Nothing says comfort food like roast.
Roast is a traditional British meal served on Sunday’s, but came to America and quickly became a New England favorite. Since then, Mississippi has laid claim to their own version and the majority of American homes have their own recipe that they’ve grown up with.
Typically served with potatoes and carrots, the recipe is very versatile and can be made in a crockpot, instapot, or braised in the oven. The meat is typically a rougher cut, but by slow cooking it, it becomes melt in your mouth tender. Top it with gravy, and it’s heaven bliss! For this elk roast recipe, you can use the same recipe for venison, bear, or moose.
To me, roast has always been okay; in other words, it was just a way to get rid of some of those tougher cuts of meat, but it was never something I craved. That is, until I finally figured out this recipe. This elk roast recipe is so flavorful, I often catch the hubby eating cold leftovers from the fridge, and the gravy could be eaten with a spoon. It is simply divine.
I’m sure you’ve heard of using onion soup packets in your roasts, which is fine, but it’s hard to control the sodium level. Instead of using those packets, just use sliced onions (shocking, I know). No reason to get fancy with any other ingredients if you use this recipe, the onions and spice/herb combo work perfectly together.
Also, I usually cook my veggies outside of the crockpot or instant pot, because I like to control the texture of them. I don’t want them to crumble and fall apart, so I like to cook them on the stovetop while the elk roast cooks.
This doesn’t mean you can’t throw your veggies in the pot though. If you’re good with veggies cooked to a fall-apart consistency, go ahead and throw them in. Instant pots seem to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to overcooking the veggies, so it’s a much better texture.
Why Brown Roast Meat Beforehand?
I hate when I see a recipe that is supposed to be fast and it calls for all of this prep work, like browning the meat before cooking it, but there’s got to be a reason for that, right? Well, technically, you don’t have to brown meats before slow cooking them.
The time spent cooking will cook the elk roast perfectly fine, but I’ve always been a fan of the benefit of browning the meat beforehand was to add a caramelized flavor to the entire dish.
The technical term for this added caramelized flavor is called the Maillard reaction, and if you ever want to really be a meat cooking enthusiast, you should probably understand what that reaction means to cooking your meats.
BUT, with all of this said, there are people on either side of this argument that bring up great points to whether it is necessary to brown or not brown.
I like this argument for browning beforehand by one of my favorite foodie blogs, Kitchn, and I also like this argument against browning beforehand by another one of my favorite foodie blogs, Serious eats (Kenji is a favorite of mine, for sure).
Again, know it’s okay to not brown, and I’d recommend trying both ways to find out your favorite.
Should You Drain Blood from Wild Game?
We try to trim as much of the silver skin away from the meat, which typically helps with any gamey flavor, but for an extra step, the hubby likes to sit the meat in a colander that is then sat in a bowl. He then places the bowl in the fridge overnight.
This helps drain some of the blood away, which is just another step to getting rid of that gamey flavor. If you don’t have time for this step, no worries if the meat was properly trimmed, but if you’re finding that your meat does have a gamey flavor, this may help.
UPDATE: I’ve had a few people mention the timing of the recipe, which you can see in the comments below. After cooking with an instant pot for a few years now, I’ve noticed that my timing is likely due to the altitude I live at, which is 7,680 feet.
With that said, if you’re new to this recipe try starting it out at 30 minutes and do a taste/shred test. If you need more time, do another 30 minutes, and so on.
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Elk Roast Recipe
- 3 slices Bacon Cut into 3 pieces.
- 3 lb Elk Roast Venison, moose, and beef work well too.
- Salt + Pepper To taste, and use Kosher salt.
- 1 Onion Chopped.
- 3 cloves Garlic Chopped.
- 1 cup Mushrooms Sliced.
- 1/2 cup Beef Broth
- 1/2 cup Red Wine
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 tsp Rosemary
- 1 tbls Corn Starch
- If you have time, drain the elk roast in a colander set in a bowl overnight to try to get some of the blood out.
- Turn on the instant pot so it gets hot enough to cook the bacon and brown the meat.
- Par-cook the bacon slices in the bottom of the pot. What you're looking for is there to be enough grease left over to brown the meat and cook the vegetables. This step probably takes about 5-8 minutes.
- Shake some salt and pepper all over the elk roast - feel free to use a generous amount; if the elk roast is thick enough, a thick crust of salt and pepper will make it wonderful! Kosher salt, not table salt.
- When the bacon is done, remove it and set aside. Add the elk roast to the instant pot to sear and brown on all sides in the bacon grease - about 5 minutes per side. You may have to do this in batches if you're doing multiple roasts (like with smaller venison roasts).
- If you haven't already, use this time to chop your onions, chop your garlic, and slice your mushrooms.
- Once the elk roast is browned, remove it and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pot and saute until translucent and cooked. (In a pinch, I'll use dried mushroom powder from the mushrooms I foraged for over the summer and dehydrated at home.)
- Add the elk roast back to the pot, top with bacon, and add the remaining ingredients (but not the corn starch).
- Cook the elk roast in the instant pot for 1-2 hours. Release the pressure, and then check the cut of the elk roast and decide if you want to cook it a bit more.
- Once the elk roast is done, remove the roast to a cutting board, turn up the heat on the instant pot (no lid needed) to start boiling the liquid. Take 3 tablespoons of the juice and add it to a small bowl. Stir the 1 tablespoon of corn starch into the juice until well mixed. Pour the corn starch mix into the elk roast juice, and stir to incorporate. Let this mixture boil until thick - this usually takes the time it takes to cut up the elk roast.
- Slice the elk roast and serve the gravy on the side as an option to pour on top. The gravy is so good, it could be it's own side.