Impress Your Guests with This Easy-to-Make Elk Meatloaf

When it comes to trying out a new recipe, I always aim for one that’s not only easy to make, but also flavorful and versatile. That’s why I am excited to share with you my latest culinary discovery: Elk Meatloaf Recipe.

For the adventurous foodies out there, this recipe is worth a try. I know elk meat might sound unfamiliar to some of you, but it is one of the healthiest and leanest meats available in the market today. It’s a wild game meat that’s high in protein and low in fat, making it an excellent alternative to beef or pork.

But don’t be fooled by its nutritional value because this meatloaf recipe sure packs a punch in flavor! With a combination of aromatic onions, spices like black pepper and kosher salt, and ingredients like ketchup, dark brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar, you’ll definitely get a burst of flavors in every bite.

To help you master this easy-to-make dish, I’ve included step-by-step instructions, tips for perfect results, substitutions and variations you can try, as well as recommendations for serving and pairing. Trust me; this recipe will turn any skeptic into an elk meat lover. So let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Elk Meatloaf
Elk Meatloaf

Elk is an exotic and lean meat that is growing in popularity, and what better way to showcase it than with this flavorful elk meatloaf recipe? As a culinary explorer, I always seek out unique and delicious dishes, and this elk meatloaf recipe never fails to impress.

What sets this recipe apart from the rest is the perfect balance of ingredients. The ground elk meat combined with ground pork creates a juicy and tender texture, while the addition of onions, garlic, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar creates a savory and slightly sweet taste that will tantalize your taste buds.

This recipe also uses simple ingredients that you may already have on hand such as bread crumbs, eggs, salt, black pepper, and olive oil. It’s easy to make and versatile enough to be served for any meal occasion.

What’s more? This recipe yields two pounds of mouthwatering elk meatloaf so it’s great for feeding a family or a group of guests. You’ll love how this recipe gains you compliments from every guest at your dinner table. Trust me!

Overall, if you’re looking for an easy-to-make, flavorful and nutritious dish that will make everyone around the table happy while enjoying the wholesome meat at its best flavor profile – this Elk Meatloaf Recipe is the perfect way to elevate your meals.

Ingredient List

Get ready to meat your needs

This elk meatloaf recipe is a wild game version of the classic dish. To make this delicious dish, you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground elk meat: lean and rich in flavor.
  • 1 lb. ground pork: it adds moisture and fat to the meatloaf.
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs: provides structure and binds the meat together.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper

These ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store and you can prepare a mouth-watering elk meatloaf with them.

The Recipe How-To

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start preparing the elk meatloaf. As with any meatloaf recipe, the first step is to preheat your oven at 350°F (175°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 pounds of ground elk or ground 1 lb elk meat and 1 lb ground pork.

Mix in the Seasonings

To ensure that all flavors blend well, add 1 finely chopped onion, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Don’t be shy with your seasoning! With wild game like elk and venison, you need strong flavors to balance their natural taste.

Add Binders

Once your seasoning mixture is combined evenly with your meat, add dry bread crumbs. We prefer using dry bread crumbs instead of fresh breadcrumbs – this ensures that the breadcrumbs will absorb any excess water in the meat mixture and work as effective binders. Combine well before adding other binders2 large eggs should do the trick. Make sure you whisk the eggs prior to adding them to the meat mixture.

Create a Flavor Explosion

To really make our Elk Meatloaf recipe stand out, we add in some dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and our secret ingredient – ketchup! Using these three ingredients creates an incredibly rich and delicious flavor explosion!

Shape and Bake

Combine these ingredients thoroughly into the meat mixture with about 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs. Then, shape into a loaf on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. One of our favorite iterations of this recipe is Elk Meatloaf with olives! If desired, add in roughly chopped olives to your beef mixture before creating and baking.

Finally, for best results when baking your Elk Meatloaf, cover it with aluminum foil for the first hour of cooking time – this will help keep it moist. After one hour has passed, remove aluminum foil then continue baking for another half an hour until an accurate instant-read thermometer inserted reads 155°F (68°C) for those who prefer well done, or 145°F (63°C) for medium done temperature.

Substitutions and Variations

One of the beauties of meatloaf is its versatility. You can get creative and add your own twist to this classic dish. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try:

– Meat: If you don’t have access to ground elk meat, you can use ground beef or pork as an alternative. However, keep in mind the taste and texture may differ from the original elk meatloaf recipe.

– Breadcrumbs: Instead of using dry bread crumbs, you can experiment with different types of breading for a distinctive flavor. Crushed crackers, cornflakes or even panko bread crumbs would work great in this recipe.

– Sauces: While ketchup is a classic ingredient in meatloaf, feel free to substitute it with tomato sauce, BBQ sauce or mustard. Don’t hesitate to mix and match until you find a combination that suits your tastes.

– Vegetables: You can always mix in some extra vegetables to make this elk meatloaf recipe healthier or just more flavorful. Shredded carrots, chopped celery or grated zucchini are excellent options. You could also swap out the onion for a different type of allium-like shallots or green onions.

– Cheese and Olives: For an added layer of flavor, try incorporating some chopped olives and feta cheese into your elk meatloaf mixture. It will give it that Mediterranean flair that is sure to impress.

