Heart Roast

May 21, 2012 in Categories: , , by

Print Friendly

This method of cooking heart meat was inspired by a quick internet search looking for cooking temperatures for rump roast.  It suddenly occurred to me that this might be a good way to cook heart, since it also can be fairly tough.  Well, it was an epiphany.  The roast was tender with an amazing flavorful (that rich steaky flavor that heart meat should have and not that almost liver-like flavor that it can have at times).  My 2.5 year old even snuck around the table and ate all of my 5-year old’s meat when she wasn’t looking!  Good thing there was more!  This will likely become a weekly staple in our house from now on.  Heart is definitely my favorite organ meat.  I buy mine from a local farmer, but both US Wellness Meats and GrassFed Traditions sells them. The heart I used was on the small side for a beef heart, but I am confident that this would work up to about a 3-4 pound heart size.  If the heart you want to roast is on the 4-6 pound side, I think you can make this even more simply by putting the roast in a pan (make sure it’s one that can handle high temperature cooking) and putting it into a 500F oven for 20 minutes.  Then reduce the temperature to 275F (open the door so the oven cools down to 275 quickly), add the onion, cabbage and broth to the pan and cook for 20 minutes per pound for rare (I have done this successfully with a 4 1/2 pound roast).    This would work beautifully with lamb heart as well.



1.    Trim any vessels or tough sliverskin off the heart meat.  This is easiest with a very sharp boning knife.  Hearts are typically cut open already (part of the USDA inspection before you can buy it).  If not completely open, finish the cut so the meat can lie flat.
2.    Prepare some lengths of butcher twine.  You’ll want 1 to go the length of the heart and then 1 per inch around the width of the heart.
3.    Coast the inside of the heart with crushed garlic, salt and pepper.  Roll the heart up into a roast shape with the seasonings on the inside (I found it easier to cut the heart in half lengthwise, and rotate one half around so that my roast didn’t have a fat side and a skinny side).  Tie the lengthwise truss first.  Then start tying the widthwise trusses every inch or so down the length of the heart, tucking in any bits as you go.  This does take some practice, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect your first time (plus you can always cut a truss and redo it if you need to). When your heart is trussed, sprinkle more salt and pepper around the outside.
4.    Slice onion into ¼” thick semicircles.  Preheat oven to 275F.
5.    Heat an oven-safe skillet, roasting pan or shallow pot over medium-high heat (I used a cast iron frying pan).  Add tallow to the pan.
6.    Place heart in pan and sear on each side, rotating every minute or slightly less with tongs until all sides browned.  Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
7.    Add onion to the frying pan and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add cabbage to pan and stir, until wilted, about 1 minute.
8.    Pour broth into the pan.  Lay the roast on top of the cabbage and onion.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound for rare (25 minutes per pound for medium-rare).
9.    Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.  Remove the trusses, slice and enjoy!  Serve with cabbage and onions.  Also, the broth from the pan can be thickened to make gravy or poured au jus style over mashed cauliflower or turnips.



How about chicken heart? Can you make this using chicken heart? I’m sure the cooking time would be quicker…

Google recipes for chicken heart stew, Im sure there’s one you can adapt easily. I also like turkey hearts, fried medium like a steak, sliced and added to a salad. Looks so pretty and is delicious.

Hi Paola: Did you have any luck with your hearts> I know this was a long time ago, but I just got here…Remember the heart sizes change with the size of the bird. But also the density of the meat is different from one species to another. There will be a lot of chicken heart recipes (as well as livers and gizzard) on the web. they can be readily adapted for the various birds. Turkey is quite big, so will need more time. chicken cook pretty quickly. I generally read thru as many recipes as I can find/have time for when I’m trying a new ingredient. I often take what I think is the best advice from each and put my own recipe together with all the cooking knowledge I already have. Experiment, educated guess, common sense ad an sense of adventure, If it doesn’t go quite right, there’s always next time. Happy cooking.

