[Lindsey Bartosh]

One of the main perks of harvesting wild game is the opportunity to butcher and process meat yourself. I consider the experience of processing the animal as essential to the memory making process as the actual hunting. Many times, my family and friends gather as a group to butcher, taking time during the process to debrief the hunt, reminisce about previous outings, and share new techniques for butchering, processing, and preparing wild game. Sometimes butchering is a solo exercise, and the time is spent meditating and being present with the task at hand. Either way, this part of the hunting process feeds my soul.

Butchering is also practical: it provides opportunity to clean as much or as little fat from your cuts, decide how different cuts are made, and to package the meat so it will last. Each butchering session has a unique finale. Sometimes a lot of meat is set aside for grinding projects like soups, stews, meatballs, chilis, and burgers. Other times, roasts seem to steal the show. The butchering journey decides the forecast for the upcoming year’s meals.

One of my favorite ways to process steaks from elk is to leave them in larger chunks. I like to jacket the outside of the meat with a healthy coating of Montreal steak seasoning and then quickly caramelize the outside. After letting the steak reach the desired “doneness,” which in my case is typically medium-rare, I thinly slice the steak and to use it in a variety of dishes. Thin sliced elk steak is excellent on sandwiches, salads, over rice or risotto, and especially on pizza. 

Elk Steak Flatbread Pizza

Flatbread Dough Ingredients

3/4 cup warm water 

1 and 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

Caramelized Onions Ingredients

1 large onion

2 tablespoons olive oil (more if desired)

2 teaspoons salt (more if desired)

Optional: teaspoon of sugar

Pizza Toppings Ingredients

1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds of elk steak (your choice of cut, I used a flat iron)

1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup arugula

1 cup cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese

3/4 cup goat cheese 



1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. To activate your dry yeast, mix the yeast with the teaspoon of sugar.  Pour the 3/4 cup of warm water over the mixture and allow the yeast to foam. This will take about ten minutes.  

3. Add two cups of flour and the salt to the mixing stand bowl.  Whisk together and create a well in the center of the flour. Once the yeast has foamed, add the yeast and olive oil to the flour and mix with a dough hook. Allow the dough to knead for about five minutes. If it is dry and crumbly, add more water or oil. If it is too wet, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. 

4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area for one hour.


1. Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. 

2. Thinly slice the onions; add onions to the pan and allow to cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Sprinkle the onions with salt and allow to continue to cook for up to thirty minutes more, stirring often. If desired, this process can be enhanced with the addition of sugar or vinegar.  Take care to not let the onions dry out or they will burn.

4. To reduce the balsamic vinegar, add a cup of vinegar to a small saucepan. Bring the vinegar to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir often and let vinegar reduce by half, which can take up to ten minutes. If you don’t want to make your own balsamic glaze, the grocery store usually sells a glaze in the same area as the vinegar—I think it’s a great substitution! 

5. To cook the elk steak, season with Montreal steak seasoning and cook in pan over medium high heat.  Cook each side for about four minutes, depending on how you would like the meat done, and then cover with a tent foil and allow to rest for five minutes. Thinly slice.

Assemble pizza

1. Once the dough is doubled, it’s time to cook it. Over a hot griddle (or outdoor grill), grill pizza dough over medium high heat for one minute per side. The pizza dough should puff up slightly and brown just a bit. 

2. Top flatbread pizza with cheese, arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and steak. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

3. Enjoy! 

Lindsey Bartosh, an eighth-generation Moab girl, loves hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, writing, photography and working on her website www.huntingandcooking.com.