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Real Foodists: Slow Cooker Cooking

by  Randy King


Randy King is a man of dual passions – cooking and hunting. As a chef he has cooked professionally for nearly 20 years across the Northwest. As a lifelong hunter Randy has traversed America hunting everything from Caribou in Alaska to hogs in Florida.

Kings writing and recipes have been appeared in Outdoor Life, Traditional Bowhunter Magazine and Boise Weekly. He is also a long time columnist for Northwest Sportsman Magazine.

Chef in the Wild is his first book.


The elk were on a ridge about a mile off when Ryan spotted them. It was mid-November, full mule deer rut, and we had pulled over to glass buck on a nearby hill. He was one of those Hartford looking bucks, standing all majestic with a rack that would make you cry. The kind you never see in general deer season but always show up in elk season.

Looking past the buck and under the canopy of some juniper, Ryan spotted four elk. The four turned into ten, then twenty, then forty. It was awesome.  

My father and I stalked the elk up a draw, over a rock ledge and then finally into shooting distance. At about 70 yards I filled my cow tag. Dropping her with a clean shot to the side of the head.
It was getting dark when I was making the last cuts on my elk, taking the neck meat off right to the base of her skull. It was several pounds worth and something that I have not always valued. Only recently has neck meat been anything but grinder fodder for me.

I became convert after eating a stew made from the neck meat of a small mule deer. It had more “body” than a normal stew made out of rump or brisket. Thinking about it I came to the conclusion that the “body” came from the massive amounts of connective tissue in the neck. When making a stew the long and slow cooking process breaks down tough cuts into tender cuts. As the connective tissue disintegrates it turns into gelatin, and that gelatin is what causes the full body taste in many soups.

Using the Weston Slow Cooker, graciously provided, I was able to make neck meat into a great set of meals for my family.



Slow Cooker Elk Neck
To make the neck meat into something special, it needs cooked for a long while. I prefer to overcook than to undercook on my neck meat. I make a shredded meat that is great for quesadillas, bolognaise or even lasagna. To make the Potato Rosti in the recipe below you need some neck meat first.   

  • 3 lbs Elk or Deer neck meat
  • 1 ea Onion, diced
  • 10 ea Garlic Cloves, crushes
  • 1 qt Beef Stock or Broth
  • Black Pepper

Turn Weston Slow Cooker onto high, let heat for five minutes. Add the neck meat, onion, garlic, stock and black pepper to crock. Let cook on high for four hours, then turn to low and cook, covered, for eight hours. Keep an eye on the liquid levels, add small amounts of water if needed.

After twelve hours the meat will shred very easily with a fork. Turn the slow cooker off and let stand for one hour uncovered. Next transfer meat and broth to a smaller container and into the fridge. Let chill overnight. This will allow the flavors and moisture to fully absorb into the meat. Reserve for the potato cakes.


Potato Rosti

  • 1 lb Red Potatoes
  • 1 ea Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Braised Neck Meat
  • 1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ cup Canola oil

Microwave red potato for 5-7 minutes. Since all microwaves are different– the goal is to get a ¾ cooked potato. Like a not quite done baked potato.

Smash the neck meat with a fork until it is completely shredded. Take the baked potato and grate it on the cheese grater, skin and all. Add the grated potato, egg, braised neck meat and parsley to a bowl. Mix gently. Form mix into 6 balls. Place each ball into breadcrumb mix and coat on each side. Gently form the balls into cakes if desired.


In a heavy bottomed sauté pan add the oil and heat on medium for five minutes. Take a small slice of potato and add to the oil, if it sizzles it is hot enough. No sizzle, no fry.


Add the potato cakes, carefully, three at a time. Fry on one side until “GB&D” or Golden Brown and Delicious. When browned flip to the other side and repeat. When brown on both sides place the cakes on a paper towel lined plate. Fry remaining cakes.

Serve the cakes with my Fry Sauce.

Fry Sauce
In Idaho we have a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise known as “fry sauce” and it can go on just about anything potato related…and often does. My eldest son recommended it for this recipe, I obliged.

  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp Horseradish, grated

Mix all in a small bowl, reserve until ready to eat.



For more from Chef in the Wild Randy King, follow him on Twitter: @chefinthewild and follow his Chef in the Wild blog.

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