Elk meatballs with gravy in skillet

Elk Meatballs with Stout and Mushroom Gravy

By: Annie Weisz  |   May 10, 2022

Posted under:   recipes

When most people think of meatballs, they think of the classic: spaghetti and meatballs. While the classics are classics for a reason, meatballs are so versatile! You can switch up the ingredients, flavor profiles, etc. in an endless number of combinations. One of my favorite things about meatballs is that you can take a pound of ground meat and really make it go a long way. I prefer to grind my wild game through my #22 Big Bite Meat Grinder without any added fat. You might be surprised that meatballs can still stick together without added fat but with a good binder like egg and breadcrumbs soaked in milk, these meatballs stick together well and are very tender and moist!

This meatball recipe is fairly simple, but the magic is in the gravy. The stout beer adds a dark, rich flavor and is a perfect pairing with the earthiness of the mushrooms and thyme. Add some half and half to make it creamy and it becomes the perfect sauce for some delicious meatballs. These meatballs can be served a variety of ways. You can serve them on their own with some bread for dipping in the gravy. Or you can serve them over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, or your favorite grain. Whichever way you choose, you’ll have a flavorful and comforting meal that’s sure to fill you up!

Yield: 6 servings (4 meatballs each)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 lb ground elk (or deer, moose, antelope, etc.)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced (about 1 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced

Stout and Mushroom Gravy:
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz stout beer
  • 2 cups wild game stock (or beef stock)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. To a medium bowl add egg, milk, breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt, and, and pepper. Mix together with a whisk. Let mixture sit while you prepare other ingredients (onions, garlic, parsley, etc.), about 5 minutes.
  3. Add meat, onion, parsley, and garlic to bowl. Mix together with your hands until well combined. Mixture will be sticky, but the stickiness keeps the meatballs moist and tender.
  4. Scoop mixture into 24 meatballs, just over 2 Tbsp. each. Roll meatballs between hands to get a uniform, round shape. Place on parchment paper-lined pan, evenly spaced. Bake for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Stout and Mushroom Gravy:
  1. While meatballs are cooking, prepare gravy.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add in mushrooms, no cooking fat needed.
  3. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until browned but not burned. Mushrooms will release liquid and once the liquid is almost evaporated, the mushrooms are done.
  4. Add in butter and let it melt into the mushrooms. Add in flour and stir to coat mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. Add in stout and cook until thick and bubbly, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add in stock, half and half, salt, pepper, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes or until thickened and slightly reduced. Note: add half the salt and pepper to begin with and taste after a few minutes of cooking to see if more needs to be added.
  7. Add meatballs to gravy. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.
  8. Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, or your favorite grain. Top with chopped fresh parsley (optional). Enjoy!

Annie Weisz (@peak.to.plate) is a wild game cook, Wyoming native, outdoor enthusiast, and lover of all things food. She got into hunting and processing her own wild game as another way to enjoy the outdoors while providing her family with high quality meat. As a mom of 2 boys with endless appetites, having a freezer full of meat is a necessity! In addition to creating recipes for her blog, Peak to Plate, she has a career as a Registered Dietitian. Sharing food with others is one of Annie's biggest passions. Whether it's preparing meals for her family, teaching her sons to cook, bringing baked goods to friends, or creating new recipes, sharing food is what brings her joy. She believes that creating delicious recipes and enjoying them mindfully is the best way to pay respect to the animals that she and her husband harvest. Annie hopes that creating innovative wild game recipes will inspire hunters to be more adventurous in preparing their harvests!