No matter which variation you choose, remember it’s all about experimentation and finding what works best for you. So don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

Serving and Pairing

As an elk meatloaf enthusiast, I can attest that this dish is versatile and pairs well with a variety of side dishes. To highlight the unique flavors of the elk meatloaf, I recommend serving it with vegetables and grains that complement rather than overwhelm its subtle gamey taste.

Some of my favorite sides to pair with elk meatloaf include roasted vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and green beans. The sweetness of the roasted vegetables will counterbalance the richness of the meatloaf, while the variety of textures will make for a balanced meal.

For a more hearty meal, pairing the elk meatloaf with mashed potatoes or brown rice is an excellent choice. The starch serves as a great foundation to soak up all the savory gravy or sauce that comes naturally with the dish.

To elevate your elk meatloaf experience, consider topping it off with caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms. The sweetness from onions will complement the savory flavors in the meatloaf while furthers some umami taste. Meanwhile, mushrooms provide earthy undertones that go along with its gamey flavor gracefully.

And finally, there is nothing like bread to bring technicality to your meal; some thinly sliced baguette toasts might just do the trick! Slathered some garlic butter, these crispy toasts are guaranteed to work wonders alongside your piping hot elk meatloaf on a cold winter evening!

Whether you opt for any or all these sides, make sure to generously slather some ketchup over your meatloaf if you love tangy and sweet flavors. Combine it with some homemade mashed potatoes or casseroles layered with cheese or crispy bacon on top for a delicious, home-style dinner that’s both comforting and indulgent.

And for those who get teetotal around their meals or loves spicy, serrano pepper hot sauce works wonders too!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

One of the great things about this elk meatloaf recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored for later. This makes it a fantastic option for meal prepping or for those busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

To make this recipe ahead of time, simply prepare the meatloaf as directed and then cover it tightly with plastic wrap before placing it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to two days in the fridge, giving you plenty of time to prepare other dishes or attend to other tasks.

When you’re ready to bake the meatloaf, simply remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. This will ensure that the meatloaf cooks evenly and stays juicy inside.

If you have any leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat the meatloaf, simply slice off a portion and heat it in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

Keep in mind that elk meat has less fat than beef, so reheating can dry out the meat if not done properly. Therefore, I recommend reheating sliced portions with some flavorful sauce or gravy, which will help to retain moisture and enhance taste.

Overall, this elk meatloaf is a great recipe to make ahead of time and have on hand as a quick and easy meal option throughout the week.

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to preparing elk meatloaf, there are certain tips that can help you achieve the perfect results. First of all, make sure you use ground elk that is fresh and 90% lean or greater. Avoid using frozen meat as this can affect the texture of the loaf. Secondly, if you find the flavor of elk to be too strong, consider blending it with ground beef or pork to dilute its taste.

It is essential to mix all the ingredients well, but avoid overmixing as this can lead to a tough and dry meatloaf. Use your hands or a large spoon to gently combine all the ingredients until they are just combined. Another tip for a moist and rich flavor is to add chopped olives, which not only add flavor but also keep the meat juicy.

As with most meatloaf recipes, you want to let the elk meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing it so that all the juices can redistribute throughout the loaf. When baking the meatloaf, keep an eye on it after 45 minutes, as overcooked elk meatloaf can become very dry and unappetizing. To avoid this, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the loaf to ensure it reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lastly, let your creative juices flow with variations in sauce flavors or adding new spices such as rosemary or thyme according to your preferences. The texture will feel more varied by simply adding different textures such as nuts or raisins, even vegetables like peppers or carrots could enhance the taste brilliantly.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to create a perfectly moist and flavorful elk meatloaf every time you make it!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this elk meatloaf recipe is an absolute must-try for anyone who enjoys wild game and is looking for a delicious and easy-to-make meal. With a perfect blend of ground elk and pork, coupled with the flavorful combination of ketchup, dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and other ingredients, this meatloaf is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this recipe is easy enough to follow but impresses with its incredible flavor. You can also customize the recipe to suit your preferences by substituting or adding different ingredients.

In summary, give this recipe a try and you won’t be disappointed. Not only will it satisfy your hunger, but it may also make you a culinary explorer excited to explore more wild game recipes. Remember to share with your friends and family so they can experience the deliciousness of this elk meatloaf recipe as well.

Elk Meatloaf

Elk Meatloaf Recipe

This recipe was created by Executive Chef Michael Callahan for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital for our Alaska Native (Yupic Eskimo) Patients. We substitute Wild Caribou whenever available. Please feel free to share this recipe with credit given.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 1 meatloaf
Calories 331.6 kcal


  • 1 lb ground elk
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 2 slices whole grain bread, crust removed, dried & cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Combine 1st ten ingredients, mix well and place into a loaf pan (lining the bottom of your loaf pan with bread slices will soak up excess fat.).
  • Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the meatloaf.
  • Bake for about 90 minutes or internal temperature reaches 165°.
  • Note: Game meats are notoriously low in fat. Using the ground pork will help make a moister meatloaf.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 187gCalories: 331.6kcalCarbohydrates: 24.9gProtein: 22.6gFat: 15.6gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 93.4mgSodium: 593.3mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 20.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Elk, Meat, Meatloaf, Wild Game
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