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beef heart
Beef, Economical, Healthy, Main Dishes

Grilled Beef Heart

by Nick

As I cook more and more, I’ve found myself venturing into cuts of meat that are less popular – like offal.

There’s a few reasons for this really:

1) It’s boring to cook the same cut over and over again. It can be a fun challenge to figure out a new cut of beef.

2) It way more economical and efficient (and I believe important) to know how to eat the whole animal.

3) Assuming you cook it correctly, it can be really delicious.

I’m lucky enough to be married to someone who is pretty adventurous and will try almost anything once especially after I made her lengua tacos that she still talks about today.

Cooking beef heart was a new one for me though and there’s no doubt about it. It takes a little HEART to cook a big one.

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Grilled Beef Heart

Ingredients

  • 1 whole beef heart (about 2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Polenta or other starch
  • Gremolata: (From my short rib ragu recipe)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon zest and 1/2 of the juice
  • 1/4 Cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

1) Take your whole heart and, with a sharp knife, go over both sides of it removing any sinewy parts including skin and tendons.  You should be left with a uniform piece of meat that resembles a very lean steak.

2) Cut the heart steak into 1/2 inch slices.  Drizzle on some olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

3) Grill heart strips on high heat for about 3 minutes per side for medium rare.  Once the steaks come off the grill, let them rest for a few minutes before serving.  Cover them with foil to keep them warm.

4) Mix gremolata ingredients together ahead of time and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes (30 would be good).

5) Serve a few heart strips over a starch (like polenta).  Top with gremolata.

Preparing the Heart

When it comes to finding a whole beef heart, you might have to do some searching. It probably won’t be in your local Kroger. Ask around at butchers and check out farmer’s markets (where I got mine).

The good news is that if you find one, it’ll probably be dirt cheap. I was able to snag a grass-fed free-range heart for about $2/pound.

When I brought it home, Betsy was a bit squeamish about it I think. Mainly just because it looks like, well, a heart.

heart

Yep. That’s a heart.

The thing to remember about a heart is that it’s basically one big muscle with lots of compartments and valves made of tough tendons.

Grab a sharp knife and spend some time going over both sides of the heart, slicing off anything that looks chewy.

You should be left with a steak that is basically the leanest cut of meat you’ll ever see from a cow.

cleaned

All cleaned up.

Cut this into 1/2 inch strips and drizzle on some olive oil. Then season them liberally with salt and pepper.

salt and pepper

Season liberally…

Cooking the Heart

Unlike some cuts of offal which take a long time to prepare, heart is about as easy as it gets. You want to cook it like a steak basically: Hot and Fast.

So fire up that grill (or cast iron skillet) and crank the heat up to high. The heart steaks will take only about 3 minutes per side to be a nice medium rare.

grilling

Really easy to grill.

Be sure to let your heart rest for a few minutes when it comes off the grill before serving it. Just be sure to cover them with foil to keep them warm.

The Gremolata

I decided to serve my heart with a popular Italian topping called gremolata. It’s basically an acidic, herby, salty creation that goes really well with beef.

toppings

See where I’m going here?

Just mix everything together and let it marinate for a few minutes at room temperature. You’ll be left with this sauce that goes great on pretty much any cut of beef.

toppings

Put this on anything really.

Serving Options

I recommend serving these guys with some sort of starch. I chose polenta just to keep with the Italian theme but you could use egg noodles or a ton of other starches.

Assuming you do use polenta, just cook it according to the package and, if you want, you could mix in some grated cheese.

A side of veggies doesn’t hurt for this dish also because the heart and starch combo can be a bit heavy.

plated

Price at a restaurant?

I cut into one of my heart strips just so you could see the finished product.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to not overcook these guys.

sliced

Perfect.

At the end of the day, I thought this was a really tasty cut of meat. Betsy didn’t love it, but she readily admitted that that was mainly because she couldn’t get over the fact that she was eating heart.

