Story and Photos by: Paul Survey
As sustainable hunters, we always want to use as much of the animals we harvest as possible. This includes the heart!
Some people shy away from eating the heart, but it’s a delicacy with a high nutritional value that should not be overlooked. In fact, supplements are now made using the nutrients directly from the heart muscle. Elk's heart is very nutritious and one of the highest natural sources of CoEnzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10. CoQ10 has been linked to improved aging, exercise performance, heart health, diabetes, fertility, and migraines. Who doesn't want that?
Energetically speaking, there is nothing more spiritual than eating the heart of an animal. It is the center of their energy system and generates strong feelings connected to their soul. Some Native cultures believe in taking a bite out of the animal's raw heart as a symbol of taking on the qualities of the animal – bravery, strength, and agility. My wife and I haven't eaten it raw, but believe everything carries energy, and eating the heart of a wild animal can fill you with the qualities of that animal. However, my wife and I prefer to cook it first- lol.
So how does heart taste? Our personal opinion - it tastes delicious! It’s very mild and tender. No matter the age of the animal, the heart always has the same consistency. We like to make heart into tacos, pan fry it in butter and garlic, or bread small pieces for heart nuggets. Our favorite way to prepare it occurs right after a successful hunt. My wife and I like to gather together around a small fire, clean up the fresh heart and grill it over the open flames. If we remember to pack in spices, we will coat it with steak seasoning and share fire-roasted strips while retelling the adventure of the hunt. Truly, it is one of the best culinary experiences to have on the mountain.
Check out our YouTube video on how to prepare a heart. How to Prepare and Clean a HUGE Elk Heart 101! *DIY Butcher*
Elk Heart Preparation Steps:
- Keep the heart clean in the field by keeping it in a game bag or Ziploc bag. It will dry out quickly if you don’t do this.
- Clean and rinse all the blood clots out of the ventricles while it is still whole.
- Trim the fat and veins from the outside of the heart.
- Cut the heart in half and trim veins from the inside of the ventricles. Clean out more of the blood clots if they are visible.
- Slice the heart so it lays flat, similar to butterflying a steak. You should now have a flat piece of lean and delicious meat.
- Cut up into cubes or strips ready for cooking.
Good luck on your next hunting adventure and let us know your favorite way to prepare a big game heart. We would love to hear about your experiences eating the heart of your big game kill, nutritionally and energetically!
All the Best,
Paul & Dee Servey