Heart, is, in my opinion an underappreciated meat by the majority here in the United States and is a topic that I want to cover in this post. If I name my top three cuts of meat, heart would be right in there along with tongue and my #1 favorite…filet Mignon. A meat lover would be crazy to absolutely tender and juicy fall apart in the mouth goodness of filet. I know we all have different tastes and preferences so if you don’t enjoy filet Mignon, I guess we can still be friends.
Filet Mignon in general is fairly lean cut of meat, but I digress. Let’s focus on the meat of the issue….the heart. I mentioned that tongue is also a favorite of mine and I find it interestingly that tongue is one of the fattiest cuts on the animal, while heart is one of the leanest. Heart has to be, because of the all the physical activity it preforms. If it was full of fatty tissue, it wouldn’t be very effective and would cause problems for the owner like not pumping properly or increasing the risk for heart attacks.
Because heart has VERY LITTLE fat on, overcooking will result in tough and chewy meat….not good at all. This is why I like to choose hearts from animals that can be cooked medium rare to rare in doneness, which includes beef, venison, and lamb. That being said, I cook my hearts medium-rare to rare and they are absolutely delicious. Although, fat does carry flavor, so seasonings and such need to be added while cooking.
The nutritional profile of heart is quite impressive. According to Livestrong.com (link here); beef heart contains all essential amino acids (those the body cannot make and can only get from food), zinc, selenium, B vitamins, potassium, lycopene, sodium, phosphorus, double the amount of elastin and collagen compared to other cuts, more omega 3 fatty-acids in grass-fed animals, and is highly concentrated in coenzyme Q10 AKA CoQ10. CoQ10 plays a role in increasing energy levels, supporting the immune system, and is an antioxidant. Elastin/Collagen and important for healthy, smooth skin. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in your skin.
If you like heart, check out this link from Chris Kesser which is all about other organ meats, their nutrient profile, and links to recipes. Heart is an amazing lean cut of meat that is delicious, nutritious and underappreciated. Consuming heart gives your body an abundant array of vitamins, minerals leading to beneficial effects. When cooked properly, heart is something will please even the pickiest of meat eaters. Just don’t tell them it is good for them, because anything healthy can’t taste good, right?…Wrong, that’s what we like to think, but these venison heart steaks are absolutely hands down delicious, wholesome, and do I dare say it….healthy.