Butchering Cow Elk. I’m done.


I’m tired of butchering. I’m tired of writing about butchering. I’m tired of making you read about it. I’m done. So very, very thankfully, this was the end of the butchering road for 2010. No more. By next fall, I’ll be stoked to get back at it, I’m sure, but for now I’m happy to pack away the knives and butcher paper for the year and call her quits.

How on earth do I have a cow elk to butcher, you ask? A friend offered to share, and I opted for a hind quarter of a cow or side of calf if they were successful – and they were. I picked the quarter  up this morning and gave the guys a hand butchering, then cut my quarter here and there throughout the day – one of the perks of having a cellar sitting at 1C: I can now hang animals and tackle them whenever makes sense. Of note here is the copious fat on a later-season elk – I can’t say I’ve cut a game animal with this much fat, although my dad says all the elk in Nov/Dec are fat like this. As per Hank’s advice, I melted some fat in a pan to smell it and assess its quality and keep-ability – and it actually wasn’t all that bad. I expected worse. It had a fried-cheese-fat vibe, actually, that I’m sure some folks would be quite into. I kept a fat-on top sirloin roast for the first time in my life.

It’s been a pretty big year in the big game hunting department, my freezer sporting sections of antelope, calf moose, bull elk, and now cow elk. I also partook in tenderloin of both white tail and mule deer thanks to friends’ sharing. Quite the cornucopia of wild meats. The work is now done. Time to enjoy some winter rest.

10 Responses

  1. Where do you get your butcher’s paper?
    (double grin)
    I had to ask!!!
    Did you say – rest? Have you started that yet?

  2. Val – butcher paper available at Halford’s or, believe it or not, Real Canadian Wholesale Club. About the same price, both places, about $35/roll, which does about 6-8 animals, depending on how small/large the packages are. Smaller packages eat more paper.

    And rest? Yes, believe it or not, thankfully. No plants to harvest, carcasses to butcher, food to put up for the winter. Things have majorly slowed down.

  3. [...] is obscenely expensive to purchase retail, in the neighborhood of $50-60/kg. When a game animal like this costs you zero, it makes for some pretty fantastic value add. A boon for this cheapass. This [...]

  4. A. Richard says:

    I was wondering why you would kill and butcher a moose cow and calf… Isn’t it only the bulls that are legal? Not trying to be judgmental, but it seems kind of odd.

  5. Kevin says:

    We don’t kill the cows. Where we hunt, cows are illegal, but the calves are on a draw system. Why harvest them? Quality of meat. The calves are mostly milk fed, just starting on grasses, and the meat quality, in my opinion, is far superior to a rutting bull moose. I feel 100 lbs of prime game meat is a far better fit for our family than 200-300+ lbs of tougher, gamier meat.

    **I initially replied the above, thinking the question was about moose. Here, you can get a bull elk tag, or an ‘antlerless elk’ tag. So the cows are totally legal, as are the calves. Same goes with elk re: tenderness, yield, and flavor when it comes to calves.

  6. [...] comes to short growing seasons and lack of heat, but increasingly my food adventures are teaching me that cold is key to many wonderful food-things, root cellaring veg [...]

  7. [...] Cow elk loin in aged St. Maure cream sauce w/ Carrot Slaw with Mighty Trio Organics flax seed oil [...]

  8. [...] butchering this cow elk in late November, I noticed how particularly perfect the shape and size of the eye of round would [...]

  9. Kasia says:

    The photo of the meat looks fantastic.

  10. [...] second batch was made from wild cow elk shank – trim I’d reserved in November for sausage. Because I could, I used some of the now-ubiquitous-to-me dried morel and shaggy [...]

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