I am a huge fan of deer heart, it is one of my favorite parts of the deer to eat, the only downfall is that a deer has only one heart. That is why I have asked some of my friend to save the hearts of the animals they shoot so that I can enjoy heart in as many ways as I can think of. Earlier this year I made a heart pastrami that was amazing. I had been given four hearts from a friend so I used three of the hearts to make the pastrami but kept one heart aside to try something different.
I am no stranger to dry curing organ meats, last year I cured an antelope liver and really enjoyed that. I figured if it worked with liver why wouldn't it work with heart. My only fear with the heart was that the cavity inside the heart might not dry out evenly and I might end up with a rotten piece of meat. I made sure to pack the inside of the heart with the cure mixture to try and avoid that. I let the heart sit in the cure for 5 days and then dusted the outside with white pepper and hung it in my mini fridge for the whole month of May. The end result is pure awesomeness. I may have let it dry a little to long but if slice it thin enough it is just a mouth full of happiness.
When I tried to slice it with my slicer I was hoping to get a nice ring that would show the inside and out of the heart. The ring above is the only one I got that was whole, as I slice further down into the heart I am sure I will get better rings but the top end of the heart was a little harder to slice. The heart started out weighing about 8 ounces and ended up around 4.5 ounces. The flavor is very concentrated and fairly intense but I really like it. I may try some of the shavings mixed with some grilled asparagus and a citrus vinaigrette that sounds like a good combination.
Dry Cured Venison Heart
15 grams kosher salt
2 grams DQ curing salt #2
7 grams maple sugar
1/4 tsp dry thyme
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
5-6 juniper berries crushed
1 tsp caraway seeds
Mix together your cure and apply to the heart making sure to get the inside chambers of the heart. Let the heart cure for 5-7 days in a Ziploc bag or plastic container turning the heart daily. Rinse thoroughly and dust with white pepper hang the heart up to dry until it loses a third of its total weight. usually about 2-3 weeks. you can let it go longer if you would like.