Smoked Beef Heart


Growing up, heart was not something I ever ate with any regularity. I would occasionally sample a piece of pickled beef heart once a year at our family reunion, but beyond that I never had any interest in eating it.

Fast forward to several years ago. I had saved the hearts from a few of the deer I had killed during that hunting season. I cleaned the hearts and sliced them into steaks. I cooked them simply with salt, pepper and a good sear. While I personally enjoyed this preparation very much, not many others seemed to.

If you’ve never eaten heart, it is hard to describe. Unlike other organ meat, the heart is a muscle, but it does not share the texture of the other muscles. It is much softer, and for some not appealing.

When I acquired a few beef hearts, I knew I would have to find a way to make the meat appealing to a wider audience. Through marinating and smoking, something interesting happens to the texture of the meat. It becomes more firm, and reminiscent of a slice of roast beef. This makes it ideal for serving on a platter along side crackers, cheese, olives or whatever other small bites you prefer to offer your friends and family. I promise you will have many surprised guests who will not believe the meat they are eating comes from the heart.

Preparing The Meal

Start by cleaning and rinsing the heart.  In a ziploc bag or non reactive container, add all of the ingredients and mix together.  Place in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours. Near the end of the marinating time, start the smoker at 180℉ with any fruit or nut wood.  I typically use either apple, hickory, or pecan wood. Remove the heart from the marinade and place in the smoker. Cook at 180℉ until the heart reaches an internal temperature of 130 to 145.  Remove the heart and allow it to rest 15 minutes. Thinly slice the heart and serve along side your preferred assortment of crackers, cheese, mustard, and horseradish.


  • 1 Heart

  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce

  • ¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce

  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper

To Serve

  • Horseradish

  • Mustard

  • Cheese

  • Crackers

Ty Kepler