This article is brought to you by Man Therapy
Heart. The universal symbol for life, love, and connection. Not often viewed as the nutrient-rich, delicious cut that it is, the heart muscle, butchered and treated well, yields tender and flavorful meat. If you’re fortunate to get your hands on either a beef or wild game heart, you should definitely consider making thin jerky with it!
Here are some tips and tricks on taking your heart from whole muscle, into a delicious snack:
1. The heart is covered in a layer of fat and connective tissue that will need to be carefully trimmed off. The best tool for the job is a sharp knife and a gentle touch.
2. Slide your knife right under the top layer of the heart, tilting your knife up toward the connective tissue and away from the meat below it. Your non-knife hand should be gently pulling at that top layer as you cut. You’ll repeat that process all of the way around the muscle.
3. It is much easier to clean that outer layer while the heart is still whole. It will allow you to see the seam separating the chambers. Follow that seam, gently rolling the heart open.
4. Cut out all of the arteries and connective tissue. You want to end up with nothing but sections of the red meat muscle.
5. Slice the heart into ¼” strips. Here, against or with the grain doesn’t matter, any way you slice it, the heart will be tender and delicious.
6. Once you have your heart all sliced up, get your seasonings together. This part is all about your personal palate. You want to include salt, sweet, sour and savory flavors all to taste. I use a mix of Worcestershire sauce, Adobo (an all-in-one seasoning mix), coarse ground pepper, honey, raw garlic, and generous scoops of hot oil that I buy from my local Chinese restaurant.
7. I like to marinade my heart jerky for a minimum of 48 hours to allow the flavors to blend and penetrate the meat.
8. Once you’re ready to cook your jerky, set up your dehydrator with the temperature between 160-175.
9. You’re aiming for a 10-12 hour cook time depending on the set temperature and your personal taste. I like mine a little drier and firmer since I’m using a wet marinade. A dry seasoning may take less time. At this point, you’ll want to check on your jerky every few hours, sneak a taste test and decide when it’s right for you.
10. Congratulations! You have made thin heart jerky! Now all that’s left is to enjoy the tasty product of your labor.
Serves: 1-8 people
Time to make: 60 hours
Special equipment: dehydrator
Also make with: any lean meat
Looking for more jerky recipes? Try out this Bourbon Venison Jerky!
Try our Delicious Wild Fish and Game Spice Blends!