Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
Elk are not only fun to hunt, but they taste delicious. Many people enjoy the taste of elk and the abundance of meat they can supply, but some take this a step further and process the organs of an elk to eat. But can you really eat an elk liver?
Elk liver is not only edible, but it is extremely healthy. In addition to the heart of an animal, the liver is one of the most nutrient-rich parts a person can eat. It contains essential vitamins and nutrients such as A, B, folate, iron, and copper.
But because the liver has a very unique and pungent flavor, it is often overlooked and thrown away when harvesting an elk. Unlike the heart (which has a sweet and mild flavor), the liver requires an acquired taste and a little more preparation in order to cook and enjoy.
Continue reading to learn more about elk liver, its health benefits, and how to turn it into an amazing dish!
How Do You Cut Elk Liver?
Harvesting the liver of an elk is generally done when removing all other internal organs after an elk is killed. This should be done as quickly as possible to avoid any spoilage of the organs or meat, which begins immediately after the animal dies.
Because the liver is such a large organ, it is easily recognizable and does not need much cutting or work in order to remove. Taking your knife, simply cut around the top and bottom of the liver in order to free any connections.
Take your time and be careful, as you do not want to accidentally cut any nearby organs that could spill bile, urine, or feces onto your liver or meat.
How Do You Clean Liver Before Cooking?
Once the liver is removed from the elk, the most important part of cooking is proper preparation. The function of the liver is to filter blood, so this organ is going to contain a lot of it. To get the best possible taste from the liver, you must try to remove as much of this blood as possible over the course of a day or two.
To do this, simply cut the liver into three or four large chunks. This gives each piece more surface area and makes it easier to work with. Place these chunks in a large bowl and soak them in salt water for 24 to 48 hours.
Halfway through the process, drain the water and refill with fresh water. This process will slowly remove all of the leftover blood from inside the pieces of the liver.
For even better results, you can also soak the liver in milk. This has the same effect as salt water, but it also seems to do a better job pulling out some pungent flavor profile. If you are new to eating liver and want the best results, don’t be afraid of soaking it in milk for up to 48 hours.
How Do You Cook Elk Liver?
One of the best ways to cook elk liver after it has been soaked is to fry it. After rinsing off the salt water or milk, pat it dry and cut the liver into smaller pieces. Combine some pepper, flour, and paprika and coat the pieces. While doing that, fry some bacon in a hot pan to get some grease.
Once the bacon is done and your hot grease is ready, fry up the pieces of liver. Many people also love to throw in a chopped onion with the liver, as it goes extremely well with the taste. Be careful not to overcook the liver, but remove it from the pan once it is cooked through.
Can You Eat Elk Liver Raw?
In some places, it is often tradition to remove the liver from an animal you kill and eat it raw. While this can be ok, it is not recommended as this will give the most pungent flavor profile and could potentially contain bacteria or parasites that need to be killed with heat from the cooking process.
With that being said, eating raw liver can be done.
Another downside to eating raw liver is that it is much tougher and harder to chew. Combined with a stronger taste, this can make it difficult to eat if you are not accustomed to eating liver.
While eating raw elk liver is ok, it still is recommended that you take the time to properly prepare and cook it for a better overall experience eating it.
Is It Safe to Eat Raw Elk?
Most people will recommend that you don’t eat elk raw. While it might not hurt you, raw elk could potentially contain certain diseases or bacteria that can be more easily passed to a human if the meat is eaten raw.
When cooked, the heat from the cooking process can kill this bacteria or any parasites, making it much safer to eat.
Elk are among the most popular wild game animal to be eaten, but the liver always tends to get overlooked. While it does have a distinct taste, it can be the most healthy part of the animal and, when prepared correctly, extremely delicious no matter how picky of an eater you might be!
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.