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Elk Yakiniku Kabobs

Elk Yakiniku Kabobs

Venison cooked yakiniku-style over a hot flame with green and red peppers.

Kabobs inspired by the flavors and technique of Japanese barbecue known as yakiniku

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 with Arugula Spinach and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Thomas Horton
Elk kabobs prepared in the style of Japanese barbecue
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinating Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Japanese
Servings 4
Calories 723 kcal



  • 1 medium lemon juiced
  • 1 large orange juiced
  • cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil infused with garlic
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground


  • 2 lbs elk steak chuck, round, or sirloin
  • ½ lb thick cut applewood smoked bacon


  • 3 medium Vidalia onions

Arugula Spinach and Heirloom Tomato Salad

  • 1 bag arugula
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • Olive oil
  • cup feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thinly sliced Vidalia onion as garnish


  • 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”
  • 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.


Calories: 723kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 62gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 1798mgPotassium: 2142mgFiber: 8gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 8253IUVitamin C: 93mgCalcium: 303mgIron: 10mg
Keyword Elk, Venison
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