This past fall, I killed my first elk, and I’ve really been enjoying all the steaks and burger from it. I’ve smoked, grilled or pan seared tenderloin, sirloin and back strap, and it has all been delicious. The meat is nice and tender and has a wonderful flavor to it. I’ve butchered and eaten whitetail deer for more than two decades and, without a doubt, I think the elk meat tastes better.

A few weeks ago, I pulled out a pack of elk meat that was labeled “Round Steak.” I’m very familiar with this cut on a whitetail, and it’s the same on an elk. It’s a section of the hindquarter that is flavorful and features a nice steak texture. However, this cut is not as tender as the tenderloin, sirloin or back strap. I tried grilling the round steak by itself and it was good, but chewy, even when cooked medium rare. The down side to this is that you get a lot of round steak off an elk. So, I decided to give a tried-and true whitetail recipe that I’ve been using since college a try — venison roll-ups, elk style.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s easy, too. Follow the recipe below for elk or deer and feel free to incorporate your own ingredients.

The author harvest this bull elk with a Remington AR-10 in .308. 226 yards in Ennis, Montana, in November 2016. The meat has been feeding his family since!

Elk Steak Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

Elk Round Steak

Your Favorite Steak Seasonings

2 – 3 Jalapeños (whole)

Cream Cheese

Bacon

Steps:

  1. Place elk round steak on a large cutting board and hammer it thin using a meat mallet. Flip the meat over and pound on the other side, too. Do this until the meat is thin, but not so thin you’re tearing holes in it. (Tip: I recommend doing this step outside away from anything you don’t want meat splatter on. You can place plastic wrap over meat then cover with a kitchen towel to cut down on any cleanup.) FYI … you can use cubed venison or elk steaks for this recipe instead of pounding thin the steaks.
  1. Lay steak flat on cutting board and spread a liberal dose of cream cheese on the top side of the steak. (Tip: If the cream cheese is too firm to spread, place a large clump in a coffee mug and heat it in the microwave for 10 to 12 seconds or until soft.)
  1. Now, season over the top of the cream cheese with your favorite steak seasonings. Some of the common seasonings I use are Montreal Steak Seasoning, seasoned salt, any garlic blend or a blackening seasoning.
  1. Using a large jalapeño, de-seed and slice it into four long sections. Place as many slices as you can handle on top of the cream cheese on the steak. (Tip: Get creative here. You can add any ingredients you’d like at this stage. You might be a fan of onions or bell peppers or whatever.)
  1. Start at the top of the steak and begin rolling the entire steak towards you. Once the entire steak is rolled up, then it’s time to wrap it in bacon. For smaller deer cuts, you can get away with one piece of bacon to cover the entire roll-up. With elk, you’ll need several pieces of bacon to completely wrap them. Now use a toothpick or skewer to pin the bacon closed. (Tip: Resist the urge to use thick bacon, it doesn’t wrap as good and takes longer to cook than the venison.)
  1. Place on a hot grill, and cover with lid. Let it sit for three to four minutes, then flip it over for about the same amount of time. At this point, depending on the size of the roll-up, you should pull the meat from the grill. I prefer eating the roll-ups medium rare to medium. Cook longer for more done steaks. (Note: Venison meat typically reaches medium rare to medium internal temps before the bacon turns brown and crisp. Don’t wait for the bacon to be done on thinner deer steaks.
  1. Serve with any sides you like and, using a steak knife slice off bite-size sections of the roll-up. Enjoy!