Homemade Elk “Jim Spud”

“Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,

For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good,

but don’t forget the potatoes.”

John Tyler Pettee, ‘Prayer and Potatoes’

As I head into the holiday week, and the busiest time of year, I tend to crave the cozy and comforting dishes quintessential to the winter season. Which is why I was delighted this week when Peter requested the Ketchum classic, “Jim Spud,” for dinner. If you haven’t had the Jim Spud at the Pioneer Saloon, then one could argue that you haven’t been to Ketchum!

The Pioneer Saloon is a bustling restaurant staple in town with many tried and true favorite dishes ranging from steamed artichokes to prime rib. When I first moved to town I worked a season as a hostess/cocktail waitress. An option for the employee dinner was the Jim Spud. It is a loaded baked potato with all the toppings, cheese, and teriyaki beef. Typically the teriyaki beef is grilled from the trimmings of the prime rib and other specialty cuts of meat. The result is luxuriously tender well-seasoned meat paired with creamy and over-the-top potato, generous enough to satisfy any cold and hungry hockey player.

For my take on the Jim Spud, I made a classic twice-baked potato with the fixings. While the potatoes are baking I put an onion on low and slow to caramelize for about an hour. You’ll have extra caramelized onion, but no one has ever complained about that! For this recipe I marinated a top round elk steak sliced thin across the grain. Other cuts of meat that work great are boneless ribeye and New York steak. I marinated the meat in The Ginger People Spicy Ginger Teriyaki Sauce while the potatoes bake, so only an hour. Though the dish may appear to take a lot of time, most of it is hands off. The final dinner presentation is fit for a feast, or a cozy dinner with a holiday movie.


Twice Baked Potatoes Ingredients

  • 2 large Idaho russet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 C whole milk
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives or green onions

Teriyaki Beef Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced very thin
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb tender boneless steak such as elk top round, beef ribeye or New York, sliced 1/4″ thick against the grain
  • 3/4 C The Ginger People Spicy Ginger Teriyaki Sauce

Homemade Elk “Jim Spud”
2 Servings


  1. Position racks in the top and middle of the oven, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Take the butter out of the refrigerator to soften. Scrub the potatoes clean and pat them dry. Poke holes all over them with a fork. In a large bowl, toss them with olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Place the potatoes directly on the top rack, and place a baking sheet or a piece of foil on the middle rack to catch drips. Bake for about 1 hour, until the skin is crisp and potatoes offer no resistance when a knife is inserted in their centers. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  2. While the potatoes are baking, marinate the meat with 1/2 C teriyaki sauce and cover. Leave at room temperature.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Spread onion slices in a single layer in skillet and sprinkle with sugar. Let cook for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes until onions are caramelized and golden. If pan is getting dry or onions begin to stick, reduce heat to low and add 1/8 C water to release onions. Once caramelized, set aside.
  4. Slice the top third (lengthwise) off the potatoes. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4-inch border of potato on the skin, and transfer the flesh to a medium bowl. Scrape the potato tops of all flesh, and add the flesh to the bowl. Place the bottoms on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Snack on the tops — chef’s treat — or discard.)
  5. Mash the potato flesh with a fork or potato masher. Add the butter, and stir until smooth (try not to overwork). Add the milk, sour cream and cheese and stir to combine. (If you want the filling softer, add more milk.) Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives, if using.
  6. Mound each potato skin with a quarter of the filling. Bake the potatoes until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  7. While the potatoes are twice-baking, heat a skillet over medium-high with a dash of olive oil. Sear the meat slices for 2 minutes per-side. Add 1/4 C of teriyaki sauce to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes longer.
  8. Serve hot potatoes topped with teriyaki slices and caramelized onions. Spoon teriyaki sauce over and enjoy!

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