Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Elk Rib Chops - Sous Vide

I've eaten a little bit of elk in the past, but only once had I eaten a choice cut, an elk chop at the Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park, South Dakota. It was a great piece of meat, but it was a little tough and a little bit more rare than I would have preferred. 
Some wild elk in Custer State Park, South Dakota.
Recently I was at Exotic Meat Market in Grand Terrace and found a rack of elk chops that was imported from New Zealand - pasture raised and grass fed. I've been experimenting with my sous vide and I'm getting pretty confident at cooking steak with it. I decided to get the elk chops and give them a try. 
The elk chops out of the package.
The elk chops sliced into individual steaks.
I vacuum sealed the elk chops after I'd added salt and pepper and some butter. I cooked them at 55 degrees Centigrade for 2 and a half hours. 
After being cooked sous vide. 
After I cook them sous vide I put them in a sizzling hot frying pan and browned them on each side, then ate them. The first batch I browned in camel fat and served them with fried shishito peppers, fried garlic cloves, baked and fried potatoes and fried onions. The chops were cooked perfectly, still nice and rare, but not as tough or stringy as the South Dakota elk I had. 
Frying the chops in a hot skillet to brown them and create a nicer outer texture. 
Elk chops - nice and rare in the middle. 
A chop by itself. 
The next night I warmed up another bag of elk chops in the sous vide, at the same temperature, and fried the end product in a frying pan with butter. One of the nice things about sous vide cooking is that you don't over-cook the meat, so warming it up again does not de-grade or over-cook the meat. For this meal I had some more shishito peppers, some of my left over potatoes, cut into slices and fried in butter, and a steamed artichoke with butter and mayonnaise. The elk chop was as good as the night before and I did not notice any significant difference between the frying in camel fat verses butter. 
Elk chops fried in butter.
The sous vide is a marvelous way to cook leaner cuts of meat, like elk. 

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