I rolled the dice a bit when I jumped into raising yak. I was looking another critter to go along with my elk and they seemed like a good choice for many reasons, but I'd never actually tried yak meat before I made the decision.
Fortunately, yak meat is even better than I had ever anticipated! It is amazing! I think it may be my favorite meat now. What makes it so special? I'm so glad you asked!
As you can see, it really isn't that different looking from very lean beef. In a lot of ways, it really tastes a lot like it, too... but it tastes a bit more robust. A bit more savory. And a lot more juicy, tender, and delicious, if you ask me. Because yak came about in the very high elevations of the Himalayas, it physically changed the meat to allow for the reduced oxygen atmosphere. Those changes mean that this meat, despite being very lean and healthy, is very juicy and tender when cooked.
Seriously, the first time I grilled a couple of steaks, I almost overcooked them because the meat does not firm up and dry out like beef when cooked. I have to use a thermometer when I cook yak steaks because I can't tell how done they are without it! What does that mean? It means you don't have to work so hard not to ruin a yak steak like you do with elk or venison (or even beef, for that matter). Yak steaks are tender and juicy despite how lean they are and it makes for an amazing eating experience!
I like to keep it simple and pan fry them in a little butter with a sprig of fresh rosemary for an aromatic flair. So, so good.
Here we have a tenderloin on the left and a New York strip steak on the right. I love the color and flavor the butter gives to these steaks! I made these steaks especially for photographing to show you how amazing they are, but I ended up eating both steaks as soon as I thought I took enough photos. I just couldn't stop - they were so good!
So juicy and delicious! These were cooked to medium rare (130F by a probe thermometer), but look how juicy and delicious they look. And, trust me, delicious they were!
Not only does yak taste great, but it is a healthy and more environmentally friendly choice than beef. Yak has roughly half the calories and less than half the fat of beef and yak utilize about one third the feed to produce meat as beef does. Sounds like a win, win, win to me!