Moose Steak with Morel Gravy
A moose is more than enough to feed the three or four households in my family for a winter and when one of us gets one, we generally divide it between our freezers and share it freely. I recently did a bit of a jerk move and absconded with the last package of steak, which I cooked, ate, and savoured all by myself. It was delicious and this is how I made it.
When I first started cooking for a living, at a placer mine over a decade ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never cooked much more than tuna melts and nachos in a college dorm. One thing I learned quickly was that I had to get the meat right. I was cooking for a meat and potatoes crowd, they weren't going to complain about overcooked pasta or bottled salad dressing, but the meat had to be right. I remember the first roast I cooked, it wasn't until I had it thawed and on the counter that I realized I didn't have a clue what the next step was. Thank god for the internet! In the intervening years I have cooked more roasts, steaks, and chops than I care to consider, and I'm happy to report that I've gotten got quite good at it. I don't eat much meat now, which makes me even more grateful that I know how to get it right when it counts.
There is nothing, NOTHING, like a good steak. Many people don't think of wild game when they picture their ideal steak, they picture a big marbled slab of beef, but I'm making a pitch for moose meat. It's lean, rich, and if you treat it right, perfectly juicy. If a moose is healthy and the meat is well taken care of and aged properly, the flavour is perfect and doesn't need much in the way of seasoning.
Your choice of salt will be important, as it's going to be doing the heavy lifting, flavour wise. You will want to choose a salt with large crystals or flakes, finer salt will absorb too quickly and result in a salty steak. Grey sea salt is my go-to salt, it's got large crumbly crystals and a high moisture content. If you don't have any you can buy some on this site! Alternately, you should be able to find large kosher salt at your local grocery store and it will work just as well. I season steaks the day before, usually 24 hours. Any good cook will tell you that timing of salting is key, either do it well in advance (1 hour or more) or immediately before cooking. Same goes for marinating, give it a day or don't bother.
The next most important consideration is temperature, it is key that your steak come to room temperature before cooking. This allows the meat to cook evenly and gives you precise control over the doneness. I have cooked a lot of steaks in my life and when I started cooking them this way I started getting rave reviews. I was using the same marinade I always had but suddenly I was serving a much, much better steak. Temperature is also important for the cooking step, whether on a bbq or in a pan, get it nice and hot before you get the meat involved. There are other ways to cook a steak, but in my opinion the easiest and fastest is to sear it and rest it.
I don't often serve steak with a starch, it's such a rich mouth watering experience that I don't want to blunt it with heavy potatoes or bland rice, a salad or roasted vegetables are perfectly sufficient accompaniments. I recommend pairing your moose with a rich full bodied red wine, this Fat Bastard Syrah is a good choice at a reasonable price and available in Yukon liquor stores.
That's my two cents on cooking a steak, I'd love to hear from anyone who has a favourite moose recipe or hot tip!