Sitka Mountain Gear
Elk tastes like sage
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
The dream 24-Mar-20
LINK 24-Mar-20
The dream 24-Mar-20
sticksender 24-Mar-20
cnelk 24-Mar-20
rodb 24-Mar-20
The dream 24-Mar-20
APauls 24-Mar-20
Sivart 24-Mar-20
Grey Ghost 24-Mar-20
mrelite 24-Mar-20
HH 24-Mar-20
The dream 24-Mar-20
kadbow 24-Mar-20
Glunker 24-Mar-20
Glunker 24-Mar-20
Grey Ghost 24-Mar-20
Glunker 24-Mar-20
Trophyhill 24-Mar-20
IdyllwildArcher 24-Mar-20
Brun 24-Mar-20
Alexis Desjardins 24-Mar-20
Danbow 24-Mar-20
drycreek 24-Mar-20
cnelk 24-Mar-20
TrapperKayak 24-Mar-20
bfisherman11 24-Mar-20
redquebec 24-Mar-20
Zbone 25-Mar-20
HH 25-Mar-20
Gunny 25-Mar-20
RK 25-Mar-20
Gunny 25-Mar-20
Gunny 25-Mar-20
slade 25-Mar-20
Gunny 25-Mar-20
bighorn 25-Mar-20
Danbow 25-Mar-20
Ucsdryder 25-Mar-20
Beginner 26-Mar-20
Outdoordan 26-Mar-20
midwest 26-Mar-20
butcherboy 26-Mar-20
paul mitchell 27-Mar-20
Outdoordan 27-Mar-20
From: The dream
24-Mar-20
So I went on my first out of state bow elk hunt and had a blast I missed a nice bull but ended up taking a spike a week later!

I've killed tons of deer over the years and never had trouble with gut hit animals. This elk was hit lung liver and exit out guts. It went 50 yards and fell over dead.

We used the gutless method and cooled it down over a stream overnight. We got the elk out. Next day and put on ice and left for home.

The damn thing is barely edible tastes like gamey sage every bite. I'm depressed :(

I cook my venison exactly the same and it is delicious.

Is this a early corona virus elk infection?

From: LINK
24-Mar-20
Did you process it yourself?

From: The dream
24-Mar-20
I always do. Killed this Lil beast In Sage country.

From: sticksender
24-Mar-20
Might have to consider 200 lbs of breakfast sausage. You can skip the sage when adding your spices.

From: cnelk
24-Mar-20
Have you eaten elk before?

From: rodb
24-Mar-20
We killed several elk in SE Idaho a few years back that tasted just as you described. It smelled when cooked and I couldn't stand the taste. We quit hunting there because of it. I could blame it on the sheep that crazed there all summer eating the best vegetation and leaving the crap for the elk but it would just be a theory. In my opinion elk is the best tasting venison of all and was very disappointing not to be able to eat it.

From: The dream
24-Mar-20
Neighbor gave me some elk couple years ago. This was real tasty and I couldn't believe he'd give any away.

I was greedy at first and wouldn't share now I am getting sick of the flavor almost nauseous. After this covid crap is over I'll probably give it all away.

I wanted to go back to the area I hunted again but am thinking twice due to the taste of this animal.

From: APauls
24-Mar-20
Was he rutty and all pissed up? I know we all try and be careful but is there a chance you got it on your hands from the hide and touched the meat without cleaning your hands? That can taint a pile of meat super fast.

From: Sivart
24-Mar-20
In the future, if you soak the meat in ice for a couple days, letting the ice slowly melt, and drain as it melts. This renders the blood out. Makes a huge difference in flavor.

From: Grey Ghost
24-Mar-20
I've killed Mule deer and antelope that were inedible, but have never had a bad piece of elk.

Matt

From: mrelite
24-Mar-20
Somehow the gut juice compromised the meat otherwise and in my opinion there is no way the meat would be inedible just because it lived in sage country. Just to be clear, I am not saying that meat from an animal who lives in sage country doesn't have a flavor but we are talking about meat that is inedible, if it stinks and is inedible the meat was compromised. I have seen the gut juice get sucked into the fat layer and taint the meat and even though we got to the elk quickly and it was broken down gutless it didn't matter, it still had a bad taste.

