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From the anticuchos of Peru to the stews of Morocco, beef heart is widely enjoyed around the world. Americans used to eat more beef heart before the mid-twentieth century’s industrialization of beef, but in recent years beef heart has been unfortunately and widely mistaken as a funkier and fatty organ meat, similar to kidneys or liver.

While we are big fans of all offal, the official word for organ meats, the heart is much closer to the texture of a steak than other offal. It is a lean cut and tastes delicious with a good marinade.

Today, we’re going to cover a bit of general information about beef heart and how to use them, and then we’ll go into detail about the best ways to cook them and offer a few of our favorite recipes.

Beef heart basics

Beef hearts are the hearts of cattle and typically weigh between 3-4 pounds. A single beef heart can easily serve four to five people!

Like other types of offal, beef heart is packed full of nutrients. It’s also known for having very little fat, making it lean and meaty.

Since beef heart isn’t a popular cut, it’s generally cheaper. This means it’s a fantastic way to build offal into your diet on a budget.

What does beef heart taste like?

Beef heart is often compared to steak. It’s lean, a little metallic, and a bit more gamey than steak, but it’s not as gamey as venison. It also doesn’t have nearly as much of that characteristic musk that other offal is known for, making it an ideal choice for getting into organ meats.

You’ll be surprised by how familiar it feels and tastes!

The most common ways beef heart is used

Here are the most popular ways beef heart is used. You really can’t go wrong!

  • Mixed into ground beef
  • Stews
  • Peruvian beef skewers (anticuchos)
  • Various rice dishes
  • Cut and grilled like a steak
  • Braised and used as the base for wraps
  • Beef heart jerky
  • Chili
  • Gumbo

The more you discover about the world of beef heart, the more ways you find how to use it!

How to clean beef heart

Beef heart, like other offal, requires a bit of prep before you cook it, but it’s actually kind of fun. It’s not that much work, and there is something viscerally entertaining about cutting the chambers and preparing the heart (it sounds morbid but… trust us).

Here’s how to clean a beef heart[*].

  1. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  2. Trim all the fat and membranes on the outside.
  3. Cut the heart diagonally, separating the four chambers.
  4. Then, get rid of all the valves, tendons, and other pits that feel tough and gristly.
  5. Rinse again.
  6. Slice or grind as desired.

4 ways to cook beef heart

Beef heart is a very forgiving meat. Whether you’re cooking it like a steak or grinding it into a stew, the meat is generally tender and easy to work with.

Here are our favorite ways to cook beef heart.

Method 1: Flash Fry (Steak-Style)

This is the no-frills steak-style way of preparing beef heart. It doesn’t take much work and is delicious!

  1. Clean and prepare the beef heart.
  2. Slice into steak size slices (½ inch thickness or so)
  3. Pat dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Blast a cast iron skillet or grill on high heat.
  5. Cook for three minutes or so on each side, getting a nice crust.
  6. Baste in compound butter just like steak (optional)
  7. Cook to 160 or medium rare.
  8. Let sit for five to ten minutes to allow the protein strands to relax and soak up the juices.
  9. Slice thinly and serve.

Method 2: Overnight Marinade

This is the same idea as steak-style but adds a marinade in to tenderize and give more flavor to the meat.

  1. Clean and prepare the beef heart.
  2. Slice into steak size slices (½ inch thickness or so)
  3. Salt and pepper generously.
  4. Prepare a marinade of shallots, oil, and whatever other seasonings you’d like.
  5. Let sit for at least an hour and anywhere up to 24 hours.
  6. Remove from the fridge.
  7. Blast a cast iron skillet or grill on high heat.
  8. Cook for three minutes or so on each side, getting a nice crust.
  9. Baste in compound butter just like steak (optional)
  10. Cook to 160 or medium rare.
  11. Let sit for five to ten minutes to allow the protein strands to relax and soak up the juices.
  12. Slice thinly and serve.

Method 3: Ground Beef Mix

This is a great way to sneak heart into just about any recipe you can think of.

  1. Clean and prepare the beef heart.
  2. Use a hand grinder or finely chop until it resembles a ground beef.
  3. Combine with regular ground beef at a ratio of 2:3 or higher (because the heart has barely any fat, if you add too much heart your ground beef won’t hold together).
  4. Season and form into patties, add into pasta, or store for any other ground beef recipes.

Method 4: Braise

Inspired by All Recipes, braising with a good wine deglaze takes a little more time and effort but is a wonderful way to prepare beef heart.

