Roasted bone marrow has become pretty popular in restaurants over the last several years but have you ever thought of saving your elk bones to roast the marrow? It's definitely worth a try! The tangy pickled mustard seeds are the perfect pairing for rich elk marrow on top of a toasted baguette. As an added bonus, you can save the roasted bones and make stock after you've eaten the marrow!
Why This Recipe Works:
Bone marrow is made up almost entirely of fat. Fatty foods pair well with acidic foods which make this elk bone marrow and pickled mustard seeds a perfect match. The toasted sourdough baguette acts as a vehicle for the rich fatty marrow and the mustard seeds help cut through the fat with their high acid content. This dish is a beautiful combination of flavors and textures that come together for a stunning appetizer!
- Elk Leg Bones: This recipe uses elk leg bones but you can also use moose, beef, or even a large deer if the fat isn't too waxy.
- Bone Saw: A good bone saw is essential for cutting marrow bones. If you're lucky enough to have a meat band saw, use that!
- Cast Iron Roasting Pan: Cast iron roasting/baking pans are a great choice for bone marrow because they hold their heat well which leads to more even cooking. You can also use a cast iron skillet if you don't have a roasting/baking pan.
Step by Step Instructions:
How To Make Pickled Mustard Seeds:
Pickled mustard seeds are so easy to make and add so much flavor and texture to this dish. They have a great mustard flavor but the seeds soak up the brine and take on a caviar-like texture. Once you try them, you're going to want to keep a jar on hand!
Pro Tip: Pickled mustard seeds will last several months in the fridge. They're a fun condiment to have on hand for sandwiches, sausages, steaks, charcuterie boards, you name it!
How To Make Roasted Elk Bone Marrow:
Making roasted marrow bones is a fairly simple process but it does require some muscle to cut through the bones if you don't have an electric meat saw. But, the deliciousness that hides inside those bones is totally worth the effort!
Pro Tip: Keep the marrow bones in a warm oven to keep them hot if you don't plan on serving them right away. Serving them hot helps cut down on the waxiness of the marrow.
A Note on CWD:
Many states have regulations on deboning carcasses in the field and leaving the bones behind. The thought is that CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) is likely more concentrated in the bones (which are typically discarded in public waste systems) and leaving them in the field could potentially prevent the spread of CWD to uninfected areas, depending on where the hunter plans to transport the meat to. Make sure to check these regulations before deciding to bring bones home for cooking.
Additionally, it's important to have your animals tested for CWD not only for your own safety, but for data collection purposes for state Game and Fish agencies. Since bones can be a CWD "hot spot," it's important to know whether your animal was infected or not to weigh the risks and benefits of consuming them. However, if the animal was infected, there are likely CWD prions located throughout the body tissues, not just in the bones. So it's important to educate yourself on the topic of consuming and/or disposing of a CWD positive animal before deciding what to do with the meat and/or bones.
Putting it All Together:
This dish can be a meal in itself since it is so rich, but it is intended to be an appetizer. It makes a great starter to a steak dinner with elk backstrap or paired with something lighter like a salad with a bright vinaigrette. No matter how you choose to serve it, this is a fun way to fully utilize your elk harvests!
Yes! Bone marrow can safely be consumed from elk not infected with CWD.
No, but it can help remove blood if there is any in the marrow. If you'd like to soak your bones before roasting, soak them overnight in a saltwater solution. Use a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of water. Thoroughly rinse and dry the bones before roasting.
Yes. If you cook bone marrow too long, it will melt completely out of the bones. Instead, it should be cooked until it is hot and bubbly but not completely melted. Some melted marrow in the pan is normal.
Other Recipes to Try:
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Roasted Elk Bone Marrow with Pickled Mustard Seeds
- bone saw
- cast iron roasting pan
- 2 elk leg bones
- salt, to taste
- 1 sourdough baguette, sliced thin and toasted
Pickled Mustard Seeds:
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoon shallots, finely diced
- 2 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
Pickled Mustard Seeds:
- To a small saucepan, add apple cider vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Bring to a simmer.
- Add in mustard seeds and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add in shallots and stir to combine. Place mixture in a glass jar and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Place lid on jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Using a bone saw, cut leg bones into pieces. Cut the ends of the bones off right where the marrow starts (see pictures in recipe post for reference). Then, cut the marrow bone into 4 equal pieces, about 2-3" long. Repeat with the other bone.
- Rinse the bone dust off of the bones and let them dry on a wire rack in the fridge or wipe them with a paper towel until they're dry.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a roasting pan or sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Season tops and bottoms of bones generously with salt. Place bones in roasting pan, upright.
- Roast for 15-25 minutes, flipping halfway. To test for doneness, use a toothpick to poke all the way through the marrow. If it's harder to push the toothpick through the middle than it is through the ends, it is not done yet. You should be able to poke the toothpick through the whole piece of marrow with ease. The marrow should be bubbling but not completely melted.
- Serve marrow with toasted baguette slices and pickled mustard seeds. Scoop out a small amount of marrow and spread on baguette. Top with pickled mustard seeds. Enjoy!
- Elk bone marrow can be waxy and unpalatable to some. If your elk had some fat on the meat, cook some up and try it. If it's not waxy and you enjoy the flavor, you're likely to enjoy the marrow as well.
- Don't toss the bone ends or the roasted marrow bones once you're done with them. Use them to make a batch of stock instead!
- Elk bone marrow is best eaten hot. If you don't plan to eat them all right away, keep them in a warm oven to keep them hot. Get one bone out of the oven at a time to serve.