Hi, I have 4+ pound heart. I think your recommendation is to skip the searing for the large heart and use the 500 degree oven to brown. Is that correct?

I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for your contributions!

I would love to hear how this tasted and its texture from people that have made it. I paleo like the best of them, but some organ meats are just not great to me. I tried beef liver the other night and although I ate it and the flavor was pretty good, the texture was not something I enjoyed. I do like sweetbreads though so I don’t know, I’m weird I guess. BTW, Sarah thanks for all your recipes and post; I really enjoy them

Hi Erik,
I also just decided to take the chance and start eating organ meats. I think we both made rookie mistakes. From my reading and my recent experience, beef liver is the most “livery” and therefore least tasty of all livers. Younger beef livers, calf, chicken are supposed to be better not sure about pork. Anyone else, pls comment. Onto the heart, technically it is a muscle. I just made this and it is delicious. It does not have a smell and tastes like a steak. It is meaty and I made the cabbage with it as Sarah mentioned above and it is awesome. I am going to try chicken livers next.
So I recommend you go for it.

Hi Sarah, Thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately I have 3 lbs of beef liver in my freezer. Does soaking in milk help? How about kidney’s? What is their taste/texture? Thanks again

Jan, If you are not opposed to dairy, I use buttermilk (organic) it does an excellent job of detoxing liver and kidneys. if you have truly fresh liver, it needs to be cleaned. Kidneys, remove the fatty tissue and cut along the lobes. Liver cut along the lobes and remove the large veins. So this is a year later. How did your experiment come out, and are you now happily eating all kinds of offal (organ meats).
I’m just reintroducing them into my diet. I grew up eating them (don’t like tripe or eyes). And now have access to clean meat so thought I would eat the organs as well. Happy cooking and New Year.

Soaking in milk does neutralize the flavor, but I have always been concerned about the calcium in the milk canceling out the iron. I now soak in

I’m slowly implementing the Paleo life style. I’m just put off on using the intestines of the animals. I myself like liver, but I only know how to grill or pan fry it. Can anyone give me some other tips. Thank you p.s I love your blog!

I just made this with a 3 lb. beef heart, searing it first then slowly cooking it for an hour on the barbecue. It tasted good, but there was a slight rubberiness to the texture. Perhaps I overcooked it. Is it also slightly rubbery if you make it rare or medium-rare? I loved the taste of the cabbage (I used purple cabbage and shredded carrot)- it’s a great complement to the gamey flavour of the meat. In addition to the garlic I stuffed the heart with fresh herbs- tarragon, thyme, and parsley, which gave off a nice aroma and made it more palatable.

Do you have any tips for making the roast more tender in texture? Thank you for your very informative blog!

Hi Yours sounded great. I did mine today–roasted it covered but laying flat as if butterflied. in the oven with herbs and a seasoned oil rub (salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika-lots of each as heart is a strong flavor– then slitted the meat and put in garlic slices. Placed on a bed of herbs–sage, rosemary, thyme and garlic. baked about 25 min at 325. it was Well done, but certainly not rubbery–actually quite smooth and tender. Did not remove silverskin, fat cap or valves. Roasted it all together. The fat cap melted very nicely and we used the fat as a basting liquid over the meat about 1/2 way thru–maybe that is why it was so tender in spite of being a little overdone. (I strained and froze the rendered fat for another time). There was so much fat in the bottom of the roasting pan, that while the meat was resting we cut up some root veggies and cooked them in the fat for about 20 minutes. Hope you have many more exciting food adventures.

I am doing Paleo AIP successfully. My nemesis is I am allergic to alliums. Any recommendations? I have loved beef heart in the past. Not sure what to do in place of or how to adapt recipes for organ meats. Chicken hearts are no problem, I like them plain. Beef heart eludes me so far. Suggestions appreciated.

