Beef Heart Recipes For Stew And Steak

Farmers Market organizers pose for a pic
A chilly autumn day last year, my family was exploring the new-to-us Carroll Creek Farmers Market.

They had all of your standard stuff and we had picked up a couple bits of this and that when I stopped by a local grass-fed beef booth. I read the sign and knew it was time. It was time to finally learn some recipes for beef heart.

(Unfortunately, the market doesn't have a website and I can't track down the folks who sold me the heart out of a van around back in the ally. Alas! No shout outs via link.)  

And if you're wondering "what does a beef heart taste like?" The answer is simple. Fucking steak.

More pictures of cutting up a heart after the jump.

It's not weird. It's not gross. It's not gamey. It's a super lean cut of steak. And if you have yourself some local grass-fed heart, dude, it's potentially awesome.

How To Cook Beef Heart For Beginners

After buying and cooking a couple of hearts now, while I am not an expert, there seem to be a few things missing from other what-do-I-do-with-a-heart write-ups.

First, from what I have found, the average beef heart is around 2.5 pounds. I have three in my family, so that means I need to have two recipes ready. Plus, we get leftovers. Awesome.

Now, as you might suspect, although heart tastes great when prepared well, it does have an odd property when compared to other cuts of beef.

It's not solid, right? Your heart has veins, aortas, valves, and whatever the fuck that other stuff is. Some of it is chewy, so you might want to remove it. Or not. Whatever. It's up to you.

If you have a meat grinder and you're making some kind of sausage or ground meat for patties, no need to get rid of it. If you're trying to make a good impression for a spouse or child and you don't want them to freak the fuck out, just remove it.

It almost kind of looks like a sponge. Almost feels like it, too.

*Goal #1. Cook it well so that you have permission to keep buying it

The second thing to keep in mind is that the heart is not symmetrical. the left side is thicker than the right, so you might want to design your recipes around the thickness variation. I now have two go-to recipes: steak strips and stew.

Because the right side is thinner, after cleaning out the valves and shit, I cut it into reasonably sized strips. I've done a basic olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper marinade and I've done a pan fry with butter. This summer I'll get to the grill.

Remember that this is a lean meat. You will need some fat-based moisture.

For the stew, think about chunky chili. Take your favorite recipe and just substitute in the left side of the heart. Chop it up into tiny bits and brown it to rare before dumping the whole thing into a pot with your other stew shit. My favorite is a crock pot where I can do long and low, letting the flavors mix and the meat grow soft.

It's been tender and tasty every time.
Now, I'm not egotistical enough to pretend that I'm a chef. I'm not giving you step-by-step measurements. What I do have in the kitchen is a desire to experiment and try new shit. The more often I play with ingredients, the better I get, and you're probably the same way. Play with this and make your own heart recipe based on your other steak recipes. In my experience, it's hard to fuck this up. just cook it the way you like your beef.

After a few months and a few experiments, I can now turn beef heart into awesome. My next goal is to start sneaking it into dinner parties and pot lucks. Maybe I'll throw it on the grill for my son's next birthday party cookout!