  1. Clean and prepare the heart.
  2. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. Dredge slices in flour and season with salt and pepper
  4. Add three tablespoons or so of butter to a dutch oven.
  5. Add the slices and cook for 30 seconds or so.
  6. Deglaze with wine and add beef broth, vegetables, and whatever else you like.
  7. Simmer for an hour or so until vegetables are tender.
  8. Serve with fresh bread and red wine.

Is beef heart healthy?

Being part of the offal family, the heart is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s full of folate, iron, zinc, and selenium, along with a lot of B vitamins, including B2, B6, and B12[*]. B vitamins, in particular, protect against heart disease and are a great addition to your diet[*].

Heart meat is also a good source of CoQ10 or the coenzyme Q10. This antioxidant helps treat and prevent heart disease, slows down aging, and can improve energy levels[*].

It’s still meat, so you should eat it within the context of a balanced diet, but when eaten in moderation, beef heart is a delicious and nutritious option!

Here’s a breakdown of a typical 3oz beef heart serving[*]:

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbs: 0.1g
  • Protein: 24.2g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 180mg
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Iron: 5.4mg
  • Magnesium: 17.8mg
  • Choline: 194.5mg
  • Phosphorus: 215mg
  • Zinc: 2.4mg
  • B vitamins: including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, and folate

Where to buy beef heart

Since Americans tend to eat muscle meats and avoid offal, beef heart can be a little tricky to find. You may be able to call your butcher ahead of time, but outside of that your best bets are international markets or working with a good online retailer (we take great pride in our grass-fed beef heart!).

And keep in mind, how the cattle are raised has a huge impact on the nutrition and taste of the beef you eat. For example, fatty deposits can build up around the heart and kidneys if they are eating poorly. So if the animal has led an unhealthy life, their organs will reflect that.

That’s why doctors and nutritionists recommend sourcing organ meats from farms that use organic and pasture-raised practices[*]. The meat also tastes way better!

Our 5 favorite beef heart recipes

If you’re ready to give cooking beef heart a go, then pick up some 100% pasture-raised beef heart, choose your recipe, and then get going!

1. Easy Grilled Beef Heart

For a low-effort (but not low taste!) option, check out this spin on Peruvian anticuchos. These are really quick to whip and are a fun and more adventurous option for your next grill out or weeknight meal. Throw some fresh zucchini, grilled avocado, or potatoes alongside it to complete this meal.

2. Beef Heart Confit With Sous Vide Beets

If you’re feeling a little fancy and are a sous vide junkie like myself, then check out this beef heart confit recipe. Cooking the beef heart in tallow complements the lack of fat in the heart and comes together to make a fantastic dish. Serve with wine or whatever sides you like to eat with steak!

3. Beef Heart Stir Fry

With tri-colored carrots, beef heart, spiralized zucchini, and purple potatoes, it’s tough to find a healthier stir fry. You can mix and match any of the veggies as you see fit, and you can even add in a mixture of meat if you’d like. Just prepare your ingredients ahead of time, blast a wok to 10, and have some fun!

4. Organ Meat Stew

This organ meat stew is ideal for Keto, Carnivore, GAPS, AIP, Paleo, Primal, and Whole30 diets. Beef heart isn’t the only offal represented here, so if you’re curious about kidneys, then give this one a shot. This is jam-packed with nutrients and is so tasty when you use bone broth!

5. Braised Beef Heart With Bone Marrow

This braised beef heart recipe from Offally Good Cooking is even better than their puntastic name. Serving the beef heart over rich mashed potatoes or polenta and letting all of the wonderful juices and bone marrow seep into them is so very good. Use fresh rosemary and grass-fed beef heart for the best results!

The bottom line on beef heart

Beef heart is such a delicious and fun way to get the nutritional and tasty benefits of offal into your life. They are cheap, feel like steak, and are easy to work with. You can’t go wrong.

So ditch the fear, pick up some 100% grass-finished and grass-fed beef heart, choose a recipe, and enjoy a fantastic meal.

And remember, nothing beats the taste of beef raised with the health of the steers and planet in mind. So reward your body and your taste buds with beef that’s made the way beef should be:

Get our 100% pasture-raised beef heart delivered to your door — you won’t find better beef heart, we guarantee it.

 


Nathan PhelpsNathan Phelps

Nathan Phelps is a writer, ethical foodie, and outdoors-aficionado hailing from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.

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