Coffee Crusted Elk Backstrap

Coffee Crusted Elk Backstrap

Want to have a date night on the town, but without the town? This coffee crusted wild game back strap with fried onion shoestrings makes for the perfect date night without having to leave the house. It presents beautifully, with the golden fried onion shoestrings piled high on a perfectly cooked steak and drizzled with a rustic, indulgent stout sauce. The only aspect better than the presentation is the taste!

Coffee grounds not only add a wonderful acidic element to a steak rub, they also act as a meat tenderizer. The coffee and mushroom rub creates a beautiful crust on the wild game back strap steaks and also helps seal in moisture, resulting in a delicate, juicy steak. The subtle grilled flavor from the coffee grinds also compliment the rich, savory flavor of the molasses stout sauce.

So, set the table because it’s date night!

Servings: 2 servings - Prep time: 30minutes - Cooking time: 40minutes


Ingredients for Fried Onion Shoestrings

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup flour

Tablespoon salt

½ Tablespoon cayenne

Black pepper to taste

3 cups frying oil (vegetable, avocado, canola)

Ingredients for Stout Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter

1 medium shallot, minced

12oz stout beer

2 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Ingredients for Coffee Crusted Steaks

4 elk backstrap steaks, about 2 inches thick each

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms

2 ounces ground coffee

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon oregano

2 -3 Tablespoons fresh sage, minced


1. Start with preparing your fried onion shoestrings. Thinly slice the onions. If you can use a mandolin to get a fine slice that is easiest, but you can just cut thinly with a sharp knife.

2. Be sure to pull the onion slices apart and submerge completely in buttermilk. Let sit for at least one hour.

3. In a large ceramic Dutch oven or deep fryer, heat a couple cups of a high temperature frying oil, such as avocado, canola, or vegetable, to 375 degrees.

4. In a shallow bowl, mix a cup of flour, tablespoon of salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and ½ tablespoon of cayenne.

5. Shake the excess buttermilk from the onion strings and coat completely in flour mixture. Shake excess flour from onion strings and immediately add to hot oil. Work in small batches to keep the oil temperature from dropping.

6. Fry the onion shoestrings for one to two minutes, until the onions are a golden brown. Keep the onions separated from each other for optimal crispiness.

7. Remove onion batch from oil and place on paper-towels to drain some of the oil off. Repeat with rest of onions.

8. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, add two tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted add a finely diced medium sized shallot. Cook for five minutes, until the shallot is soft.

9. Add a bottle of stout beer, two tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of molasses, and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer and reduce the liquid down by half, which should take fifteen to twenty minutes.

10. Cut your wild game backstrap into two-inch-thick steaks. Let the steaks sit out at room temperature for about thirty minutes before cooking.

11. While the steaks are coming to room temperature, prepare the coffee coating. In a spice blender or coffee grinder, mince up the one ounce of dried porcini mushrooms.

12. Add the ground porcini mushrooms to a bowl along with 2 ounces of ground coffee, one tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of salt, and the dried oregano. Mix everything together.

13. Coat the wild game back strap steaks completely in the coffee and mushroom mixture.

14. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is heated, about two minutes, add the steaks to the hot pan.

15. For a medium rare steak, cook the steak for six to seven minutes per side to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

16. Let the steaks rest for five minutes before serving. To plate, pile a heaping serving of fried onion shoestrings on top of the coffee and mushroom crusted steak. Drizzle with the stout sauce and top with minced fresh sage.

Article and photo courtesy of Harvesting Nature. Click here to subscribe to the quarterly Harvesting Nature magazine, And Click here to enjoy the latest episode of the wild fish and game podcast.

Photo courtesy of Harvesting Nature.

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