The chuck roast cut comes from the upper shoulder of an animal. Since elk use their shoulders on a fairly regular basis, the muscle sees lots of activity. The result can be a tougher cut of meat with a lot more connective tissue than backstrap or sirloin roasts and steaks.
Braising is a long, slow cooking process done in a high-moisture environment. The method is perfect for breaking down the connective tissue in your chuck roast. The result? What started as a tough cut of meat finishes as a fall-apart tender roast. Combine that with the added flavors of beer and slow-cooked onions and you have a winning recipe that everyone will enjoy.
I like to do my braising in a cast iron dutch oven. This one has a tight-fitting lid that does an outstanding job of retaining the moisture over a long cook time. If your lid doesn’t fit that well, cover the pan tightly with foil, then put the lid on.
1.5 to 2 pound elk chuck roast
3 or 4 large yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Two 12 ounce cans of your favorite beer
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt, devided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
Any time you cook meat with a long, moist method like braising, the flavor benefits greatly from a good sear to start the process. Begin with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in your dutch oven over medium-high heat on your stovetop. Pat the roast dry on both sides, then season with one tablespoon of salt and pepper. Lightly dust with the flour. Sear the roast for 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t move it around, let it brown and form a nice crust.
Once your roast is well browned, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Add a bit more oil, if necessary, and add the onions to the pot. Add the remaining tablespoon of salt to the onions and sautee for eight to 10 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften and become translucent.
Pour in the beer and red wine vinegar, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all of the browned bits that are stuck on, lots of flavor there. Add the bay leaf and the elk roast. Cover the pan tightly and place into a 325-degree oven for 3 to 3.5 hours.
I plate the roast alongside mashed potatoes, then spoon the roasted onion sauce over both.
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