Grilled Elk Steaks with Caramelized Onion Bacon Bourbon Jam

Try this addictive jam to liven up your grilled wild game steaks

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
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We eat a lot of wild game steaks around here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a well-grilled steak on its own. But when you eat them on a regular basis, it’s always nice to find different sauces and toppings to change up the flavor from time to time. 

This bacon onion jam is the perfect combination of sweet and salty and is great on any grilled wild game.

This bourbon bacon onion jam is one of our favorites. It’s smoky, a little sweet, and a bit salty from the bacon with a nice bourbon finish. It’s so good that I could eat it with a spoon straight from the bowl or slathered over a hot-out-of-the-oven biscuit. If you enjoy a bit of heat in your food, add the optional diced jalapeño peppers to the jam.

You can cook the bacon onion jam up to a few days in advance. Just keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, then gently heat it in a saucepan before you are ready to add it to the steaks. 

We used elk top round steaks this time, but this sauce works well on any grilled game meat, including any type of venison, wild pork, or even grilled upland birds or small game.

Slice your elk or other wild game steaks to your desired thickness and grill once the bacon jam is ready to eat.

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2 pounds of elk steaks, about 1 inch thick

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin


Bacon Bourbon Onion Jam

1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large yellow onions, sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (optional)

1/4 cup Evan Williams bourbon, plus 1 tablespoon

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes


Cooking Instructions

Since the onion jam takes longer to prepare than the elk steaks, I prefer to make it first. In fact, I’ll often make it a day or two in advance if I know time will be tight. It will keep for a week or so in the refrigerator. 

Start by rendering the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Move the cooked bacon to a paper-lined plate, leaving the drippings in the skillet.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp.

Add the sliced onions and sprinkle on the salt. Cook, over medium heat, for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and have started to turn a golden brown. 

Brown the onions in the bacon drippings, then add the bourbon and other ingredients.

Add the bourbon, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Bring the mixture to a light boil. Stir in the heavy cream, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Return the bacon to the skillet and stir to blend. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the jam is a deep mahogany color and the onions have broken down into a paste. 

Cook the jam to a deep mahogany color.

Turn off the heat and stir in the reserved tablespoon of Evan Williams bourbon. Cover to keep warm while the elk steaks grill. 

Preheat your Traeger grill to 350 degrees. Season both sides of the steaks well with a mixture of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Grill the steaks for 3 to 5 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Top each steak with a generous spoonful of bourbon bacon onion jam just before serving.

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