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Elk Steak Seared In Cast Iron Is As Simple And Delicious As It Gets

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Sliced elk steak

Cooking up the perfect elk steak couldn’t be simpler; all you need is a hot pan, butter, and seasoning. 

Elk is some of the finest red meat on the planet. Being from Mississippi, I don’t get the chance to eat it very often, but when a friend offered some from a recent harvest, I jumped on the chance.

For this recipe, I wanted to savor the taste of the elk, so I kept the seasoning to a minimum. Coarse salt and black pepper are all that’s needed. I also use a cast iron skillet over hot coals to sear the outside, leaving it rare to medium rare in the center. This process works for any type of steak, so feel free to try it with beef as well. I use my Weber kettle grill with a Santa Maria attachment from Gabby Grills. It gives me the ability to raise and lower the grate over the coals, which makes regulating the temperature very easy. You can also just pick up the pan with some heatproof gloves to raise and lower it. This cook doesn’t take long.

The process is simple: season each elk steak with salt and black pepper. Then when the coals are good and hot, place an iron skillet directly on the grill grate and let the skillet heat up a bit. That shouldn’t take long at all, only 2-3 minutes if your coals are burning hot. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and let it melt. Then place one of the steaks in the center of the skillet and let it sear for 2 minutes. At this point, add a few cloves of garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and an additional tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Now it’s starting to smell really good! After 2 minutes, flip the elk steak over, and begin basting it with the butter mixture left in the pan. It needs about 2 more minutes to cook to medium rare – which is just where I like it.

Then remove the steak from the grill and let it rest while you repeat the process for the next steak. Be sure to wipe out the skillet between each cook and give it a few minutes to get hot before adding the next steak. Then slice it and enjoy.

How To Sear Elk Steak In A Cast Iron Skillet

Cooked elk steak on a cutting board with fresh rosemary and garlic clove
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Cook up the perfect elk steaks in cast iron skillet with nothing more than a little butter, garlic, and rosemary.
Serve with: a porter or stout.

Main Course
difficulty scale


Servings: 2 servings


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 elk steaks, 10 to 12 ounces each (283.5 to 340.2g)
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Fire up. Prepare a grill for high temperature direct heat cooking.
  • Prep. Season each elk steak with salt and black pepper on both sides.
  • Cook. Place a cast iron skillet on the grill grate directly over the hot coals. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the hot skillet and allow to melt.
    Elk steak being cooked in a cast iron skillet along with fresh rosemary and garlic cloves
  • Place one of the elk steaks in the skillet and sear for 2 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary to the skillet along with 1 additional tablespoon of butter.
    Elk steak being basted in a cast iron skillet
  • Flip the steak and cook for 2 minutes, basting the top with the butter mixture as it cooks.
  • Remove the elk steak from the skillet for medium rare or continue to cook until desired doneness is reached. Medium rare is where I like, about 130°F (54.4°C) internal temperature.
  • Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and repeat the process for the remaining steak.
  • Serve. Slice and enjoy.
    This recipe was adapted and shared with permission from Photos courtesy of Malcom Reed. 

Related articles

Published On: 10/23/2019 Last Modified: 12/9/2023

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  • Malcom Reed, Content Contributor - Malcom Reed is one of the most respected men in barbecue and his many videos make him a genuine YouTube Star. He is also an Content Contributor.


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