Wondering how to cook elk? Make my delicious ground elk meatloaf recipe! This 2-lb meatloaf made with elk has no bread crumbs and can be made gluten free. You’ll love how easy this wild game recipe is. It’s perfect for hunting season or whenever you have a lot of elk in the freezer. Everyone will want the recipe for this unique combination of meatloaf meat!
Want some homecooking? This healthy elk meatloaf recipe is pure comfort food.
Elk is a nutritious lean protein that can be used in place of lean beef in recipes. Here, I’ve taken my basic meatloaf recipe, typically half beef and half pork, and turned it into an elk burger meatloaf.
The ground pork keeps the elk meat loaf from becoming too dry. Meanwhile, the elk keeps the meatloaf from becoming too fatty. Using all fatty meat makes a meatloaf that shrinks a lot and is too greasy, IMVHO.
The combination of elk and pork, however, produces meatloaf perfection. You’ll wonder why you were ever cooking ground elk any other way. YUM.
If you want to kick up the flavor even more, you have lots of options. Use your favorite ground sausage instead of ground pork. Throw in some green chili, bacon, or Worcestershire sauce.
You can even try making a smoked elk meatloaf. It's all up to you!
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One generous serving of elk meatloaf has 427 calories, 5.5 grams net carbs, and 34 grams protein. This no dairy recipe will fit most low carb diets.
What are the benefits of elk meatloaf? Here are a few reasons to love this recipe:
- Lean protein: Elk is a red meat that is considered a lean protein. The exact amount of fat and saturated fat in elk varies depending on the leanness of your meat. My nutrition calculator says 4 ounces of ground elk game meat has 25g protein, 10g total fat, and 3.9g saturated fat.
- No gamey taste: Unlike with some other game meats, we've found there’s usually little to no unpleasantly gamey flavor with elk. (The gamey taste can depend on how the elk was prepared, so it’s possible to get some elk with stronger flavors.)
- Whole food minerals: Elk is a rich source of many essential minerals, including zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Between the high-quality protein and highly bioavailable minerals, I’d consider elk to be a nutritious choice.
- Gluten free: If you swap the soy sauce in this recipe for GF coconut aminos, and use GF ketchup, you’ve got a Paleo and gluten free elk meatloaf. We’re using almond flour as a binder instead of breadcrumbs. GF oats, quinoa, and rice are some other gluten-free alternatives to breadcrumbs.
- Tasty: Meatloaf is yummy comfort food, and elk meatloaf doubly so. I hope you get a chance to try it!
Here’s what you need to make elk meatloaf:
- Ground elk meat (I used 90% lean)
- Ground pork meat
- Large eggs
- Finely ground almond flour
- Chopped onion
- Reduced-sodium soy sauce
- Dried parsley
- Dried basil
- Tomato paste (double-concentrated)
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking oil spray
- Ketchup (preferably low sugar or no sugar added)
If you don’t have a hunter in the family, and can’t find elk locally, try U.S. Wellness Meats. We’ve been really happy with the quality of the grass-fed and pasture-raised meats they offer. The elk is no exception.
I absolutely love this concentrated tomato paste in a tube. It stays fresh in the fridge much longer than canned tomato paste, so I never accidentally let some go bad. It’s a pretty good deal considering it’s double concentrated and helps prevent food waste in my kitchen.
This veggie ketchup with no sugar added is pretty much my favorite ketchup of all time. I highly recommend it as a topping for this elk meatloaf recipe.
To make meatloaf with elk, you’ll need a good knife, large metal roasting pan, meat thermometer, and a silicone pastry brush for the topping. I don’t recommend using a baking sheet without a rim for the meatloaf. The rim catches juices and fats that come off the meatloaf, preventing a mess in your oven.
🔪 How to Make Elk Meatloaf
Let's talk about how to cook elk meatloaf! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C). Spray a metal roasting pan with cooking oil spray.
Put the elk, pork, eggs, almond flour, chopped onion, soy sauce, basil, parsley, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together well with clean hands.
Shape the meat mixture into a large loaf in the prepared roasting pan. You want it to be about 8.5-inches long and 1-1.25 inches tall (21.6 cm long and 2.54-3.2 cm tall). Making your loaf about this size helps ensure the cooking times will be just right.
Put the meatloaf on an oven rack about ⅓ of the way from the top of the oven. It’s time to bake meatloaf!
️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
What temperature do you cook elk meatloaf? Elk meatloaf should bake for a total of 55-60 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C). Brush the ketchup all over the top and sides of the meatloaf after 50 minutes of baking.
What temp should elk meatloaf be cooked to? The safe temperature for ground elk is 160F (71C). If your elk meatloaf hasn’t reached a safe internal temp using a meat thermometer, extend the cooking time by a few more minutes.
One of the reasons I love making big 2-pound meatloaves is the leftovers! Store your cooked elk meatloaf in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Cold elk meatloaf sandwiches, here you come!
What are the best side dishes for meatloaf made with elk? I was feeling the carb-y options the last time I made meatloaf, so I made mashed potatoes and peas.
Here are some other sides for meatloaf:
- Air Fryer Garlic Bread
- Air Fryer Squash
- Garden Salad
- Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Air Fryer Frozen Vegetables
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Elk is a lean protein while ground pork is fatty meat. When we combine the two, we get a nice moderate-calorie entrée.
For a lower calorie meal, I’d go the low carb route and pile on low-oil, non-starchy veggies. Garden salad, roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice, and roasted Brussels sprouts are some of the many veggies you could add to your plate.
For a higher calorie meal, I’d add more carbs to the plate. Mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potato fries, rice, quinoa, and peas are some examples. Many higher carb side dishes also happen to be higher in calories.
Many find that the most filling meals contain a combination of protein and high-volume, low-calorie veggies or fruits. With elk meatloaf, you’re getting an excellent source of protein. Add some veggies to your plate and you’ll have a meal that’s delicious, comforting, and satisfying as well.
For the best results with this recipe, you should bake elk meatloaf uncovered.
Yes, this elk meatloaf freezes beautifully. It’s a great main dish option for meal prepping if you have some extra space in the freezer.
If you like venison, you can use this recipe to make a meatloaf made with deer meat instead of elk. You could also substitute bison for elk.
One serving of this meatloaf has only 5.5 grams net carbs per serving and should fit most very low carb diets. Replace the ketchup with your favorite keto meatloaf topping to lower the carbs even more.
If you don’t care for ketchup, feel free to use BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, or your favorite meatloaf topping. The pumpkin BBQ sauce topping in my Air Fryer Meatloaf recipe is not to be missed!
👩🏻🍳 More Ground Elk Recipes
Want more elk meat recipes? I’ve got you! You can substitute elk for the lean beef in any of your favorite recipes. Try one of these:
You could also try making Elk Meatballs with this Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs recipe.
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
- 1 lb ground elk (I used 90% lean)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup almond flour (finely ground)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil spray
- ¼ cup no added sugar ketchup
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray a metal roasting pan with cooking oil spray.
- Put the elk, pork, eggs, almond flour, chopped onion, soy sauce, parsley, basil, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together well with clean hands.
- Shape the meat mixture into a large loaf in the prepared roasting pan. You want it to be about 8½ inches long and 1-1¼ inches tall (21.6 cm long and 2.54-3.2 cm tall).
- Put the meatloaf on an oven rack about ⅓ of the way from the top of the oven. Bake for 50 minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Brush the ketchup all over the top and sides of the meatloaf and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Check the meatloaf with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached the minimum safe internal temp of 160°F (71°C). Extend the cooking time if needed.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.