A Simple Elk Tenderloin Recipe

Updated on December 13, 2016
3.3 stars from 38 ratings of Roasted Elk Tenderloin

When it comes to red meat, nothing beats the delectable taste of elk. Sure, beef is good, but elk is definitely better! Unfortunately for your common kitchen, elk meat tends to be met with steep prices and sometimes very low availability. That means, when the opportunity arises you'd better be prepared to make the most out of your precious cuts of elk.

Of course, there's no cut more precious and deserving of the most delicate care than the elk tenderloin! Cook them right, and you'll be rewarded greatly. Cook them wrong, and you'll end up with a mouth full of leather. In this elk tenderloin recipe, I'll steer you down the righteous road and help guide you to an elk tenderloin meal you'll never forget!

Cook Time

Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours 30 min
Yields: Serves Two with Leftovers.

Roasted Elk Tenderloin Ingredients:

  • Two, 1lb Elk Tenderloins
  • 1 Yellow Onion (Diced)
  • 1 Large Carrot (Diced)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery (Diced)
  • 2 Teaspoons Bacon Lard or Butter

Side Dish Ingredients:

Sauteed Beets:

  • 3 Bunches of Small Beets (Chop and reserve the beet greens)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Simple Mashed Potatoes:

  • 4 Medium Russet Potatoes (Peeled)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Milk (To reach desired creaminess)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Elk Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Milk (or Buttermilk)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Sized Apple (I used a sweet Honeycrisp)
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons Pepper
  • 1 Large Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seed
  • 2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Honey

Balsamic Reduction Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup of Beet Water
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Prepare the marinade. Combine all marinade ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until the marinade is fairly smooth.
  2. Place the elk tenderloins into a large storage bag and pour over the marinade.
  3. Allow the tenderloins to marinate in the refrigerator for three to twenty four hours.

When it comes to bringing the whole meal together, a little forethought is required. You'll be balancing a few things at once in order to ensure that everything comes together at the right time. So, to make life a whole lot easier, do your prep work! Everything should be peeled, diced, and ready to go beforehand.

Marinated elk tenderloins.
Marinated elk tenderloins.
Elk tenderloins. Seared, with bacon lard and extra marinade rubbed in.
Elk tenderloins. Seared, with bacon lard and extra marinade rubbed in.


  1. Pull the tenderloins out of the fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Bring two pots of lightly salted water to a boil. These will be for the potatoes and beets. (Boiling them separate of each other keeps the potatoes from turning pink.)
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, preheat your oven to 425°F and preheat a heavy skillet to high heat on the stove top. Add two tablespoons oil to the skillet.
  4. Once the water is at a boil, add your peeled potatoes and beets to their respective pots. The potatoes will need to cook a full 35 minutes while the beets only need 20 minutes.
  5. Also at this time, the oil in the heavy skillet should be just smoking. Add the tenderloins to the skillet and sear each side of the meat. You're looking for a golden brown crust without cooking the meat inside.
  6. Once seared, remove the meat and add your diced onion, carrot and celery to the skillet (or a baking pan if you don't have a skillet that can go from stove to oven!). Place the tenderloins on top of the veggie mix and rub the top surfaces with some bacon lard and extra marinade. (This keeps the meat incredibly tender.)
  7. Add the tenderloins to the oven and allow to cook undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.
  8. While the meat is cooking, the beets will need to be removed from the boiling water. Drain them off, but also reserve a 1/2 Cup of the Beet Water!
  9. Peel the beets out of their skin and quarter into sections. Combine with the reserved beet greens and quickly sauté in a pan with butter. Keep warm.
  10. The potatoes should be finished boiling just a little before the meat is ready. Drain the potatoes off, add butter and mash well. Finish by adding small amounts of milk until the desired creaminess is reached. Keep warm.
  11. After 20 minutes in the oven, the meat should be rare to mid rare depending on the size of the tenderloins. Most people prefer elk in this range. However, I prefer medium and let mine go for 26 minutes total.
  12. Once the meat is pulled from the oven, immediately place the tenderloins on a warm plate and allow to rest. Scoop out all the vegetables from the skillet and use a sieve to squeeze the juices from the veggies back into the skillet.
  13. Place the skillet back onto the stove top set to medium heat. Add the reserved beet water and balsamic vinegar to the veggie/meat juice. Place a couple sprigs of rosemary in the skillet and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Plating Up:

With everything cooked and in place, plating couldn't be more easy. Spoon some mashed potatoes onto the plate, sit some beets by their side, and lace the front with slices of elk tenderloin. Finish the dish with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and enjoy! Impress some guests, spiff up a hot date, or simply treat yourself. Whatever the reason, you must try this elk tenderloin recipe! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have. I'd be glad to help out!


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      Mindy 12 months ago

      Amazing! My hat's off to you! We live in Montana, and shoot an elk each year. Needless to say, the 5 of us eat a lot of it. With 3 kids, I cook 99% of our meals. So I like to think I'm a good cook! I can't even say how many ways I've cooked elk of any cut, with as many marinades. Yours is so, so great! I've told several people to check out your recipe. Yay for you and thanks! This will be a recipe I guarantee my kids children will still make!

    • profile image

      westernhabitats@gmail.com 2 years ago

      though this recipe looks fantastic I was looking for something SIMPLE a single dad could whip up for his teenagers. I certainly don't plan very far ahead to have all these ingredients. I do have a freezer full of fine beef and elk. I got that right. missing a good cook.

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      Wow... it can be reeeaaaallly good! :)

    • OLYHOOCH profile image

      OLYHOOCH 5 years ago from Thompson Falls, Montana

      Thanks. I will put this in My special Place for future use.