Outsider Cowboy Cooking: Elk Stew With Root Vegetables

by Jim Casey

A hearty pot of stew will warm you up on a cold winter’s day. And if you’re Cowboy Cooking with Outsider, so will the campfire.

The star of today’s stew is fresh elk meat, but feel free to substitute beef or venison if elk isn’t readily available in your area. If elk is available, give it a try. Elk meat has a delicious flavor (beefy, clean, lean, and slightly sweet).

I also utilize a number of root vegetables (onion, carrots, potatoes, parsnip), but you can add whatever is in season, including turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and more. In fact, you can pretty much add any vegetables you enjoy (butter beans, leafy greens, okra, etc.).

Finally, this stew features 12 ounces of beer. I like to use a flavorful brew like Shiner Bock or Guinness to give the stew an added depth of flavor. Of course, you can substitute water or chicken stock for the beer.


  • 2 lbs. elk bottom round (or beef round, beef chuck, or venison)
  • 4 tbs. flour
  • 1 tbs. steak seasoning
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 tbs. tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 12 oz. beer (Shiner Bock or Guinness)

Cowboy Cooking Vessel

Today I’m using a 4-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with lid. This Dutch oven has a bailed handle (for hanging over the fire) without legs, but you can also use the camping model with legs. You can also use a 5- or 6-quart Dutch oven, but you definitely need a minimum of a 4-quart pot.

Another thing I love about this stew is that it’s a one-pot dish. Minimal cleanup.

Prep Work

Build a small cooking fire. You don’t need a raging bonfire to cook stew.

Cut the elk into 1-inch cubes. Put the flour and steak seasoning into a paper or plastic bag.

Rough cut all of the vegetables. One-inch to two-inch pieces work perfectly for a two-hour cook.

Stew Directions

Hang your Dutch oven over the fire. Add the vegetable oil and bring it up to heat.

Dust the elk meat in the flour/seasoning mixture. Add the elk to the oil. Brown the meat, about five minutes.

Add the vegetables, beer, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and place the lid on the Dutch oven. Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring periodically. If the liquid reduces too quickly, add more chicken stock, beer, or water to the stew to prevent scorching.

Enjoy your cowboy cooking masterpiece.