Don’t be intimidated by elk meat. Yes, it is leaner and contains less fat, but offers more protein and iron than beef. Not to mention it’s sustainable! We were provided this elk meat from our uncle Brian, and couldn’t resist making meatballs out of it! Elk meatballs are the perfect appetizer for a gathering, a good protein for your pasta, or why not an elk meatball sandwich. Try pairing this dish with one of our all time favorite cocktails, Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned.

how to make elk meatballs


  • ~ 2 lbs elk meat, ground
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 C breadcrumbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 t cayenne
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 T butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 C green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C celery, finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1 T tabasco sauce
  • 1 T worcestershire sauce
  • 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 C ketchup
elk meatballs


Heat a large medium size pot on medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt before adding the white onions, green onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. Allow ingredients to cook down for around seven minutes; stirring occasionally. Then add the tabasco and worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Next add the cayenne, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Allow to cook for an additional five minutes. Lastly, add the evaporated milk and ketchup; turn heat to low. And cook for several more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, remove the bay leaves, and allow it to cool to room temperature. 

Set the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet. In a large mixing bowl add the elk meat, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, and cooked vegetable mixture. Mix by hand until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into one inch balls, and place on the baking sheet. Cook the meatballs for around 30 minutes. Check halfway through and rotate / flip the balls if one side is browning more than the other. 

Serve over pasta, as an appetizer, or even in a sandwich. Buon Appetito! 

notes for elk meatballs

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If you know us well, then you know we love our hot sauces! Obviously, we had to add some to the elk meatball recipe to give a little kick. We used tabasco in this dish, but feel free to substitute with your favorite hot sauce.

elk meatballs


Hi there, 
We are Elise and Evan and we're so glad you are here! Cheffing up tasty bites and sips is our love language and we are very happy to share these recipes with you. We both have valuable restaurant experience and have learned a thing or two about making tasty bites and sips. Through Carnelian Cooks we are sharing all of our tips and tricks! Please provide a comment or feedback below on any recipes that you give a try. 

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