Elk Meatloaf

The Quaker Oats easy meatloaf recipe made with lean, low-cholesterol, protein-rich ground elk meat and heart-healthy whole-grain rolled oats, topped with a tomato-onion sauce. No bread crumbs! No elk? No problem. :-) Make this meatloaf without elk by substituting ground beef, venison, bison and even turkey.

Elk Meatloaf ♥ KitchenParade.com, also works with beef, bison, venison, turkey, the Quaker Oats recipe, totally tasty. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. High Protein.

Meatloaf Made from Scratch. Real Food, Fresh & Comforting. Weeknight Easy. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep, Especially for Meatloaf Sandwiches.

"Honey, I Bought an Elk.

Everyone's heard the one about the man who stopped by the grocery for milk but loaded up with milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt and two gallons of ice cream.

So let me tell you the one about the guy who planned to hunt up an elk roast during a business trip, then returned with big news, “I bought an elk.”

An elk. An E.L.K. as in an entire elk, raised free-range on a ranch in northern Missouri. You think I could make this up? Hardly.

(LOL years later, I'm laughing at this story. The elk guy and I were a brand-new couple then, maybe three months in. Was it the elk? I Married Him.)

Missouri Elk

Elk Herd at Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk are indigenous to Missouri, here in the middle of the country at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. Elk once roamed the forests of Missouri in abundance but have been gone, it's estimated, since the 1860s thanks to over-hunting. In 2011, wild elk and their primitive, lonesome bugles were re-introduced to the state in a special conservation area in southeast Missouri.

Other elk – our elk – are raised on a free-range game ranch near Macon, Missouri. The elk herd in the photo, above, live in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

RESOURCES More info about elk in Missouri from the Missouri Conservation Corps.

What Does Elk Meat Taste Like? Is It Good to Eat? Is It Healthy?

Elk is gorgeous meat. Its flavor is robust but not at all gamey. Its flesh is lean, in fact, lower in fat than beef and pork and even chicken. It’s also a red meat that’s low in cholesterol. Elk is a particularly good choice for Weight Watchers folks, since a quarter-pound serving has only one point, less than chicken!

ELK MEAT NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/4 pound serving: 116 Calories; 1.6g Tot Fat; .8g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 55mg Sodium; 1.8g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 22.8g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 1 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 1 & blue 1 & purple 1 & future WW points.

What Do You Get When You Buy a Whole Elk?

Elk Meatloaf ♥ KitchenParade.com, also works with beef, bison, venison, turkey, the Quaker Oats recipe, totally tasty. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. High Protein.

A lot of ground elk! A LOT.

Aside from the flavor, my first and indelible impression about having a whole animal custom-processed at a butcher’s is that you bring home fewer loins, steaks, roasts and hams than you’d think – and a whole lot more ground meat than you can imagine, let alone know what to do with.

If this is the typical supply-demand scenario, it makes me wonder why a grocery store’s premium cuts aren’t even more expensive than they are, its ground meats less expensive. What’s happening to all that ground meat?

RECIPE CALL! If readers have elk recipes to share, especially recipes for ground elk, this elk-overrun cook would be most appreciative. With a little help, I’ll collect recipes to attack an abundance of ground elk meat.

SHARE YOUR STORY What’s the most unusual food you’ve brought home and then wondered what to do with it all? Share your story!

About This Recipe

  • This meatloaf mixes ground elk (or bison or venison or beef or turkey or ...) with pork, bound together with egg and tenderized with uncooked oats. It's topped with a sweet-savory sauce. It bakes in the oven until reaching an internal temperature of 160F/70C.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = elk meat + the slightly sweet sauce
  • Ingredient List for Meatloaf Itself = ground elk (or other ground meat) + ground pork + onion + old-fashioned rolled oats (aka oatmeal) + egg + ketchup + Worcestershire + garlic + salt & pepper
  • Ingredient List for Meatloaf Sauce = ketchup + onion + brown sugar + Worcestershire
  • Allow about a half hour for mixing the meatloaf plus 45-60 minutes in the oven.
  • The sauce makes the meatloaf look really pretty!
  • This is a time-friendly recipe, especially if you're planning on leftover meatloaf sandwiches for another night or putting some in the freezer for another time.
  • This is pantry-friendly meatloaf, especially for cooks with freezers full of ground game meat.
  • This is a calorie-friendly meatloaf, especially served with a fresh vegetable and salad.
  • This is a budget-friendly meatloaf, no fancy ingredients, no special trips to the grocery.
  • The recipe makes about twelve servings. And if that sounds like a lot? Plan on meatloaf sandwiches. Bake two meatloaves and freeze one for another time. Suddenly, not so much! FYI twelve servings assumes, like all Kitchen Parade recipes, 1/4 pound of uncooked protein per serving, which is plenty for most but may not satisfy bigger appetites or teenage boys.
  • Not into elk or oats? No problem. Check out my Cast Iron Meatloaf.

