Recipe: Elk Carne Asada with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

As you well know, I’m a sucker for anything wrapped in a tortilla, but make it an elk steak and that’s pretty much the tops in my culinary world. I made these in the vein of a street taco, with doubled-up corn tortillas to hold the meaty middle together, and just like at a little taqueria, the toppings are what bring everything together. For these, I went with a roasted tomatillo salsa. I left the seeds in the jalapenos to deliver a bit of heat, but feel free to core them if you want thing a bit milder.

Don’t skimp on the pickled red onions either, which might be the best taco topping there is. They’re simple to make: just slice a red onion thinly and stuff it into a jar. Over medium heat, whisk together ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon or two of kosher salt. When the sugar and salt are fully dissolved, pour the brine over the onions and chill. They’ll stay good in the refrigerate for a month or so, but I bet you’ll eat them well before then.

Elk Carne Asada

Ingredients
2 to 4 venison round steaks

Marinade:
Juice of one orange
Juice of two limes
1 to 2 shots tequila
1 cup cilantro, packed
2 to 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin

Directions
1. Add the marinade ingredients to a blender and pulse until the marinade is smooth and well mixed.

2. Place the elk steaks between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly. Transfer to a plastic, Zip-loc bag or large bowl and pour the marinade over, mixing to ensure the meat is evenly coated. Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

3. Start the charcoal or preheat your gas grill to medium-high. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry using paper towels. Let the steaks rest on the counter while the grill heats. Cook over a hot flame, a few minutes per side, until cooked medium-rare to medium, depending on your taste. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing the steaks on the bias into ¼-inch thick strips.

4. Serve with corn tortillas, pickled red onions, guacamole and roasted tomatillo salsa.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

8 medium tomatillos
2 to 4 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup packed cilantro
¼ water
½ medium onion, diced

Halve the tomatillos and place them face down on a cookie sheet. Roast under a low broiler until black spots form. Turn and roast another 3-5 minutes.

Pour the tomatillos and liquid they have expelled into a blender, along with the jalapenos, garlic and cilantro and a pinch or two of kosher salt. Chop roughly, slowly adding water until you get the desired consistency.

Stir in the diced onion. Refrigerate until chilled.