From: HH
24-Mar-20
Never ate an un-edible elk either. Not way gut tainted an entire elk with a 50m track and dressed him out right after.

I have jerked whole antelope and everything but inner loins on mule deer.

If the meat smells a little sagey, thats ok but if the meats stinks of stomach that's another issue entirely.

Try another recipe for cooking it. I would not be throwing out any meat with the current state of affairs right now.

K~

From: The dream
24-Mar-20
Just FYI I am not throwing an ounce of meat away! Me or a buddy will eat it all. It's not spoiled. Just extra flavorfull! I'm just very dissatisfied with taste. This guy was wallowing before I shot him but just a spike.

From: kadbow
24-Mar-20
I had an extra gamey mule deer one time, started adding lemon juice to the marinade and it made a big difference. Give it a try.

From: Glunker
24-Mar-20

From: Glunker
24-Mar-20

From: Grey Ghost
24-Mar-20
Did you cut away all the tallow before freezing? The fat is what holds most of the gamey tastes. My muley buck last year was rutted up pretty badly. I instructed my trusted processor to trim off anything that wasn't red meat from the steaks, which he did, and they taste fine. He obviously wasn't as careful with the burger meat because it's gamey.

Matt

From: Glunker
24-Mar-20
Was the meat touching sage brush during processing? Gut does not taste like sage. My elk generally taste similar, some tougher.

From: Trophyhill
24-Mar-20
I believe JP is right. There's gut on that meat. Way back when I was a rifle hunter, my buddy gut shot a deer that we recovered an hour or two later. Only instead of tasting like sage, it smelled and tasted like alfalfa. There was an alfalfa field not to far away. The gut juice had tainted the meat. When we opened him up he smelled like alfalfa......

24-Mar-20
That's a bummer. Elk is delicious.

From: Brun
24-Mar-20
Try soaking a piece in buttermilk for about 30 minutes before you cook it. I've never had to do this with elk, but I've done it with antelope and muleys that had a strong sage flavor and it worked well. Probably worth a try.

24-Mar-20
I killed a couple antelope in Alberta might as well chewed on a sage bush could not eat it I know what your saying.

From: Danbow
24-Mar-20
Mule deer I've had in Wyoming had sage taste in meat. Sage is a strong herb.

From: drycreek
24-Mar-20
Hmmm, every antelope I’ve ever killed was in sage country except the first one, and I’ve never had one that wasn’t delicious. The only mulie I’ve ever killed wasn’t the best meat, but it was certainly edible.

From: cnelk
24-Mar-20
Marinate steaks in milk, wine or vinegarette dressing before cooking.

From: TrapperKayak
24-Mar-20
Grey ghost ...ditto. First buck goat inedible, and fresh mulie doe with fawn (unknown when shot) just plain putrid. Never a bad tasting elk out of 13. Hard to even imagine that.

From: bfisherman11
24-Mar-20
I dbl lung shot an older PY Antelope and the meat smelled and tasted like sage. It was so overwhelming I eventually tossed it. I tried soaking, seasoning, about everything I could to save it. My friend shot a smaller lope the same week and it was delicious. Other friends who also hunted with me seemed surprised I had the issue as some here are, just saying. Then one of those friends shot a similarly old and large PY lope and he had the very same sage taste.

I have cleaned plenty critters so I believe I made no mistakes with the meat. Sometimes I think this just happens if they live in sage country.

Bill

From: redquebec
24-Mar-20
Ahh yes the sage tasting elk. I have heard of this several times before and I have no explanation as to why. Go back and read Sivart's recommendation.

I will soak in ice water, just ice water, put it in the fridge. Rinse and repeat daily and by day three what you have left is white like chicken. Cook it and it magically comes back to life as red meat. The gamey taste is usually gone. If it's really bad you might have to rinse a couple times per day. You have plenty of meat to experiment with.

From: Zbone
25-Mar-20
Have only kill one Pronghorn, and the worst tasting game meat I ever eaten, it had a sage flavor and it was a young one...