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this easy meatloaf inspires you, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Elk Meatloaf ♥ KitchenParade.com, also works with beef, bison, venison, turkey, the Quaker Oats recipe, totally tasty.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 1-3/4 hours
Serves 12 (easily halved or make two, one for now, one for the freezer or for meatloaf sandwiches)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (uncooked oatmeal)
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine (see TIPS)
  • 2 pounds ground elk (see TIPS)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350F/180C. Spray two glass pie pans or a large baking dish (see TIPS) with cooking spray.

MIX MEATLOAF In a two-cup measure or bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, onion and ground meats with you hands; don't squeeze the meat to condense it though, you want to keep the mixture as loose as possible. Add the ketchup mixture and combine well, still without squeezing. Form into one or two round discs about 2-1/2 inches tall.

BAKE MEATLOAF BY ITSELF Bake the meatloaf (no sauce, yet) for 30 minutes.

THICKEN SAUCE While the meatloaf bakes, mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a bowl. Let simmer slowly, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly.

APPLY SAUCE & FINISH BAKING Spoon sauce evenly over top of partially cooked meat. Return to the oven for another 15 - 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160F/70C.

REST Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.

ALANNA's TIPS This recipe doesn’t require ground elk. Substitute ground bison (which Whole Foods carries and is excellent), lean ground beef or even ground turkey.
This particular elk was ground without added fat so the meat is extra lean for ground meat, too lean to use in meatloaf by itself. I use 2:1 elk:ground pork but use your own judgment based on how much fat is in the primary meat. I usually cook meatloaf on a ridged pan that lets the fat drip into the bottom. With elk, is so lean, the meatloaf gives off so little fat that it is easy enough to siphon off with a turkey baster from a flat baking dish. If you use a meat with more fat, you may want to pour off the fat just before spreading the sauce onto the partially cooked meatloaf. Two cups is a lot of ketchup, check your fridge and pantry supply, just in case. My notes say that I made this once with salsa, that's a great way to avoid the ketchup's sugar! When you're chopping the onion for the meat, go ahead, chop some extra for the sauce.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2008/12/elk-meatloaf.php .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 246 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 57mg Cholesterol; 582mg Sodium; 19g Carb; 1g Fiber; 13g Sugar; 23g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 8 & Freestyle 7 & myWW green 7 & blue 7 & purple 7 & future WW points
Adapted from the Quaker Oats meatloaf recipe.

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~ beef recipes ~
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Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ elk recipes ~
~ oatmeal recipes ~
~ pork recipes ~
~ recipes calling for ketchup ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2008, 2009, 2015, 2019 & 2022

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. A fine use of those tougher cuts of elk...ground them up, make sausage or in this case, meatloaf!

  2. Anonymous12/03/2008

    We use alot of venison at our house and I have found this website really helpful. I have used several of these recipes as a starting point and they've always come out tasty.

  3. My sister and her husband raise buffalo. I use the ground meat just like I use beef hamburger. I really like for recipes where I can't drain the fat off, because it's so lean. I have a recipe for a meatballs/rice dish that the meatballs bake along with the rice. Ordinary hamburger is way too greasy for this, but the bison works great. Elk sounds similar to bison meat.

  4. Anonymous12/04/2008

    Where's all the veggies?

    Oops, wrong blog LOL!

    I love grinding up leftover veggies and stashing them in my meatloaf. I can get up to almost a 1:1 ratio of ground meat to ground veggies, and anything goes.

    Even okra.

    Meatloaf sounds yummy to me these days-thanks for the idea, and enjoy your elk!

  5. Wow, that's a lotta meat. If I lived next door, I'd pop over for a couple pounds of ground elk, take it home and make it into sloppy joes. My whole family loves sloppy joes but the elk would make it so much healthier. And I always put beans in my sloppy joes. The kids all love it that way.

  6. We love elk and always have it in the freezer. I've never used a special recipe, just use it in place of beef, keeping in mind the difference in fat content so you don't dry it out.

    Family favorite: dip elk round steaks in beaten egg and bread crumbs seasoned with parsley, garlic & parmesan, pepper, salt. Brown and put in a roasting pan. Saute potato wedges to just brown alittle and place on top of meat. Then saute onions until they lose their "bite" and stir in canned, chopped tomatoes and their juice and pour over all. Bake about 30-45 minutes. (I forgot--I usually roll potatoes lightly in any bread crumbs left before sauteing)

  7. Anonymous2/12/2009

    We raise both elk and bison and can't say enough about the meat! When making roasts, we found it helpful to let the roast completely cool, then cut it. It's much easier to cut it thin-and then we usually prepare it with gravy. Yum!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna