Organ meats don’t tend to be most people’s first choice. If you know how to prepare them, you will be surprised at how tasty and versatile they can be. Some studies show that the nutrient count of these cuts can be anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher than typical muscle meats. Combined with the fact that they are also very affordable, organ meats should be on everyone’s cooking radar.
Beef heart is one of the best organs to start with. It’s more like an actual muscle than something like beef liver and therefore the texture and flavor is not much different than a traditional steak. Have your butcher trim this organ into cook-ready steaks so that it is already portioned.
Prep Time: 24 hours (for marinating)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
May We Suggest:
Large ziploc bag, to marinate beef heart steaks
Hickory wood chips, for smoking strawberries
Aluminum foil, for wood chip pouch
1 lb beef heart steak, trimmed and cut into 4 ¼ lb pieces
1 large bunch spinach
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cup bacon, diced
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
½ bunch basil, for garnish
For the marinade:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
Step 1: Marinate the beef heart. Since beef heart tends to be on the leaner side, it does very well with a simple marinade of oil and vinegar. Place the steaks on a plate and apply the oil and vinegar, turning to coat each steak. Now season both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place the steaks into the Ziploc bag and pour any remaining oil and vinegar into the bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. Keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Start the grill and prepare your ingredients. Remove the beef heart steaks from the fridge and let them rest at room temperature while getting your other ingredients ready. If you are using a charcoal grill, you don’t need a full chimney’s worth of coals, unless you plan on grilling additional items. Wash and dry your spinach. Place the strawberries on a tray, ideally with a rack so that air can circulate. Chiffonade your basil by rolling the leaves from side to side and using a sharp knife to cut them into ribbons. Wrap about ½ cup of wood chips in a foil pouch, poking holes in the top and bottom so heat can enter and exit.
Step 3: Grill the beef heart steaks. Place your hot coals on one side of the grill, creating a direct and indirect heat zone. Place the steaks directly over the coals and grill them, turning the steaks at least once during the process. If some of your steaks are thick, you may be able to grill them on more than just the top and bottom. The steaks will shrink up a bit as they cook. I recommend cooking the steaks until they are medium rare, which is usually about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your coals. If you have an internal probe thermometer, the internal temperature will read 132 degrees when the meat is cooked. Once the steaks are finished cooking, remove them from the grill and let them rest on a plate while you finish the rest of the dish.
Step 4: Render your bacon and smoke the strawberries.Place your wood chip pouch directly on the coals and wait a few minutes while it heats up and starts to smoke. Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of olive oil to a pan over medium-low heat and add your diced bacon. Let this cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon fat is fully rendered and the bacon bits reach a golden brown color. Once your foil pouch begins to smoke, place your tray of strawberries on the indirect-heat side of the grill. Close the grill and let the strawberries smoke for about 10 minutes while the bacon cooks. Once the bacon cooks, remove the pieces from the pan and let them drain on a paper towel.
Step 5: Dress the spinach. Pour the hot, rendered bacon fat over the spinach in a bowl. If the bacon has cooled, just reheat it so that you can pour it on your spinach. Mix your spinach to evenly coat the leaves. The spinach should start to slightly wilt from the heat of the bacon fat. Then, mix in the balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the slightly wilted spinach to a plate. Remove the tops from the strawberries and slice them in half. Arrange about one-quarter of the strawberries on top of the spinach, sprinkle with the crispy bacon bits and finish by adding the chiffonade basil over the top.
Step 6: Slice the beef heart. Using a sharp knife, cut the beef heart into ⅓ inch slices. I prefer to cut the steak diagonally, because it looks nicer on your plate. Arrange your beef heart slices next to the spinach and drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Add salt to your beef heart, to taste.
Finally, serve and enjoy this delicious, nutrient-dense and under-appreciated cut of meat!