Cooking On A Budget: Elk Meatloaf by Michael Hughes

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Elk Meatloaf by Michael Hughes


It all started with a simple question posed to me on my Facebook food page, Cooking On A Budget. One of my supporters of the page Michael Hughes had read my recipe for Shrimp with Sherry Cream Sauce and was curious about cooking wine versus Sherry. I was emphatic about never buying cooking wine from a grocery store and let him know I was shuddering at the thought!

His reply was priceless:
"Not sure where you are, but I felt the "shudder" here in Colorado. Thank you for the response. I love to cook, bake and BBQ. I have won some contests and am a judge for the KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society). I have my own cooking page and I sew also. And I can drive a TRUCK!! Make someone a nice little wife. LOL  I have even had recipes published in cookbooks. :(Ego running wild!):

I am experimenting with cooking with elk recently. Our ranch has an abundance of the creatures. My favorite so far is Elk Meatloaf. I love learning about cooking and enjoy experimenting. I like to combine recipes and create my own stuff. My philosophy for cooking is: "If it is all gone by the time it is done - then it must have been good." I have a fantasy restaurant I would love to try. A place where people stop by just to see what I am cooking for supper that day." 

That exchange along with learning that he was and is big into the BBQ circuit, has his own Facebook page himself  where he posts his own recipes, is a truck driver, an avid sewer who loves to make children's clothes as a way for physical therapy intrigued me greatly. 

Over a couple of days we chatted on Facebook and I asked him if he would like to guest post here. He agreed but insisted he did not want any fan fare or credit. However, all the credit for the recipe creation is indeed his.

I also liked the fact that because he likes to cook and bake and that in his neighborhood he is known as "The Muffin Man". So he's a baker and he shares? Wouldn't we all love to have someone like this in our neighborhood! Actually he reminds me of my Dad in that way. My father had become quite the baker himself and made fresh bread almost on a daily basis. He readily shared his bread and other goodies in his neighborhood as Michael does in his in Colorado.

Some of Michael's specialties include Smoked Chili and a Mexicali Four Cheese Soup. And he loves to experiment with other cuisines and cook with wild game. Elk is his latest passion and he wants to bring as much flavor into the dish as possible - not to mask the Elk, but rather enhance the flavor. That is his approach to all the game meats he's cooked with. Not overly fond of the gamey taste from animals in the wild (especially deer) he feels he has learned a secret about that and believes that the gaminess can come from the animals diet and also the animal not being dressed properly during butchering.

His next project to tackle is cooking with wild turkey and coming up with flavorful recipes and cooking methods to get the best out of the bird.

Here is the recipe and directions for elk meat loaf:

Elk, as in most wild game, tends to have a bit of a "gamey" taste to it. Not so much for elk, if it is processed and dressed immediately. In an effort to not "mask" or "hide" the uniqueness and flavor of wild game, I came up ...with some ways to enhance it. (That makes a lot of sense). Because elk is so lean, it tends to dry our quickly when cooked. So I add a little hamburger to this recipe and a dab of olive oil to maintain a little moisture.


  1. Be sure to 'finely chop' onion. Otherwise it can be a bit overbearing and distracting to flavor.
  2. Mix all ingredients well before adding meat. It is a lot easier to stir a large bowl of liquids and spices first. That way you only have to add and mix meat one time. Rather than every time you add something.
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground elk meat
  • 1 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce (I sometimes will use diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs (I have used a small box of regular stuffing mix also)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add tomato sauce. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Press into a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.

Bake uncovered about 70 minutes.

Here is a further note from Michael after the post was published:

+Patty Anderson I can not post a regular comment for some reason. But for those interested in trying this with deer here is a suggestion. First: store in the fridge overnight to let the spices "cure" a bit. Also, you may consider adding a half tablespoon more of the Apple Cider Vinegar and the Dijon Mustard. I would love to hear how it goes.

Thank you Patty. This was a pleasure and a lot of fun. My way to share with others and keep the food myself. LOL

To follow along with Michael and his cooking and sewing adventures visit him on Facebook:

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