Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cast Iron Skillets and Elk Burgers.

The last time I had made Elk Burgers was on July 4, 2011 and that was on the grill outside. Here I was again planning to make them for dinner, but Roy was going to be home late and I wanted them cooked up hot and fresh for him. While I would have liked to grill them again, I had no intention of standing outside in the dark, with a flashlight, flipping burgers.

I certainly didn't want them done up in the oven; just wouldn't get the caramelization that we liked, so the stove top was my last option. Stove top burgers require the ultimate in a skillet...the cast iron skillet. These little beauties cook evenly, retain high heat and last forever if taken cared of properly. I have had my skillets for over 25 years and they're still going strong.

Cast iron skillets do not come preseasoned, so prepare to do this before any attempt at cooking in them. Set the temperature on your oven to 450F, give the inside of the skillet a light coating of vegetable oil and leave it in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the skillet cool down. Hold on though, you're not done yet; repeat this process two more times. Why? The baked on oil is sealing up pores in the skillet and developing its own nonstick surface.

Every time you use your seasoned skillet, clean up is basically hot water and paper towels. Using soapy water, steel wool pads or scrubbing pads will just take off that seasoned coating and allow rust to form in the skillet. Clean up with hot water, use paper towels to scrape off any stuck food bits, dry thoroughly and then smear on a light coating of oil with a paper towel. When storing, place a paper towel inside the skillet to keep dust particles from sticking to the coating.  I might be redundant, but paper towels are a best friend for your cast iron skillets.

Time to make some Elk Burgers...

Cast Iron Skillet Elk Burgers


3/4 lb ground Elk meat
1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp each sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder and chili powder
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium red onion, cut into slivers
1 large green bell pepper, cut into slivers


In a medium bowl, mix together the Elk, ground beef, tomatoes and seasonings. Form 4 patties which will be one inch thick.

On medium-high heat, melt butter in skillet and put in the onion and bell peppers slivers. Place the patties on top of the vegetables. Cook for 12 minutes on one side, lift up burger, mix vegetables up underneath and flip uncooked side of burger down on vegetables. Do this for each burger and continue to cook for another 12 minutes each. This will allow the vegetables and the meat to caramelize, and the meat will be cooked well, but still juicy.

Remove to plate and let rest 5 minutes before putting on buns. Serve with lettuce, cheese and condiments if desired.

Makes 4 burgers.

Mary Cokenour