The Heart of the Hunt

Simple Grilled Venison Heart

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
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Bear with me, I am going to brag a little. This past weekend was Kentucky’s early two-day muzzleloader season. Potroast, the youngest of our brood and a budding mountain man at heart, decided that he was going to leave his modern in-line gun at home this year and hunt with my CVA Hawken. We put in the range time till I was satisfied with his ability to hit where he was aiming with the open sights and he felt comfortable with the firearm.

Potroast with his blackpowder buck.

Saturday morning dawned clear and crisp, the coldest temperatures we have seen so far this fall. As we sat in the blind overlooking the hardwood draw, only squirrels moved to keep us entertained. About an hour into the hunt, Potroast whispered that he could see a buck out his window. I quietly repositioned till I could see it as well.

The buck was moving up the draw, about 60 yards away. As he entered an opening in the timber at 50 yards, I grunted softly with my voice. The buck stopped and Potroast pulled the trigger. Smoke immediately filled the blind, completely obscuring our sight. As the air began to clear, we could both see the buck on the ground, just feet from where he had been standing. The shot was perfect, the 50 caliber TC Maxi Hunter bullet plowed through the deer’s shoulders, pinning him to the spot. Potroast says he may never hunt with an in-line ML again, and he wants to build a Kentucky Long Rifle from a kit to hunt with next season.

Don't waste one of the best parts of your deer.

As we often do with our deer, we prepared the heart for a snack almost immediately. If you aren’t making use of your deer’s heart, you should be. One of our favorites is to sear the sliced heart on a forevermore-red-scalding-hot grill, but strips dusted in flour and pan fried run a close second. Either way, don’t overcook. Treat it like any other muscle from the deer, rare to medium rare is perfect. A minute or so per side is plenty.

Preparing a heart is easy, here is how we do it.


Rinse the heart well and submerge it in ice water for an hour or two.

Rinse the heart well and soak in ice water.

Begin the trimming process by removing any fat, connective tissue and main arteries.

Trim the fat and connective tissue from the top of the heart.

Open the heart by making a butterfly cut down the center along the artery. Fold the heart out flat.

Butterfly the heart flat and trim well.

Trim away any remaining arteries and connective tissue.

Slice the heart against grain into thin slices

Slice the heart against the grain.


How about you? Eat the heart? Or leave it in the woods? Let us hear your favorite heart recipe.

Cooking Instructions

For this method, salt and pepper both sides of the meat well. Build a charcoal fire or turn your gas grill on high and allow the temperature to rise to high, 500 degrees or more. If you hold your open palm a couple inches above the grill grates, you should immediately feel the need to jerk it away. Sear the heart over direct heat for 60 seconds per side.

Sear the heart quickly over a hot grill.

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