VenisonWild Recipes

Chicken Fried Elk Steaks with Queso Gravy

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On a recent Harvesting Nature Field to Fork wild pig camp in Texas, butcher extraordinaire Adam Steele and I were driving from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Jacksboro where the camp was being held.

We were both feeling quite peckish, so I had Adam look up a potential spot to stop for lunch along the way. “How about a Texas roadhouse?” he asked.


We grabbed a table under the watchful eyes of mounted deer and longhorn cattle heads and looked around at walls festooned with Lone Star flags and Texas memorabilia. We decided to get a Texan kind of meal, so we ordered some sweet teas, a big bowl of queso, and some chicken fried steaks.

I intimated to the waitress that I’d never had chicken fried steak before, and she let out a big whoop, drawing the attention of the rest of the staff. The thought of a Canadian who had never even tried the dish before tickled them pink, and they all stood there and watched me take my first bite – delicious!

The dish I made here is a nod to that lunch and to Texas as a whole. I combined both parts of our meal, the steak and the queso, and made it wild-based with elk bottom round steaks. I turned the queso into gravy, which gets poured over the chicken fried elk, replacing the traditional white gravy usually served with it.

Feel free to swap the elk out with any lean red meat.

Serving Size: 4

Time to make: 90 minutes

Also works with: Venison round

Serve with: Mashed potatoes and veggies

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Chicken Fried Elk Steaks with Queso Gravy

Recipe by Adam Berkelmans
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Course: Venison, Wild Recipes


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  • For the Steaks
  • 4 thin elk round or loin steaks, 1 lb total

  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup + ¼ cup milk

  • 3 cups flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • For the Queso Gravy
  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 1 large jalapeño, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon butter

  • ¼ cup frying oil (from frying elk steaks)

  • 1/3 cup flour

  • 2 ½ cups milk

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar or American cheese


  • Pound steaks to 1/4” thick with meat mallet, wine bottle, or rolling pin.
  • Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the steaks in cornstarch so they’re completely coated.
  • Beat the eggs and 1/2 cup milk together on a plate or in a deeper dish.
  • Add the flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, baking powder, and smoked paprika to another plate. Mix well. Dribble over the 1/4 cup of milk and use your fingers to press it into the flour, rubbing until it becomes coarse.
  • Dip the steaks in the egg mixture on both sides, then press down into the flour mixture. Flip and press down again. Scoop some flour up with your fingers and press it into the steak.
  • Put the steaks on a wire rack and let sit for 15-45 minutes. This helps the coating to adhere.
  • Bring several inches of oil to 375°F.
  • Fry the steaks one at a time for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden and crispy. Return to the wire rack to drain.
  • To make the gravy, add the butter to a small pot over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeños. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then add the fry oil, stirring well to form a roux. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the milk, salt, pepper, and paprika, stirring well. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts and the liquid thickens into a gravy. Add more milk if it becomes too thick. Taste for salt and season if necessary. Enjoy!

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Adam Berkelmans

Adam Berkelmans, also known as The Intrepid Eater, is a passionate ambassador for real food and a proponent of nose to tail eating. He spends his time between Ottawa and a cozy lake house north of Kingston, Ontario. When not cooking, he can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, reading, traveling, and discovering new ways to find and eat food.

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