Quick and Easy Venison Heart – Cast Iron Recipes
One of the most tender cuts of venison is the heart. The venison itself has a slightly playful taste and is noticeably harder due to the lack of fat compared to farm-raised animals. With a simple brine and quick cut, you can enjoy a deliciously tender deer heart, making use of everything the animal has to give.
Hunting season is here
It’s that time of year! Our family makes the most of the land and what it has to offer. And every year our numbers grow as our family does. We have 6 children plus my husband and I. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. And with the cost of living, groceries, constantly rising, supply chains having problems, etc. The need to rely on the land and support the natural ecosystem is something settlers and cast iron enthusiasts are familiar with.
Using Every Part of the Deer
We do not take for granted what is offered to us here in our land. So we are very conscious of using every part of the deer. Much of the venison will be made into ground beef for use in hearty and hearty recipes like chili, while other cuts will be used as roasts, bones will be used for broth, and venison heart will be treated as an elegant steak dinner.
How to Brine
Heart The secrets of a tender deer heart (or any animal) include proper trimming and brining. Brine is needed to help cleanse the heart of excess blood that can leave a metallic taste in food if not handled. The best way to do this, according to an Allen follower in my Facebook group Cast Iron Recipes, is with the use of salt, sugar, bay leaves, and thyme. Thanks Allen! I was not disappointed!
To make a brine, you will need about 6 cups of water to completely submerge the heart. Place this water in a pot on the stove. Add about 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 bay leaves, and a heaping packet of fresh thyme. Heat this liquid over the stove and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Then remove the pot from the stove and let the liquid cool completely.
While cooling, rinse the deer heart in the sink with cold water, compressing the heart in the process to help expel excess blood. Once cleaned, place it in the container in which it brines. Pour the cooled brine over the heart and recompress it to help the brine fluid enter the heart and remove any air pockets.
Cover the container with plastic wrap or the corresponding cover if available. Place it in the refrigerator, or outside if it’s cold enough, for 1 hour per pound or overnight if you can.
What does the
heart of deer taste like?
Deer heart is very tender but dense. I compare it to a cross between a high-end beef steak and a pork loin. There is little or virtually no fat that requires the cooking method to be low and slow like a full heart that has been trimmed, or with a quick cut like a typical steak. Aim for a rare to medium-rare treatment of steaks.
How to cook
Being a tender cut of meat, and a thin one, you’ll want to act quickly with a hot pan to cook the steaks
Heat the pan and use an oil with a high smoke point, plus a little butter. Put the oil and butter in the pan and the butter will begin to melt immediately. Place your seasoned steaks in the pan and seal for no more than 2 minutes on each side. Add garlic and herbs to the pan as well.
Note that the cuts will want to return to their original circular shape. If you have a cast iron bacon press, use it on top of the fillets, as it will help them lay flat for more even cooking. If you don’t, you can also use a smaller pan and simply place it on top. Again, weight will really help. Just do this for the first side, as the second side will suffice.
After turning the steaks, tilt the pan and use a spoon to collect the frying liquid and place a spoon over the cuts of meat and the top of the pan. Do this for a minute or so. Constant cooking will really help infuse the steaks with the buttery goodness of garlic grass.
Remove from the pan and place a piece of aluminum foil that you can cover. Let the deer stand for 5-10 minutes. It will continue to cook lightly and allow the juices to be redistributed, so we just want to briefly cook this in the pan.
What to serve
A typical heart can serve 2-3 adults. We were able to feed our whole family with one heart and its three steaks. Of course, the children didn’t eat as much as we did, and of course we had sides.