Any hunter who dresses his own kill knows to never waste his kill. While flanks, steaks, and stew meat can be cut from the kill, and sausage can be made with seasonings and the intestinal track, one should not overlook the tasty snack of pickled deer hearts! Once you try it, you won't think twice about it ever again!
A friend of my family is an avid outdoorsman. He goes fishing regularly, and makes a trip deer hunting every year he can. He has taught me a lot about deer, and what can be done with the product of a successful hunt. He's a kind older gentleman, with a lot of experience under his belt.
I picked up this recipe from him several years ago. My family was invited over for a grill after his hunting trip. He offered us this treat, and I've loved it since. I asked him to divulge the secret recipe and he was more than delighted to share it with me.
Bobby's Pickled Deer Hearts
1 Venison Heart
Cup of Pickling Spice
2 Cups Water
3 Cups of White Wine Vinegar or Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Sliced Onion
2-4 Cloves of Garlic
Start by quartering the venison heart, quarter garlic cloves, and slice onions.
Cooking the Heart
Boil the heart in one cup of water, one and a half cups of vinegar, and a quarter-cup of pickling spice at a simmer until the heart is cooked and tender. Usually thirty to forty minutes.
Remove the heart from the liquid. Save the liquid for later.
Cleaning the Heart
Slice the heart into thin rings, and remove any hard tissue. Clear the heart and valves of any fat you may find.
Place the cut heart into a canning jar with sliced onions and garlic cloves.
Mix the remaining ingredients into the liquid use to boil the hearts. Pour the mixture over the sliced heart.
Place the covered heart slices in the refrigerator for three to five days before eating.
This dish makes for a great appetizer, with a salty-iron taste, similar to liver. Serve with crackers or alone.
The pickling spice really takes the bloody taste out of the meat, making it delicious. These tasty treats went fast. Every year, we await his next hunt, in hopes of gaining access to more venison hearts.