Recipe: Grilled Wild Game Cheese Steak with Morel and Wild Ramp Gravy

Follow the steps to make this delightful venison-based cuisine, courtesy of the wild.

by Caleb Condit | Pilsen Photo Co-Op

MORE FROM Caleb Condit |

Roulade, Rouladen, etc. are just fancy ways of describing meat rolled up with stuff inside of it. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook leaner meats like turkey breasts and venison cuts. Cheese, pates, and pestos are all great fillers for this kind of dish. They add flavor to the inside of the meat and keep it moist. This recipe sounds complex, but when you nail it, you realize it’s not a ton of time, and it’s something everyone will devour. My sister-in-law who has only eaten wild game one other time (when I made tacos for her) couldn’t get enough. Who doesn’t love steak with melted cheese and gravy? Here’s how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.


Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

The ingredients for a phenomenal meal to come.


  • 1-2 lbs. wild game (sirloin, backstrap, turkey breast, elk flank)
  • 1-2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ lb. grated smoked cheddar or other melting cheese
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8-10 medium sized morels (more is better)
  • 1 whole garlic
  • ½ cup ramp butter or green onion compound butter
Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

Light the fire. It's time to make great-tasting meat, people.


  • Grill
  • Cast iron
  • Toothpicks/skewers
  • Bowls
  • Coffee filter
  • Pour over
  • Sharp fillet knife
  • Butcher twine
  • Whisk
  • Tongs
  • Grill gloves
Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

By this point, you can smell the greatness.


  1. Start a fire in your grill. If you’re using gas, or an easy-bake pellet oven, you could probably wait until after soaking the mushrooms.
  2. Butterfly your meat. When you cut the cinnamon-roll-looking disks off the roll, you’re cutting against the grain for tenderness.
  3. Rehydrate morels in a quart of water for 30 minutes. Put these in a colander or strainer to drip excess liquid.
  4. Filter water through a coffee filter in a funnel. Pour over to filter out any dirt, and set aside.
  5. Liberally salt both sides of the meat, and cover in cheese and add herbs.
  6. Roll up meat like a cinnamon roll. Tie every 2 inches with butcher twine.
  7. Add additional toothpicks or skewers to help hold the pieces in place so cheese doesn’t fall into the fire (as much).
  8. Slice into 2- to 3-inch long pieces (in between where you tied it up).
  9. Put cast-iron skillet on grill with half of your ramp butter, morels cut in half longways.
  10. Salt morels with 1 tsp. kosher salt while they sauté.
  11. Once mushrooms are browned, add the rest of the butter to melt and put your meat on the grill around or to the side of the skillet. Turn every minute or two to get all sides browned with grill marks.
  12. Add the mushroom soaking liquid to the cast iron. Stir to prevent clumps.
  13. Remove meat when browned and set aside to rest. If using a thermometer, you want 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
  14. Once gravy has reduced to a nice thick but still liquid texture, put in a bowl.
  15. Slice meat into smaller disks. Remove twine and toothpicks.
  16. Warm for 1 minute to remelt cheese and add any additional temperature to the inner part of the meat.
  17. Plate the dish by putting down gravy, then meat and mushrooms on top, and then an herb garnish.
  18. Serve with mashed potatoes or asparagus or both.
Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

The makings of an incredible meal.


This recipe for grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy was based off my desire to make a dish that was as wild as possible. Except for the cheese, salt, and butter, everything was hunted, foraged, or grown.

Last spring, while out turkey hunting in the rain, I finally gave up chasing nonexistent gobbles to harvest a small portion of the largest ramp patch I’ve ever seen. When you harvest ramps, you should never overdo it. They take years to mature and spread, so I only take about 10 percent (or less) of a patch. Plus, I cut the bulb tip off with a knife below the surface, as that will ensure they come back that much faster.

For the wild ramp butter, use one stick of butter per 10 ramps. Buy the best butter you can find. Put it in a blender with a drizzle of olive oil to keep the butter softer. Blend until smooth. Roll into parchment paper making a tube, and cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Cutting off what you need throughout the year is easy. You can make any type of compound butter using this process. You could add sautéed morel chunks, garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, etc.

The morels came from a friend’s property that he encourages me to use to its fullest. Last spring, I found a few morels, so it was my first stop this season to look for some more. I brought my wife, as she’s an eagle eye for finding the first mushroom. She found four different patches that day, and we came out of the woods with a full sheet pan full of very large grey morels. Zero ticks hitched a ride (thanks, permethrin).

Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

A bountiful harvest fit for a king.

Some people will immediately rush to dunk their fresh morels in saltwater. Some will dredge in flour and breading to deep fry and eat them immediately. I will cook a few fresh in butter to put on a pizza or eat with some backstrap, but my favorite process starts with drying the fresh morels.

A friend told me he preferred them this way, so I gave it a shot. He was right. The dried and rehydrated morels were firmer, nuttier, and deeper in flavor. You can use a dehydrator to dry them out, but I’ve found a sheet pan by a south-facing window for a couple days works just as well. A nice side benefit to drying them is, when you soak them in water, the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. No bugs. No sand. What’s not to love?

For this recipe, I saved the soaking liquid, then I ran it through a coffee filter to get out any dirt; a beautiful golden liquid remained to make gravy out of. The reconstituted morels were dropped into cast iron with ramp compound butter that I made to preserve my ramp harvest last season (it freezes well). Once they browned with a head of garlic (cut in half), a ¼ cup of flour added to the pan started a roux. After I finished it with salt, that quart of mushroom-flavored water made for the most epic gravy. You’d think it started with some beef bones to have that rich of a flavor, but mushrooms really do have the ability to add depth to any dish.

The hardest part of making this dish will be tying the rolled-up meat with cheese in the middle, so give yourself time to do this step. Start by cutting a 1- to 2-lb. large cut of wild game into a ¼- to ½-inch-thick fillet. I used a venison sirloin, but a wild turkey breast, deer backstrap, or elk flank steak would also do well for this.

Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

Cheese just makes everything better.

I start by cutting down the middle of the meat to the thickness I want, then cutting to the side and rolling the meat out in a thin sheet as I move to the sides. There’s a bunch of YouTube videos on this technique.

With the meat laid out, salt both sides, lay down around 8 ounces of grated cheese and fresh herbs. I use smoked cheddar and a sprig worth of rosemary leaves, but you could sub in any meltable cheese like gouda and other herbs. I prefer fresh herbs for this, as they kind of melt into the cheese. So, if you only have dried herbs, make sure they’re ground into powder, or you’ll have crunchy bits in the cheese in a not-so-good way.

Roll up the meat and tie it every couple of inches with butcher twine. Add toothpicks or skewers to help hold things shut. Then, cut the meat in between your rings of butcher twine. Cooking the meat in smaller sections helps the inner part of the roulade cook quicker. Thus, you have a more even final piece to serve. I grilled the meat while the mushrooms cooked, browning it all around. Once you get a nice brown on the outside, put the meat on the side to rest, and focus on your mushrooms.

The mushrooms will be wet from soaking, so they’ll take a bit longer, Overall, the gravy is a 20-minute deal. I put the mushrooms in the pan with half of the ramp butter (you could just use a half stick of butter and a few chopped green onions if you don’t have ramp butter). The first five minutes will be mushrooms steaming off water, absorbing a little salt that you’ve sprinkled in, and then they start to brown. Cut your whole garlic in half. Put both sides (cut side down) in the pan to caramelize (this will take 4-5 minutes on medium heat). Eventually, the garlic cooks, releases from its skin, and you can pull the skin out with tongs.

Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

What better way to use your hard-earned morels.

Once the morels start to brown, melt the rest of the butter in the pan and finish browning them. Add in ¼ cup of flour and let it reach a golden-green color. You want the flour to taste like your butter. Add in the quart of mushroom liquid from soaking your morels, half at a time, whisking slowly as you add it.

Over the next 10 minutes, once the gravy starts to thicken, taste it. Does it need salt? Add more to taste ½ teaspoon at a time. You can always add more, so go slow here, and keep stirring the gravy until it’s done. Once your gravy is done simmering, and has that signature slow drizzle off a spoon, immediately move it into a bowl to stop reducing.

Next, slice off your twine and cut the sections of meat into even smaller disks. Check if these done and toss back onto the grill for a minute if they need a flash of heat. This will also further caramelize and melt the cheese. I find that venison sirloin does OK at medium, so a little extra time won’t ruin it.

Here is all about how to make grilled wild game cheese steak with morel and wild ramp gravy.

The finished dish looks and tastes great.

Serve the disks on top of some gravy, with morels stacked on top. Add a little extra fresh rosemary as a garnish. This is amazing with some asparagus and mashed potatoes as sides.

Recipe: Gravlax Cured Venison Loin

Recipe: Gravlax Cured Venison Loin

Those who like some loin for lunch or dinner should give this tasty gravlax cured venison loin recipe a try.



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