Hi Lisa: (This has turned out to be quite long, either you will be bored or give up, but here goes.) Well, I’m not really doing paleo–but beginning to consider it. I came to this sight to learn to cook beef heart. I was lucky enough to score some privately raised beef this fall. I got the heart, kidneys, tongue. . I didn’t think about much of the other stuff–but I should have; except for the liver it all got tossed. next time…Anyway, back to the heart. I grew up eating these parts and my Dad roasted the heart. I don’t know where you ended up. But I roasted mine today. I read a bunch of recipes–most were for braising or grilling. I didn’t want to braise and don’t have a grill. I didn’t do all the cleaning that so many recipes said to do. I washed it down, but left on the sliverskin and valves and dense fat cap. When I tried to remove them I found that (since I am not a skilled butcher) I was removing way too much meat. so Ieft it all on. I decided to cook it like a butterflied leg or shoulder of lamb. I had cut my heart in 1/2 and froze each half–so today I roasted 1/2 a heart. It was so big that I cut it in 1/2 again. Mostly to fit in the pan that I had. But then they opened up (like a split chicken breast might be. So I made some slits all over and pushed in some garlic pieces. (I know you are allergic to alliums–I have a suggestion at the end). Made a oil based rub :avocado oil, garlic granules, salt and pepper and paprika. rubbed this all over inside and out. Then stuffed the cavity with fresh broken pieces of sage rosemary and thyme. Then instead of tying it up–I opened each piece flat with the herbs under neath and sprinkled over the top. I preheated the oven to 325F and cooked for 25 minutes–for us it was overdone. I didn’t expect it to cook so quickly. Took it out and let it rest. There was such a nice bath of herbs and fat that had melted from the fat cap that I cut up several potatoes and yams and cooked them the fat. About 20 minutes or so. Even though it was overdone it was delicious. Just a little dry. wonderful flavors. I saved the balance of the fat-froze for later use.

Now for your dilemma for flavor: This and most organ meats have very strong flavor, so you would want herbs/seasonings the same. Do you have a flavor profile that you like: mediterranean, asian, african, french,etc. What are the strong flavors of that cuisine? Add some citrus if you like that (I didn’t because my son doesn’t and I made this for him as a Christmas present–for me I would have used some lemon as well. And use more herbs than you think you need. The meat is very strong and can hold up to it. I might have liked a sprinkle of heat, but my son does not. Ours was really good anyway.

For us, eating these meats is an adventure. So have fun with it. Allrecipes.com is a window to cuisines from around the world. If you go to the very bottom of the home page you will find a list of countries where they have recipes from. (Maybe you know this already) Not all in English, but many are or have some recipes in English. Africa, UK, Indonesia, some of them have recipes for offal. You might find more there. Also, an older version of Joy of cooking–mine is from 1979 –has an excellent section about food of all kinds. There is a section for offal and has some recipes for each of the body parts. The oxtail stew is amazing! I grew up on that recipe. One day I went to an African restaurant in Berkeley. Oxtail stew was on the menu, so I thought that I would have it–compare the taste with the one I had growing up. It tasted exactly the same! The Chef was from Africa and he grew up with the same recipe.We had a lovely talk about our different food cultures. He was just as amazed that I knew exactly how he made his stew! So Joy knows what they are doing. It is a great cookbook to learn about food and cooking (I learned to can and make bread from it as well!). I would love to connect and see how you are doing–maybe get a few pointers from your adventures in foods. There is a lot I haven’t tried yet. But only a little I’m afraid of–eyes?!!?

Take care Happy Cooking and Happy New Year

Made this tonight and enjoyed it very much. I seasoned the outside with steak seasoning and instead of searing the meat I followed the instructions from The Food Lab for prime rib – we cooked it at 275 first until it hit an internal temperature of 120 and then I took it out and let it rest. Then right before we were ready to eat I drizzled it with some tallow and put it back in at 550 for about 10 minutes. It came out beautifully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *