Skip to main content

Smoked Deer Heart

Jeremiah Doughty | From Field To Plate  

After the arrow is released from the string or the bullet from the barrel and the deer is down, many hunters ask the question, “Now what?” This question can be geared towards gutting, skinning, butchering and even cooking. If you’re like me and want to do as much of the butchering as you can yourself. You want to learn and try new and exciting things with your deer, elk or even turkeys and, therefore, I am here. 

smoked deer heart

Over the past 11 years I have devoted myself to making wild game meats taste incredible. I have been trying to think outside the bacon and bring wild game meats into the everyday meal range. By doing this I have gotten into eating many of the “yuck” parts, as many people refer to them, but they are known as the offal. 

Offal: The entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food. 

Here in the West when we think of the offal like livers, hearts, kidneys and such, we think of primitive eating, and don’t want to explore the yuck. I am here to tell you that the yuck is all in your mind and with many of the recipes I’ve created for offal, I have turned many folks’ yuck to yum. Let's get into one of the best pieces of offal: the heart. 

This is my favorite heart recipe, so let’s get into it shall we? 


  • 1-2 whole deer hearts 
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 1.5 cups low sodium soy sauce 
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tbsp thyme 
  • 2 tbsp rosemary 
  • 1 tbsp cracked pepper 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp onion powder 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 can favorite beer 
Smoked Deer Heart Recipe Smoked Deer Heart Recipe Smoked Deer Heart Recipe Smoked Deer Heart Recipe smoked deer heart sliced


The Cleaning

This is one of those questions I'm asked most often and it’s really a lot easier than you would think. If you look at the top of the heart you will see a lot of tube-like openings these are the aorta, pulmonary artery and the ventricles. You're going to trim these off right up to the top of the heart. Once the stems have been removed, we need to clean the blood from the ventricles and atrium. 

Under cold water, shove your fingers into each vent and push out any blood clots; continue until the water runs clear. I then take a baby bottle brush and go down each vent. This will help remove any more debris, blood and any more undesirables. 

I do not like to break down my hearts like many folks; I love cooking them whole. I feel the heart cooks better and resembles steak more in flavor and texture. 

Pickled Deer Heart Recipe

The Marinade 

In a Ziploc or shallow glass bowl add the following:

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • Soy sauce 
  • thyme 
  • rosemary 
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • All the spices 
  • 1/2 can of beer (You can drink the other half.) 

Take the heart and the remaining garlic and stuff each vent with garlic. This is going to help the heart maintain an even cook and well as stay moist. By plugging the holes, you’ll be creating a garlic steam pocket within the heart. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. 

Marinate the heart for 4-6 hours in the fridge, if in a shallow bowl make sure you flip the heart, so it evenly marinates. 

Remove from marinade and season with pepper, garlic, onion powder and paprika.

The Cook 

  • Fire up your smoker/grill to 225º 
  • Lay the hearts on the grate and cook until internal temp reaches 130-135. This will usually take 1.5-2 hours, but I hate giving times because it’s all about the temps. Once your heart reaches that 130-135 degree mark, pull it and allow it to rest 5-10 minutes. Once the heart has rested, slice it like you would a steak up to the fat cap. 

Enjoy one of my favorite dishes with my favorite cuts.

Wild, Top Quality, and All Natural Wild Game available at Gamekeeper Butchery

Need wild game meat for a recipe you've been wanting to try? Check out GameKeeper Butchery. GameKeeper Butchery is dedicated to procuring the finest assortment and highest quality of specialty meats from the United States and around the world. Our commitment is to deliver the safest, freshest and most wholesome products.

Latest Content