These majestic animals are widely distributed in North America, Europe and Asia.
North American First Nations call them wapiti. Elk was the name given by the first English settlers in what is today the USA.
Elk are much like deer and vary in weight between 300 – 500 kg. They are primarily herbivores, but also eat twigs, juniper berries and shrubs.
Elk meat is lean and tough, requiring marinating, grinding or stewing.
Today, elk are farm raised in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Arizona. In Canada Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta operate elk farms.
Elk are slaughtered and butchered more or less like beef. Restaurateurs and consumers can buy by mail order ground meat, legs, stewing meat, steaks and tenderloins.
Most of the time the meat is frozen.
Farm raised elk meat flavour depends very much on the type of feed they are given, but in general the taste is mildly gamy and very lean. People on diet prefer elk meat over beef.
Elk meat has more gastronomic value in Europe than in North America.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu