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Compared to a whitetail, you get much more meat off of an elk. You may get bored of the same old recipes when you have a couple of hundred pounds of meat to eat! This takes your elk into a classic Italian dish to bring it to new heights.
A braciole is a thin piece of meat, with a breadcrumb mixture spread across it, then rolled up and secured with butcher twine. It is then braised in a tomato sauce that will tenderize the meat until it is fall-apart tender. It is a dish that takes some prep work but the end result is worth the hard work!
I introduced elk into it to bring new life to some elk I had in the freezer. This was some sirloin cut that I had used. I kept it partially frozen when I sliced it to make it easier to slice, pro tip! I then pounded it out to about 1/4” thin to be more tender and to be able to roll it. I cut it into about 6” long pieces. Doing so will allow the meat to braise correctly when it’s rolled up and not take too long.
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This requires quality ingredients too. I went with the best cheeses I could find. We even made a loaf of sourdough bread from our starter that I was able to make toasted bread crumbs out of for the filling. I used fresh herbs and vegetables to make it even better!
The homemade tomato sauce was the only way to go for me. Wild game is a special resource that deserves to be respected in the kitchen. The acidity from the tomato sauce will help break down the meat during the braising process. Roasting the ingredients brings out a delicious caramelized flavor that only helps your final product.
Yes, this is a good bit of work, and you’ll make a mess of the kitchen, but I promise you, it is absolutely worth it! I served mine along with some homemade black pepper pecorino pasta that I hand-rolled into a garganelli. The pecorino and pepper in the pasta added a great flavor to combat the acidity of the sauce. I also served it alongside some marinated grilled broccoli and grilled sourdough bread from the loaf we made!
2 lbs elk sirloin whole
2 cups homemade sourdough breadcrumbs
3tbsp olive oil
¼ cup fine chopped parsley
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
¼ cup fresh grated pecorino cheese
- For the tomato sauce
3 lbs large beefsteak tomatoes
1 large shallot
10 cloves garlic
10 leaves fresh basil
15 leaves fresh oregano
10 sprigs fresh thyme stripped
3 tsp salt
3 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Cut sirloin into pieces and pound to thin. We’re looking for about 6” long pieces of meat.
- Combine breadcrumbs, oil, parsley, salt, pepper, and pecorino and mix.
- Place enough breadcrumbs on elk pieces to cover but not too thick. Roll elk pieces up and tie with butchers twine in 2 spots to secure the roll. Should make about 6-8 rolls
- Cut a 2.5 inch diameter cone out of the top of the tomato to destem it and create a pocket. Dice shallot to ¼” pieces. Slice garlic into thin slices or chop. Place and even amount of shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme into each tomato pocked and drizzle oil over top of each one.
- Place on baking sheet and roast at 400F for about 30 minutes. Remove and peel the skins off if you want to. Place in blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Place in 12” pan over medium heat, stirring often to reduce sauce. Don’t reduce until its thick as it will reduce in the oven as well.
- Preheat cast iron dutch oven on high and sear elk rolls on the top side until a nice crust forms. Don’t crowd the pan, sear in batches if you need. Flip over and add enough tomato sauce to come within ¼” of the top of the rolls.
- Add lid and place in a 400F oven for 1.5-2 hours. To check tenderness, push a knife through the rolls. If there is little to no resistance, the rolls are done. Remove from oven and cut twine off using kitchen shears.
- Serve with your favorite pasta and enjoy!