Photo Courtesy of Sara Salahub


Here is another appetizer that could be eaten as a main dish.  Elk or Venison are a wonderful alternative to Beef.  They are a much leaner source of protein and have a greater protein-to-fat ratio compared to boneless-skinless chicken breasts.  You can find Elk or Venison at specialty butcher shops – I get mine from The Healthy Butcher.

Sauce (This recipe is from Son of Grok – SoG Zesty BBQ Sauce) –  It’s a great recipe because you can modify the consistency with the texture of your onion/garlic and the amount of stock that you add.  I made this one more smooth by mincing the garlic and onion and adding more stock.  Here is the formula I used:

Ingredients (Makes about 4 Cups)
– 1 6oz can tomato paste (preferable organic)
– 2 Cups beef stock
– 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
– .5 of an onion – minced
– 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (i used a spicy garlic dijon that added a bit of a kick)
– 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 2 tablespoons chili powder 
– 1 sprinkle of cinnamon (1 tsp)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Stir together well.
  2. Bring it to a simmer and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.
  3. Easy!

Mini-Elk Meatballs (makes about 18 -24 meatballs)

– 1.5 Lb of Ground Elk or Venison
– 1 onion – minced (almost pureed – you don’t want chunks because otherwise the meatballs will fall apart) 
– 1 Tbsp minced garlic
– 1/4 C chopped parsley
– 2 tsp tomato paste
– 1 Egg
– 1/4 C almond flour
– 1 tsp ground red chili’s to spice it up
– salt & pepper to taste
– 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (to use in the pan) 


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except olive oil).  Mixing by hand works best.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil – enough to thoroughly cover the pan
  3. Use a Tbsp to scoop out meat and roll into a meatball.  Repeat.  Place them in the pan.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Gentley (I repeat…GENTLEY – these guys are fragile)  flip the meatballs to cook the other sides.  In total, they take about 8 minutes to cook around (depending on their size).  You can get a feeling for when they are done cooking by pressing down on them to see if they’ve firmed up.  
  5. If you’re doing multiple batches, add more olive oil to the pan in between batches.
  6. Pour some of the Sauce on top of the meatballs and serve.