Shaniko Smoked Elk Burgers


We had a group of hunters visit us for some good ole fashion pheasant and chucker hunting and of course I had to make a big lunch for 12 dudes.  So I thought about doing smoked elk burgers and one of my friends has raved about his burgers for about a year now.  My first thought was to get him over there to do it, but he was punching cows or something and was to busy to grace us with his presence.  So I will throw a shout out to Austin Justesen for his recipe, but he does not get to be put in the “guest chef” category of my blog.

I will give you the recipe for 1.5 lb of elk burger

  • 1.5 pounds of your finest Shaniko young bull elk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of Sweet Mesquite Seasoning (Costco sells it, Austin puts it on everything)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup of bread crumbs

Mix the ingredients up and get to work making your burgers.  I had to make my burgers unforgettable so I made them one pounders.

“The Pounder”

I bind them tight into a ball, get my burger press out and two sheets of wax paper because I am a professional.

I lay a sheet over the top of the pounder as well before I press.

Then I basically have to stand on the press to get the burger pressed out.


I am getting tired. Fatigue is setting in.

Okay the hard work is done.  Now I put them in the Traeger and let them smoke for about 70 minutes because they are abnormally large.  They will get a nice red smoke tint to them.

Let them Smoke on the Traeger at 185 degrees for about an hour

We drove around and took some photos why they burgers smoked.

The old school house on the Shaniko Ranch

This is the old Ghost town of Shaniko

Shaniko Cafe.  I took this photo.

Megan and I took turns in the cold winter winds jumping out and taking photos.  We were having a photograph tournament.

Shaniko Wagon Yard. Megan took this one.

Then we returned to the ranch to finish off lunch for the boys.  Cranked up the heat on the Traeger BBQ and brought them to a nice medium rare, just a little pink in the middle.  The boys were surprised that it was elk, but some of them also said it was the best burger they ever had.


We put two types of cheese, Tillamook Cheddar, and Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar.



This is what 12 pounds of Elk burgers look like.
I think Megan won the contest with this picture of the lonely cold Highway 97



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