Southern Elk Steak Frites with Bourbon Au Poivre Sauce

By: Sam Kohler

I have always had a deep appreciation for recipes that are simple in presentation and ingredients, but complex in the flavors that they evoke. Steak Frites is one such recipe that I have always enjoyed as the simple peppered steak paired with a rich au Poivre sauce and a side of crisp fries is tough to beat in my eyes. Being that I am living in the Southeastern United States, I had a crazy idea a few weeks back to give this French classic a Southern twist. Simply put, I have made some modifications to the classic ingredients used in Steak Frites to spur a new experience with familiar flavors. In regards to wild game, any wild game steak works perfectly for this recipe and it is one that is simple to make and with a little time and care can be a great show-stopping recipe with minimal work.

Serving Size: 2


Elk Steak

  • 2 Gamekeeper Butchery Elk Medallions
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Salted Butter

Bourbon Au Poivre Sauce

  • 1/2 – 2/3 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 Cup of Bourbon
  • 1 Shallot; Finely Diced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic; Finely Diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Salted Butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Whole Medley Peppercorn or Green Peppercorn
  • 1 Cup of Beef Stock
  • Salt to Taste

Sweet Potato Frites

  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes; Julienned
  • 48 oz Canola Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • (Alternative) Store-Bought Sweet Potato Fries


  1. Begin by julienning your sweet potatoes so that you get them cut into nice match-style strips and then place them in a bowl and rinse them 3-4 times in cold water to ensure that you remove as much starch as possible from the fries. Once you have rinsed them a few times you can place them in a bowl full of cold water in the fridge for 1 hour until your ready to cook them.
  2. Next, let your steaks get to room temperature. Take your steaks and press them into a plate of crack black pepper on both sides so that you have the top and bottom of the medallion nicely covered in black pepper.
  3. Take a pan and heat it to medium to medium-high heat and let the pan come up to temperature. Once your pan is nicely heated (not smoking) add your butter to the pan and sear both peppered sides of the steak for 2-3 minutes each side. Once the steaks are seared you can then back the heat off to medium-low and cook all side of the steak steadily until the targeted doneness of the meat is reached.
  4. Once the steaks are done cooking, let them rest on a plate while you begin your sauce. Add your olive oil and butter to the pan that you just cooked your steaks in and set the temperature to medium.
  5. Add your finely chopped garlic and shallot to the pan and let them cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Next, add your green or medley peppercorns to the pan and mix them around with the shallots and garlic for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add your bourbon to the pan and let the alcohol cook off until the existing liquid reduces by half. I like to flambé the bourbon for this recipe to give you a better gauge of when the alcohol burns off, but be sure to not start your house on fire because with this amount of bourbon the flame can get high!
  8. Once your bourbon has reduced, add your beef stock and once again let it reduce by at least 1/3 if not by 1/2.
  9. At this point to finish off the sauce I like to set the heat to low and slowly add my heavy cream until I get the desired color I want. If you would like a darker colored sauce I would lean towards 1/2 cup of heavy cream, but if you want a lighter sauce I would push it to 2/3rds of a cup.
  10. Let this sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Ideally, I like to cook the sauce until it can stick to the back of a spoon.
  11. Now, remove you sweet potato frites and drain them from the water they were resting in. If you have a salad spinner I would use it to get these fries as dry as possible, but if you are like me and do not have one I recommend patting the fries dry using a series of paper towels.
  12. Heat your oil up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and progressively add your fries in batches to the oil until they turn golden brown.
  13. Once you remove your fries in each batch remember to immediately add salt to the fries once you place them on a wire rack or paper towel to drain the oil so that they absorb the salt and are not simply coated in it.
  14. Finally, cut your steak and place it on a bed of freshly made Au Poivre sauce with a side of fresh sweet potato fries and enjoy!

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