Elk Yakiniku Kabobs
My long time love of hunting and fishing began in my small hometown of Bayfield, CO. The flavor profiles were typically of the salt and pepper variety, always delicious but simple. I left home to pursue my dream of flying and have been serving as a pilot in the United States Navy for fifteen years. This career has its challenges (like returning home for hunting season!), however I have been able to sample various exotic cuisines that I never even knew existed.
My love of hunting has only increased with time and I enjoy nothing more than sharing Colorado elk and deer with my family and friends. One of my favorite places to travel is the Pacific Rim and this recipe is inspired by a form of Japanese BBQ. Yakiniku refers to grilling meat, typically done over charcoal tableside by the patron. It is accompanied with a sesame-citrus-soy sauce that has become the flavor profile behind my family’s favorite elk recipe. What I love about this recipe is the citrus and salty flavors from the fruit and soy sauce creating a strong sense of Umami. It is my favorite recipe to share with people who are new to wild game cooking and it is a great way to use chuck and round steak.
Elk Yakiniku Kabobs Ingredients
For the Marinade:
- Yakiniku Marinade
- 1 medium lemon (juiced)
- 1 large orange (juiced)
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil infused with garlic
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 5 cloves of fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the Meat:
- 2 lbs elk chuck/round/sirloin steak
- ½ lb of thick cut applewood smoked bacon
For Assembling the Kabobs
- 3 medium Vidalia onions
For the Arugula Spinach and Heirloom Tomato Salad:
- 1 bag of arugula
- 1 bag spinach.
- 2 heirloom tomatoes
- Juice from ½ of a lemon
- Olive oil to lightly coat
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thinly sliced Vidalia onion as garnish
Elk Yakiniku Kabobs Instructions
- Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk.
- Trim the excess connective tissue (all white from the meat) from the 2lbs of elk chuck/round/sirloin steak and cut pieces into 1”-1 ½”-⅓”
- Place meat in a bowl with marinade and mix with hands. Marinate for 60-90 minutes.
- In a cast iron skillet, par-cook ½ lb of thick cut applewood smoked bacon. Cook over medium heat and remove from skillet when the bacon is halfway done. Looking for a little color on both sides and the fat starting to turn translucent.
- Place bacon on paper towels to remove excess grease and let cool. Cut bacon into 1 inch strips.
- Cut onion in half, then with cut face down, cut into thirds (3 wedges per half). Take the outer sections and place in a bowl for kabobs. Take small inner sections and slice thinly for salad.
- Using a flat metal skewer, build the kabobs with a combination of the meat, onions, and bacon. There should be several pieces of meat together then a piece of bacon and onion. Flat metal skewers are reusable and are easier to turn on the grill.
- Cook over a charcoal grill for best results (around 450 degrees F). Allow coals to burn down, oil grate and start cooking.
- Turn the kabobs 4 times, allowing each side to cook for 3 minutes. The outside should have a crispy edge and the middle should be medium rare.
- In a large salad bowl, combine 1 bag of arugula and 1 bag spinach, 2 rough cut heirloom tomatoes, juice from ½ of a lemon, and ⅓ cup feta cheese.
- Lightly coat with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and thinly sliced Vidalia onion as garnish.