squirrel watching me make elk steak kabobs

Grilled Elk Steak Kabobs

Grilled Elk Steak Kabobs, with Custom-Make Chili Powder and Arboreal Oversight

It’s too hot to make soup today, so I got out some red meat from the freezer, specifically elk shoulder steaks from one of two cow damage hunts I’ve done lately, sprinkled it with a good dose of avocado oil and my new favorite custom chili dry rub and started out the back door to fire up the grill.  The grill is in the backyard, in the morning shaded by an ornamental crab apple tree.  Not that that matters. It was my neighbor’s chestnut tree that was important, because there, just a bit above eye level in the crab apple, was one of our local tree squirrels munching on a Neighbor Bill’s chestnuts.  Our other neighbor (Also named Bill) has acclimated the local non-native squirrel population to be unafraid of humans, so the little bugger kept noshing as I opened the hood of the grill, shifted the grates a bit and lit the first two burners.  I was easily I bow range.

At that point I though, he might just stay there for me to get a photo, so I slipped back in the back door and slipped the 75-300 lens onto the old Canon, and went back outside. Unfortunately, Lena slipped out with me, and the squirrel dropped the chestnut and ran to the maple tree.  No chitting, no tail wagging. He just moved.

I put Lena inside, and came back out to see my uninvited guest settle into the crotch of the maple.  He seemed to be content, with his body stretched across the limb and back feet hanging down, and I went inside to grab the meat.  John came back out with me to see what was up.  He’s dead, John said. No, he was just eating, and ran over to that tree not 5 minutes ago.  He’s going to sleep, I said. Then why are his eyes open? He’s dead.

It’s been unseasonably hot in Montana the last month, setting a June record high temp, 104F, in Helena.  Maybe he is in trouble, I thought, and set out a big bowl of water and put the chestnut he’d dropped both below the tree.  He didn’t budge. Or blink.  We watched him as the kabobs cooked, and he never moved or blinked, twitched or snored.

As we brought lunch inside, I wondered if squirrels sleep with their eyes open.  To watch for predators.

Turns out they do sleep with their eyes open.  And make messy leaf and twig nests in tree forks and, while they’re most active at dusk and dawn, they sleep 15 hours a day.  And on hot days, heat-dump by stretching their bodies out on cooler objects—like shaded tree limbs, and even fire escapes. (What did we do without the internet for fast facts and fitting fotos?)

In any event, our squirrel maintained his post lazily supervising my grilling.  Eyes open though I’m pretty sure I heard him snore.

For those who thought this would be a recipe for squirrel, I’m sorry to say we live in town, so there’s no shooting allowed.  (Not even to thin out the Euroasian collared doves.) This is, however, a delicious elk steak kabob with veggies, for elk or any other big game you have in the freezer. We used elk today, but it could have just as well been deer, antelope, moose, caribou or bison.  So let’s get started.

elk steak kabobs

Chili Elk Steak Kabobs

1 pound tender elk steak, in 1” chunks

2 tablespoons my chili mix (below)

2-3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 whole sweet white onion, chunked

2 jalapeno peppers

1 sweet bell pepper (red or orange)

1 yellow squash (Straight or crook-necked)

Prep

Preheat the grill to about 450F. Chop the veggies into 1 to 2” chunks, and arrange on the skewers, alternating with the meat.  If the meat chunks are not uniform in size, try to keep smaller pieces on one skewer and larger ones on a separate skewer so you can control doneness.  Combine my chili mix ingredients in a pint-sized jar, close it up tightly and shake to mix it up.

Drip the oil over the skewers, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the chili mix on the skewers fairly evenly, using a pastry brush or your fingers to spread the spices, and pick up what dropped on the plate below.  You don’t want to lose any of this flavor.

Cooking

Set the skewers on the grill and cook about 10 minutes total.  The meat should be 130-135F for medium-rare.  John likes his on the rarer side, I like just a bit of red in the middle.  Slide the meat and veggies off the skewers onto a serving plate and lunch (or dinner) is done.

*Chili Mix

  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 4 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground New Mexico chili
  • ¾ teaspoon ground smoked serrano chili
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper

Four notes:

One: If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before assembly so they don’t burn up on the grill.

Two:  You’ll have chili mix left over.  I’ve used it on upland birds (2 tablespoons per pound of meat) as well as potato salads and cole slaw.  Just don’t be skimpy.  You can always mix up more.

Three: Taking game meat much past medium will result in tougher cuts, simply because game does not have fat marbled through the meat, like beef. Beef fat melts and bathes the meat in moisture as it cooks. Game has no such fudge factor.

Four: I’ve noticed paddle-shaped kabob stick lately on the internet, to prevent meat from spinning when you turn your kabobs on the grill.  Use long handled tongs to turn them, gripping the length of the meat-veggie run, and you’ll avoid spending more money. And avoid meat spin.

 

If you enjoy this recipe, check out our other wild game cookbooks, full of all sorts of delicious wild game recipes!

Simply Delicious Grilled Elk Steak Kabobs | Rifles and Recipes

Try these delicious grilled elk steak kabobs at your next barbeque, you're going to love them!

Type: main dish

Cuisine: American

Keywords: elk steak, kabobs

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 pound tender elk steak, in 1” chunks
  • 2 tablespoons my chili mix
  • 2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 whole sweet white onion, chunked
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (red or orange)
  • 1 yellow squash (Straight or crook-necked)
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 4 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground New Mexico chili
  • ¾ teaspoon ground smoked serrano chili
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper

Recipe Instructions:

Preperation:

  • Preheat the grill to about 450F. Chop the veggies into 1 to 2” chunks, and arrange on the skewers, alternating with the meat. If the meat chunks are not uniform in size, try to keep smaller pieces on one skewer and larger ones on a separate skewer so you can control doneness. Combine my chili mix ingredients in a pint-sized jar, close it up tightly and shake to mix it up.
  • Drip the oil over the skewers, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the chili mix on the skewers fairly evenly, using a pastry brush or your fingers to spread the spices, and pick up what dropped on the plate below. You don’t want to lose any of this flavor.

Cooking:

  • Set the skewers on the grill and cook about 10 minutes total. The meat should be 130-135F for medium-rare. John likes his on the rarer side, I like just a bit of red in the middle. Slide the meat and veggies off the skewers onto a serving plate and lunch (or dinner) is done.

Notes:

  • If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before assembly so they don’t burn up on the grill.
  • You’ll have chili mix left over. I’ve used it on upland birds (2 tablespoons per pound of meat) as well as potato salads and cole slaw. Just don’t be skimpy. You can always mix up more.
  • Taking game meat much past medium will result in tougher cuts, simply because game does not have fat marbled through the meat, like beef. Beef fat melts and bathes the meat in moisture as it cooks. Game has no such fudge factor.
  • I’ve noticed paddle-shaped kabob stick lately on the internet, to prevent meat from spinning when you turn your kabobs on the grill. Use long handled tongs to turn them, gripping the length of the meat-veggie run, and you’ll avoid spending more money. And avoid meat spin.

Editor's Rating:
5
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