I find it fascinating as we look back in the past to see all the meat that didn’t end up in the waste bins of an animal. It could be deer cattle, pigs even game birds. Our ancestors utilized every bit of meat they hunted. Now?
A lot of it goes to the waste pile. For commercial butchering processes, the unacceptably sized cuts of meat are used to make dog food and other animal kibbles that are domesticated.
My grandmother, born in the 40s recalls how her mother cooked liver, heart, and even lamb brains for dinner. What’s the reason we don’t use these meals more often? Although I’m not sure I’m capable of wrapping my brain about eating fried lamb brains however that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t explore new foods and make an effort to ensure that none of the animals we hunt and consume die without a trace.
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We were so lucky to have the deer that we saw on the other day. She could have laid there until her carcass was no longer edible for humans which, for me, is sad. When we took her out to butcher my husband asked me whether I would like to keep her heart. It is the heart that is muscle similar to what the delicious venison steaks we love eating are.
We were able to collect the heart and serve two purposes for us and our family. One was that, as I was washing it off before getting it ready to cut it into pieces, we conducted an informal anatomy lesson to teach our homeschool science class that day. My farm girls were able to observe a heart like their own and discover what the various chambers of the heart contain, as well as the main vein and artery branches that branch out and the way the heart operates. When we cut it open into pieces, they could look at cross-sections of chambers of the heart to examine how they fill up with blood. As a mother working in medicine for more than a decade prior to having children and then enrolled in school to become a physician and a surgeon, this was an enjoyable experience for me, and my kids loved it as well.
The other reason it was used was of course providing food for our family. It’s similar to backstraps’ taste and isn’t even marinated. It’s a simple pan fry and some seasoning, and it’s delicious.
How to Cook Deer Heart
Purge and Rinse
The blood in the heart could impart an iron-like flavor to the meat if it’s not removed. For this, put the valves in cool running water, then gently squeeze them, and wait until the water clears. When I came to this during our butchering there was a coagulation of blood just a small amount. It’s fine. A bit disgusting in the first instance but it’s not going to hurt any thing.
The first step is trimming away the top portion of your heart that houses the valves, veins and arteries and the fat that is on top. You may keep some fat if you’d like. I’ll just trim the whole top off of the muscle inside.
After that, you can cut the heart in the exact spot where you will see the chambers below naturally split.
Inside, you’ll find lots of connective tissue that can remove.
Simply cut in lengthwise slices through the middle to make multiple slices of meat.
I cut them into bite-sized bites However, you don’t need to. A 1/4”-to 1/2” would be the right thickness for cooking it.
Soak In Salt Water
As I mentioned earlier blood can give iron flavor to your food. To get rid of this smell after cleaning it up and cutting it into pieces put the meat in bowls filled with water and add a couple of tablespoons of salt from the sea for the night. It’ll be ready the next day (or the following after dinner) for cooking.
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You can then cook it as I have described below.
1 Deer Heart
1 Clove Garlic (crushed)
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (minced)
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Once you’ve cooked your deer’s heart, you’ll need to gather all the ingredients and then melt 1/4 cup of butter in a cast-iron skillet.
Sprinkle the heart with black pepper, parsley as well as sea salt. Add the garlic cloves that have been crushed and the deer heart that has been seasoned chunks to your skillet along with the butter that has been melted.
Once you have turned the meat, cook it in butter over medium-high temperature for approximately three minutes on each side or until you are satisfied with the doneness.
1 deer heart
Freshly cracked peppers To taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oils
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
3 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon red wine
3 tablespoons of crushed dried mushrooms
A quarter teaspoon MSG (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
2 teaspoons fresh oregano minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon of celery seeds
2 whole cloves
1 leaf of a bay
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
3/4 cup ginger beer of high quality and quality
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A few notes about the components of the marinade
You can use any dried mushrooms that you like , but select one that has a more aromatic flavor. You can find a small amount of dried medley of mushrooms in the market or make your own dried and foraged mushrooms.
Contrary to popular opinion, MSG is not harmful in small quantities. It’s a great seasoning to use in every kitchen. Just a small amount, MSG can provide so much umami and flavor to food items.
In a saucepan, mix the marinade ingredients, and bring to the point of boiling. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool completely before transferring into a bowl or zip-top bag.
Open and then unfold the heart of the deer in order to lay the muscle as flat as it can be. I would prefer to start cutting along the artery running diagonally across the outer part of the heart. Cut off the excess fat, remnants of the aorta and arteries as well as all connective tissues.
Add the deer’s heart to the marinade, which has been cooled. Cover and refrigerate the deer heart for a minimum 3-4 hours or for up to a night. Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cooking to allow it to reach the temperature of the room.
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Set the grill up to cook the meat directly, at high heat. Grates lightly using vegetable oil. When it is hot, grill the meat for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare – The thinner portion of the heart will cook quicker than the more thick part. The heart should be seasoned using freshly cracked black pepper and additional salt as desired.
Remove the heart from the grill and let it rest, covered in foil for at least 5 minutes. Slice the heart of deer thinly against the grain, and serve.