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beef heart


Joined Jun 23, 2010
I recently was given a beef heart and I am still trying to figure out how to cook it. Obviously I want to smoke it.  I have never eaten heart of any kind so I really want this to work out for me.  The wife and kids say they won't touch it and I would like to cook so that they are open to eating anything that is cooked in my smoker regardless of if it sounds like it would not be ideal.  I have smoked all kinds of other meats, but never heart.  Is there any good tips or recipes that some of you experts can give me.    Thanks for any help y'all can provide.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Aug 5, 2009
I wish I could help-grandmother probably made them in the pressure cooker, along with pigeons, roosters, etc- saw a lot of Google recipes mostly slow cooker or oven stuffed with lots of gravy- the heart is one of the toughest organ meats there is-marinade?

Sounds like a good time to experiment having no cost to you involved. Saw one recipe involving cutting into strips like fajitas. 

Interested in what you come up with. We have a section at the Food for Less with the "wierd cuts" of meat-kidneys, tounge, beef heart, goat meat strips, etc.

One of the reasons I got my smoker was to make cheaper cuts of meat taste good. Oddly enough, the once-cheaper cuts aren't so cheap anymore.

In my copy of the original "Mountain Man" I remember him making boudins-stuffing some casings with equal portions of liver, brains, heart, tenderloin,kidneys, wild veggies and roasting over hot coals.

BTW advertising it is heart will practically insure the family won't eat it. Cook it in a clandestine manner w/o witnesses and call it-ground something or call it "time to eat", anything but heart. (I had 2 teens at one time)

Good luck and post your results please whatever you decide
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Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 27, 2008
It's been...well, since I was a little tyke when I ate beef heart last. We ranched beef, hunted deer, and of course, butchered/processed our own table fair.

There never seemed to be a tender plate of heart in our house. Frying just doesn't get the job done...too fast.

Anyway, since you sound like you'd be in the game for a smoke, my suggestion on cooking methods would be to smoke it whole @ 225* to 180* I/T with a milder smoke wood, or combination of two or more...cherry/hickory is good on beef, and the heart has a stronger flavor which would benefit from the sharpness of hickory, while the cherry will add a subtle sweetness in the background.

For a dry rub, I think I'd have to go with low or no salt because of it being so lean, to help prevent moisture being drawn out. I might opt for something that carries a bit of heat (if you like spicy that is, but cutting the heart with other beef for a dish will also cut the heat/spiciness). Also, onion powder and definitely garlic with CBP. Lightly coat the surface with olive oil, then rub and smoke.

To finish it for the meal, I'm thinking go straight from the smoker into a covered roaster @ 200* with some liquids to steam for several hours...this should help to tenderizer it. Then, slice thin and cut into smaller, shorter strips and add this to other beef for Fajitas, Enchiladas, Chimichangas, etc. Or, it could be diced up small and added to beef for Indian Tacos. You can always reserve some of it for yourself for a later treat, too.

If you use a ratio of 5:1 beef/heart you won't really notice the differing texture and flavor unless you're really looking for it.

As mentioned, don't state exactly what it is that the dish contains...what they don't know won't hurt them...LOL!!!!!!!!\

I always liked the flavor of beef heart, it just needs the low & slow to cook it right.

Let us know what you come up with and how it works out.



Smoking Guru
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Joined Jul 23, 2008
I will grill heart medium rare and slice thin, or I'll pickle it overnight in vinegar and pickling spices to corn it and then stew it for an hour or so (of course drain the pickle first).  I usually prefer calf hearts vs. beef hearts for grilling however but both are good.  My dad would cure and smoke any leftover beef hearts in ham brine and smoke 8 hours then slice with horseradish and limburger cheese; he'd serve at camp while a big game of pitch would be going on along with Carling Black Label beer (like drinking your shoe!).


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 23, 2010
You could try anticuchos. 

Basically marinated beef heart, grilled on a skewer.


Master of the Pit
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Joined Feb 22, 2010
My wife and I love heart.  Deer heart is the best but beef heart is very good.  We soak them in milk in the fridge for a few hours then slice and chicken fry them in a cast iron skillet.  Serve with mashed taters and a dinner roll and your family may just come around to liking it.  I have never smoked it so could not give you advice on that.


Smoke Blower
Joined Feb 24, 2010
It's been years since I've cooked a beef heart, but I've cooked deer heart several times in a very similar way as listed above with great success...

My favorite way to cook it is how my mother would cook it for us when I was younger..

Drop the heart in a plastic bag with peppercorns, slice of onion, sliced garlic cloves, several glugs of a dry red wine and then refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

Drain and cut into strips the size of your finger. Flour, dip in a mixture of beaten egg and roll in again in seasoned flour. Fry on med high heat in a mix of olive oil and butter, until brown on outside. Remove and lay across the bottom of baking dish.
Quickly Saute red and green peppers, slices of onion and mushrooms and garlic, lay on top of the heart slices.
Heat some marinara sauce with red wine, and pour over the heart and pepper mixture, cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot through. Don't bake to long or heart will toughen.

Basically, bread it and cook it like a chicken fried steak, then the marinara sauce helps to finish the cooking and tenderize...

Delicious to say the least...





Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 31, 2009
befor my grandma died, she used to make it like a stuffed turkey.  I was to young to remember the prep, but it was stuffed with stuffing and cooked.



Smoking Guru
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Joined Aug 1, 2008
When I was a kid, my mom would stuff it like a turkey and bake it.  I don't remember it being tough but that was a loooong time ago.

Years back when heart was cheaper, I used it in beef stew as a cheap way to stretch the beef and reduce costs.  Nobody knew unless I told them.  LOL


Joined Jun 19, 2014
Beef heart has a strong beef flavor with a tiny bit of liver flavor in the background.  When I make it into a pie, I always say there is a bit of liver in it.  (The liver flavor is so subtle that some cannot even detect it.).  The fat on the outside is not really fat so much as it is tallow.  Don't discard it, you will need it to keep the flavor.  I slice it into strips so that there is a thin layer of that fat on one side.  ...the consumer will cut it off like cutting the fat off a steak if there is a problem. The fat adds flavor to a very lean cut of meat.  It cooks VERY fast, so keep the temp low, and the fat down on the fry pan.   Watch it like a hawk...the difference between tender and tough is 10 seconds!  Flip once when it is still red.  Make sure it is still quite reddish-pink on the inside, and it will be tender and very tasty.   I cut it diagonally into oblong squarish coins at this point, and add your choice of ground pepper (lemon pepper, Mrs. Dash, whatever...though standard table salt and pepper is MY favorite.  Serve warm.

      (The above is the easiest, and as my first post to this forum, I hope I have not overstepped my bounds)

            Tonight, I will try to smoke it.  A cold smoke, and a medium smoke. A couple of different rubs.  I'll report back.  Hot smoking seems to be a recipe to make leather nuggets....grin!)



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Joined Jul 23, 2008

Difference between beef fat and tallow; the beef fat is on the exterior of the animal before muscle and bone, the tallow is on the interior of the animal, inside the muscle and bone.  Beef tallow is also known as beef suet.  Birds only like beef suet, not beef fat.  In the meatroom, I would make up Bird Balls; grinding beef suet, forming into balls, then rolling in bird feed, then running the stringer through them so they could hang.  The birds loved them!  But if you tried to make them out of beef fat, they wouldn't touch them!   Also, beef suet was popular during Christmas to make Suet Pudding and I'd start saving suet from hinds (the tallow that formed around the kidney) week of Thanksgiving and would package up and freeze it, only to display it Christmas week.
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