Beef heart is a great treat. I don’t buy it very often, but I do like to make offal several times a year. Since it’s a muscle, heart can be really similar to steak or roasts and it can even be ground up for ground beef. In some cases it is less expensive, however for us it’s still more expensive than even the cheapest ground beef. It’s a great affordable option in place of steak though, for less than what a NY Strip or other steak, I get over two pounds of really great tasting meat. Beef heart is really versatile once you’re a bit accustomed to dealing with it. Compared to most average cuts of beef, it has a higher amount of protein, thiamine, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and several B vitamins. Organs in general offer the densest sources of nutrients like B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, copper and magnesium, and they are rich with the most important fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. Unlike some of the more funky offal out there, beef tongue and heart are really unexpectedly normal tasting. Although the fact that offal is healthy and packed with benefits is becoming common knowledge, there are still a lot of haters. For those of you who “would never,” hear me out.
For years I’ve been advocating that folks go nose to tail . Why? Because an animal dies so that we can sustain ourselves on their flesh. Our ancestors didn’t throw away less than perfect cuts and I feel that factory farming has taken us away from the root of our culture, it’s erasing our heritage, and worse yet, it’s diluted our appreciation for the sacrifice. My family hunts for meat, so to some degree we are never completely separated from recognizing that “meat is murder.” When you fully process an animal yourself, every piece of meat has a face. I hear “that’s disgusting, I would never.” (In regards to the “nasty bits.”)
When I hear this, I always think… Well, the casual disregard for an animal is a lot more disgusting to me than considering trying something new. You don’t always like everything you try. Believe me, I was there. I’ve tried a lot of weird stuff and some of it was truly foul. (There was THE kidney experiment… That ye shall never speak of again.) After working with game, I’ve found that just about anything can be made delicious if you do it right. Becoming so accustomed to grassfed beef and wild game has actually changed the way things taste to us. Regular meat’s seem bland, and things that most folks find disgusting don’t really strike us as all that bizarre. They are all used to seeing weird things around but don’t get me wrong… I still hide what it is if it’s something funky. They eat it if they don’t know what it is, and that just proves to me that if my kids will eat it, grownups can too.
Peppered Beef Heart Steak Bites
Heart is actually one of my favorite things to eat now. I still have a hard time with livers. I am so/so with other offal. For me, chicken and beef heart both have a chicken thigh essence to them. Just like tongue, beef heart can be treated just like steak, brisket or stew meat. It can go in tacos, gravy, soups or casseroles. – So, if you ever have the opportunity to try it. Do it! You might just like it. It’s not dog food, it’s food. The same food that was on every table a hundred years ago. I treat this steak as a diced up version of “Pop-Pops” steak. My dad has always used a marinade with olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar and steak seasoning. If y’all can’t find heart, by all means you can use chopped steak. (Sometimes you can find fillet “seconds” or ends which work super well. Sirloin tips or whatever beef ends you find is fine.) I like to use lots of seasoning and vinegar, you can use more or less according to your own tastes. It will also vary according to the size of your beef heart.
- 2-3 Tablespoons Bacon Grease, Butter, Ghee or Lard
- 1 Beef Heart , Trimmed and Cut into Small Pieces
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Steak Seasoning
- 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Gluten-Free Tamari or 2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
+ 1/2 of a small onion, Diced
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until its smoking hot.
- Toss your beef cubes with steak seasoning.
- Add your fat to the pan, and carefully toss in the seasoned beef heart.
- Stir it around and cook it for 5-6 minutes or until its mostly cooked.
- Add your soy sauce or aminos and vinegar. Stir and allow the sauce to get “sticky” a minute or two.
- Stir in onion, cover and remove from heat.
Serve with gravy and rice or buttered noodles, maybe top it off with a fried egg or two! I like it, with sour cream, broccoli and cheddar cheese.
Note: To trim the beef heart , you will want to shave away the hard fat and gristle as much as possible. I find trimming and cutting to be easiest if the meat is still partially frozen. (I get all of my beef previously frozen from the farm so I just let it thaw most of the way before I tackle it) If you have a fresh heart (from any critter) you can freeze it 10-20 minutes to make it less …slippery. It’s a solid hunk of muscle and it can be a bit of an elusive butchering process. A sharp filet knife or paring knife makes easy work of it. Once the fat is trimmed, cut the heart into “fajita” strips, and from there cut it into approximately 1/4″ cubes.