From: HH
25-Mar-20
Gamey speed goat makes the very best Jerky and Pemican one could ever hope for. This spike may be the same way. Good thing about jerk is that in rough times you can pack plenty in that possibles bag while on the hunt for more protien.

HH~

From: Gunny
25-Mar-20
When I retired and moved up to Wisconsin, my kids came home from school and asked me what "gamey" meant. Said some of the kids say they don't like venison because it taste gamey. It occurred to me that my kids have literally never known what it means to not have venison in their diet. To them there is pork, beef, chicken, and venison. Simply said, chicken taste like chicken, deer taste like deer. It's always been that way for them.

I explained that to say this.

Last year I had the opportunity to hunt elk in Washington. I shot a spike (first elk BTW), double lunged it. I immediately gutted the elk myself. We got it back to the house and I skinned it and cleaned it myself. It was immediately place in a cooler for the night. I personally transported the elk to a local butcher. After that I have no idea how it was handled. Had Chorizo, steaks, burger, and snack sticks made out of him. I had to fly home. My friend picked it up from the butcher from me, and several months later brought it back to Wisconsin for me.

Something off in the flavor of this elk. Smells different when cooking. The sticks even taste a bit odd. The chorizo even as spicy as it is, taste gamey as well. I make jerky out of the ground meat, but double up the spice and it taste good.

Gave some to all my kids to take home and have offered more. They all turned me down and said they don't want anymore. Meat taste "off" This coming from kids who would clean me out when their own deer is gone. I told them that elk is excellent and don't base elk flavor on this elk. The meat looks good, but smells as soon as you open the package. I have no idea how it was handled once I left it. The elk will be consumed, but not sure if it was because of the area I shot it in or what.

From: RK
25-Mar-20
Gunny

Just a question. If the meat smells, tastes bad and the kids wont it why would you keep it

I'm sure you could donate it to someplace and maybe they could just grind it all and make Chile etc to feed people

I'm not being critical just don't see you really eating it if it's "different"

From: Gunny
25-Mar-20
RK, I don't want to waste the meat. I have some creative ways to cook it up.

As I said earlier, when I double up the spices, my jerky taste pretty good.

I mix lb of elk and lb of whitetail, sauté some onion, add meat, use two cans of Manwich for some damn good sloppy joes.

Chorizo is good enough on it's own. Cook up some diced onions and potatoes, add chorizo and cook. Serve with salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese in some flour tortillas. Pretty tasty. Sometimes use scrambled eggs as well for a good breakfast.

Guys at work are eating up the snack sticks.

Haven't figured out the steaks yet. Some have been given away. I may have to grind it up and use the above mentioned procedures with ground elk. Pain in the ass though with it being individually frozen packages. Ideas?

From: Gunny
25-Mar-20
Also, a "little off" or "gamey" isn't necessarily bad. Not as good as usual, but still edible.

From: slade
25-Mar-20
Can it........

From: Gunny
25-Mar-20
Good idea Slade.

I can deer so that may be the trick

From: bighorn
25-Mar-20
Try brushing olive oil on it and mixing olive oil in hamberger.

From: Danbow
25-Mar-20

From: Ucsdryder
25-Mar-20
If it smelled bad when you cooked it that sounds like a spoiled elk.

From: Beginner
26-Mar-20
A friend of mine shot a cow elk and said it tasted awful. Doesn't want to even give it away because people might never try elk again. Shot it after a snow storm and took it to the butcher that day. Thinks the butcher may have given him the wrong elk.

From: Outdoordan
26-Mar-20
Jerky it, brine it with a strong mix and keep the smoke rolling the entire time. You can brine and smoke a dog turd and darn near make it edible. Although I don't recommend doing it.

From: midwest
26-Mar-20
Not sure if this was answered but did you butcher the elk yourself or take it to a locker?

From: butcherboy
26-Mar-20
Here we go again, already turned into it’s the butchers fault thread.

27-Mar-20
had 2 elk very bad taste. blamed 0n bad water. very dry that year

From: Outdoordan
27-Mar-20
80% of elk eat sage at some point, whether on winter range or summer. I have killed plenty of "sage eating elk" that have tasted good....

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