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Elk liver?

So, I purchased some frozen elk liver from a local organic producer. I let it defrost slowly in the refrigerator. I marinated it in a melange of red wine, balsamic, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme, for about 60-90 minutes. I sauteed it in a butter/olive oil mix to medium rare. The flavour was good, about between beef liver and baby beef liver (not gamey at all). My problem was the texture. It was tougher than I anticipated, like old beef liver without the strong flavour. This wasn't a problem for me, but I want to improve this for when/if I serve it to guests. Suggestions?

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  1. If the seller can't provide good information, I'd look to a different seller.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mpalmer6c

      Erm, not terribly helpful, or fair to the vendor. I won't see the vendor until next week, at least, and figured that someone here like the Alaskan chick (or whatever her handle) could help.

    2. That's a tough one (pun intended). I've not dealt with frozen liver as we prefer it very fresh but I wonder if the marinating made a difference - maybe don't marinate it quite so long or use less wine/vinegar as liver is fairly delicate.

      1. I haven't tried the Elk Liver, but my brother-in-law brought over some Elk steaks which were very tender and delicious. He marinated it in a Rasberry Chipotle mix and it really complimented well.

        1. Ah! AlaskaChick responds to my call! That's super-hero-like! Thanks.

          So, about the marinading. That's about the length of time (~60min) that I do my baby beef or calf's liver, and I've never had a problem, so I didn't think that the time might be a problem. I still have some raw liver left that I'll be doing this evening, so I'll experiment, and report back.

          1. Not to reflect poorly on a product that I haven't tried and that I don't have in front of me.....but I had the same reaction to some frozen lamb liver that I bought at the farmers' market and sauteed with onions (without marinating). What struck me was that "toughness" you describe, even though the flavor was pretty good.

            Since I have some leftover pieces (frozen), what I'm going to try is shortening the cooking time (so the inside is on the less-cooked side of medium-rare), having a protective coat of flour or egg wash/flour, and decreasing the cooking temperature slightly.

            If you try any of these methods with success, please report back!

            1. So, I cooked the last of the liver last night. The marinade was basically the same, but there was more vinegar and less wine; I used the last of my balsamic, so suplemented with white wine vinegar (both 6% acetic acid); no salt (oversight). In cooking, it was just a titch less tha medium rare, actually just slightly saignante, when I removed it from the pan. It was much better. If there are any biochemists out there, I'm wondering whether it might be the omission of the salt, or just the slightly shorter cooking time.

              1. Marinating the Elk is Salt will toughen the liver. Add the salt after.

                1. I`ve been enjoying both elk and bison liver recently. I do freeze it to extend it`s storage life. I don`t use a marinade. I`ve found the texture and toughness almost always related to the age of the animal. The younger, the better. Trimming and slicing thin can help.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: torontovore

                    agree. i wouldn't use an acidic marinade on elk liver unless i knew it was a very young animal. if i did not know the age of the animal for sure, i'd just marinate the liver in milk before cooking (cook rarer than for conventional beef liver), and cook a sauce separately, or just dress with butter, onion/shallot, wild mushrooms, herbs etc.