digging into is organic and natural. 

Elk are adaptable creatures and easily domesticated. Unlike deer meat, elk venison has reduced wilderness flavor, making it more acceptable to the modern palate.

I use elk chops, roasts, and even sausages to supplement my yearly supply of venison. When you hunt Elk, you’ll end up with more meat than what you’d harvest from a deer.

If you are seeking to stock up on venison, elk venison will neatly fill your freezer up. The elk meat has more juiciness, tenderness, and flavor than say, roe, or whitetail deer.

It’s also been proven there is even more protein per pound of elk meat than is on a deer.

Adding a little pork fat or beef suet brings out elk meat’s delicate flavor, making burger mince even more delicious.

To moisten the lean elk venison, I season my frying pan with bacon strips that help make the meat moist. Due to the resultant tenderness, it’s easy to overcook elk meat.

I’d recommend that you leave it just a tad rare, which helps preserve its flavor, tenderness, and moisture.

Farm-Reared vs. Wild Elk: Which Tastes Better?

Since elk hunting requires a tag in most states, farm-grown elk venison can be easier to come by for most people.

You can purchase a pound, a half, or whole dressed elk from farms and processing outfits that make it easy for everyone to enjoy this rare delicacy.

In What Other Aspects Do Elk and Deer Differ?

Elk originates from Asia, North America and are reared in New Zealand farms. Both elk and Deer are ruminants, and their bucks bear readily recognizable antlers for territorial mating purposes. 

These two species are similar in morphology and reproduction, with fawns born spotted to provide concealment camouflage against predatory carnivores. Both have a rut or breeding season, after which the males shed their antlers to regrow in readiness for the next mating season.

Some aspects where elk and Deer differ include;

  • Natural Habitat: Elk prefers deciduous, coniferous, or mountainous ranges while deer inhabit grasslands, woodlands, and deserts.
  • Size of Body: Deer grow up to 3.5 feet high and 7 feet long, weighing between 100 and 350 pounds. On the other hand, Elk can be 8 feet long and tower 5 feet tall from hoof to head, tipping scales at between 700 and 1000 pounds.
  • Antler Size: While a bull elk’s antlers can be up to 4 feet long, young deer bucks have shorter spikes that branch out. The longest deer antlers can’t possibly be more than 2 ½ feet long. 
  • Coat Colors: Deer sport a greyish coat during winter, which turns a reddish-brown in summer. Elk’s winter coat is thick, shaggy brown, and they develop neck manes to preserve body heat.
  • Running Speed: To escape from predators, such as ourselves, Elk will take off with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Though more agile and bound to jump higher, Deer manages 30 miles per hour at top running speeds.
  • Feeding Diet: Elk is a specialist browser of grass, shrubs, and forbs or broad-leafed plants. Deer prefer to eat leaves, shoots, and legumes, as well as berries and wild mushrooms.
  • Vocalization: deer occasionally grunts, bleats, or makes screaming noises when startled. Elk is more vocal, with a lot of bugling calls that are audible for miles, especially during the rut.
  • Hoof Tracks: Elk has a tooth-shaped track that consists of two rounds and parallel halves of each hoof. Deer leave a track that closely resembles the popular heart shape.

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