I found the flavor to be a lot more mild than some other offal cuts if you can get past the whole heart thing…

What do you think? Anybody else tried beef heart before?

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18 comments on “Grilled Beef Heart

  1. Yes! I used to eat beef heart when I was a kid. My Great-Grandmother used to braise it. It was so delicious – I still remember it today. I commend your wife for being brave enough to try it out. Mine is not so brave. In fact, IF I was to prepare something like this, it would have to be hidden from her. LOL
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  2. My mother used to make beef heart during the war (that would be WWII for most of your readers who are too young to remember it) when meat was rationed. Even then, the butcher would ask her if it was for the dog. If only it had been; I hated it almost as much as I hated liver. But then, my Pennsylvania Dutch mother was not much of a cook. I commend you for trying it and Betsy for going along with it!

  3. Yep, I eat beef heart. Then again, I'm Japanese, and both beef heart and chicken heart are common in Yakitori places. It's delicious! And so is every other kind of offal!!

    Actually, for most yakitori enthusiasts in Japan, offal is more popular then regular meat!

  4. I love beef heart. I usually brine mine in apple cider vinegar overnight to help cut down on some of the mineral/metallic taste. I then slice it thin, dust it with seasoned flour, pan fry it, saute onions & carrots, deglaze with red wine, add a little beef stock and throw the meat back in to braise for about 90 minutes. Finish it off with some sauteed mushrooms and a little sweet cream butter, and serve it over egg noodles.

  5. As a vegetarian, this falls into the category of "I'd cook it but never eat it." I don't doubt that my better half would be game though. I applaud your endeavor to try to get to know the whole animal. I think a return to this way of eating is postive change from the mindset of eaters who eat a hamburger or a fish stick without knowing and understanding its source beyond the grocery store or restaurant. Plus, I bet it rocked the charts on B vitmins. Interesting post.

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  6. Come to Peru. You can buy tender beef heart on a stick any night. I have never tried it, but it always looks and smells so good.

  7. My daughter went to Peru when she was in college and she had beef heart at a restaurant there and has raved about it ever since. If anybody knows how to cook it Peruvian style please let me know!

  8. I read your blog daily and came across this older recipe while looking for a polenta recipe. I was reluctant the first time I tried beef heart, also. My husband is Peruvian, so the first time I tried it was in Peru. One of their most famous dishes (served either as an appetizer or meal depending on portions) is anticuchos. Have you heard of it? It’s basically beef heart on skewers. It is amazing!!! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s something you should definitely look into. I’m sure you could come up with your own amazing version!

  9. what a great recipe; I never ate beef heart but love liver, tripe, sweetbread so I thought why not? the heart turned out great; thank you so much.

    james

  10. Yes, we eat heart (chicken, turkey and beef, at least) I’ve stuffed it and baked it and done it similarly to what you suggest. You’re right, most people find heart a lot easier to consume than other organ meats.

  11. Trying this 2 day marinate and then doing a slow broil, also could grill

    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    good sprinkle of basil
    good sprinkle of thyme
    1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon of smoked salt crystals – flake size not grains.
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Mix all the thin slices of beef heart in with the oil, sauce, vinegar , mix in dry ingredients and hand mix and rub all the piece with sauce dry mix in the bowl.

    Rub it in like a jerky rub, don’t just pour it on.

    Cover and place in fridge for 48 hours

    Coat with smears of butter

    Broil or grill

    Don’t know if this will work or not, but though I would try it.

    1. Hey Chris, that sounds good to me except smoked salt is typically a finishing salt. It’s pretty expensive to use in a marinade although I guess you aren’t using much of it. I would use liquid smoke for a similar effect and save the smoked salt (especially the flakes) for a finishing touch.

      Good luck!

  12. Absolutely spot on. I cooked the heart on a hot griddle and served with gnocchi and green beans. The gremolata absolutely makes this simple dish offsetting the Ox heart (like lean steak) with a beautifully zesty light touch. If I had to score it out of 10 it would be right up there. Terrific

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