Elk meat can make a delicious wild game meal if it is prepared correctly and the first step to this, unless it has just been killed and cleaned, is to defrost it. While elk meat has similar defrosting characteristics as other red meat, there are certain things that should be known about defrosting elk meat so you can prepare the best possible meal.
In the Refrigerator
Defrost meat and whole birds in the refrigerator as this will allow you to refreeze what you don't use or don't want to use. Never defrost on the counter, as it will lead to the meat spoiling quickly or having an odd taste when you prepare it. Defrosting in the refrigerator will take one to two days, but will defrost evenly and safely. This is the best method when defrosting with time to spare as you prepare the rest of your meal.
In Cold Water
Defrosting elk meat in cold water is best for store-bought elk meat or elk meat that has been packaged in plastic. First, make sure the packaging is airtight and in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the elk meat in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Large amounts of elk meat takes about four to six hours to defrost by this method. This is best to do the day before you prepare it so the meat can marinate for at least a day once it is defrosted.
Defrosting in the microwave is only recommended if you need to prepare the elk meat quickly, as the microwave will not defrost the meat evenly and will even partially cook certain portions of the meat. This means that the meat should be eaten that day. The time this meat is defrosted in a microwave is dependent on the microwave and how frozen the elk meat may be.