Another Day in Poe's Kitchen at The Rattlesnake

Chef Brian Poe shows you the world in the back of the house.

Summer-Winter Swirl: Barbecued Elk Loin with Wild Boar Bacon–Chive Potatoes & Pan-Fried Arugula

The other day I asked the guy I get my rattlesnake from, Lance Applebaum of Fossil Farms in New Jersey, what else he’d recommend on a whim. (His inventory’s so varied you have to wonder if Fossil Farms isn’t a front for Noah’s Ark. Kangaroo, emu, yak, antelope, partridge, turtle, you name it.) 

When he suggested elk, I was surprised, because I associate elk with fall and winter. But then I got to thinking about the challenge of using cold-weather ingredients to spice up a warm-weather dish. And if there’s anything a chef craves, it’s a challenge! With a light sauce to keep the gaminess in check, I could do a twist on summer barbecue, plus sides that would play off the flavors in potato salad. 

The result, currently available at Poe’s Kitchen, has been a big hit right off the bat. Stop by and try it (you can tell your server I sent you myself!)—or, if you’re brave enough to wrestle with one of these,

image from Tahoe Gourmet Market

image from Tahoe Gourmet Market

try it in your own kitchen, then let me know what you think!

Grilled Honey-Glazed Texas Elk Loin with Wild Boar Bacon–&–Chive Whipped Potatoes & Pan-Fried Arugula

Serves about 15

Barbecue Sauce

2 T. butter
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
6 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. ketchup
3 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. honey
1 t. cayenne
1 t. ancho chile powder
1 t. pasilla chile powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. Worcestershire sauce

Sweat onion and garlic in butter. Add tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; remove from heat, puree in a food processor or blender, and cool.

Elk Marinade

1 elk loin
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 c. chopped fresh thyme
1 c. honey
few T. butter, reserved

Mix the first three ingredients together and combine 2 cups of barbecue sauce. Cut elk loin into about 15 7 oz. filets and marinate in mixture for up to 24 hrs.

Wild Boar Bacon–&–Chive Whipped Potatoes

6 potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold),  peeled and quartered
1 t. garlic
1 t. shallots
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. butter
2 t. chopped chives
pinch of nutmeg
water
1/2 lb. of cooked wild boar bacon, chopped into small pieces (equal parts of fried prosciutto and applewood bacon can be substituted)
salt and pepper to taste

While elk is marinating, place potatoes in a pot, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes, then pour off remaining water and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring back to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to steam for an additional 10 minutes. With a wire whip, whip until smooth.

Pan-Fried Arugula

3 t. olive oil
1 t. garlic
1 t. shallots
1 t. finely diced tomatoes
4 c. arugula
splash of white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. butter
pinch of ground coriander

Just before grilling the elk, add the olive oil to a hot sauté pan and give it a few seconds to heat up. Then add the garlic, shallots, and tomatoes; after about 15 seconds, add the arugula and white wine. While keeping the arugula moving constantly, add salt, pepper, butter, and coriander. Remove from heat and reserve.

To complete the dish:

Remove elk from marinade and place on a hot grill, marking each side and seasoning with salt and pepper. Grill no further than medium rare.

At the same time, bring the marinade to a boil in a pan on the grill. Brush some of the marinade on the meat as it cooks. After about 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and incorporate the reserved butter into the sauce to make it shiny. Put the potatoes in the center of the plate, layer the arugula over them, and place the elk chop on top. Spoon the sauce over the elk.

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