Calf elk neck. In my little world, this is exciting stuff. It’s an achievement.
I grew up eating bull moose and deer – moose generally being preferred over deer. Elk were not around the parts my family hunted – so until the past few years, I knew little to nothing about elk. Once introduced to our kitchen, the general preference seemed to lean towards elk over moose. Then came calf moose, which we also had no experience with. Calf moose easily trumped elk – and I’ve since gushed about it ad nauseum. But a theory remained to be proven: if elk trumps moose, and calf moose trumps elk, then calf elk should logically trump calf moose. But we didn’t know. Put in draws. Tried last year. No luck.
But I got an email today – the hunters were on their way home, and needed a hand hanging the animals. I knew they had a calf moose and a calf elk – but found out today that they we lucky enough to get another calf elk. Three calves. Crazy. The elk calves are a fantastic size. They reminded me of a giant lamb. I simply couldn’t wait until next week to try some, so I grabbed a knife and took a piece of neck meat to try a braise this weekend.
For the record, I am extremely grateful that they who hunt a lot in our family were actually quite receptive to changing the objective of the hunts towards calves. They’ve also been receptive to my relatively anal methods of cutting meat. And lastly for the record: this post is elk-centric, but I’m equally stoked about their success with another calf moose. What a year.
I’m posting this last photo because a) I thought it was a good photo, and b) I was reluctant to. I was reluctant to as I know animal carcasses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. However. I have been advocating a ‘know where your food comes from’ philosophy, and like it or not, this is where meat comes from. There are far nastier parts of the process, trust me. To me, this is an exciting part of the process: all my favorite cuts are hanging right there, waiting to be transformed into all kinds of tasty dishes.