If you’re a fan of barbecue, you’ve probably tasted some of the most popular meat cuts like brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. But have you ever considered smoking beef heart? Beef heart is an incredibly flavorful meat cut that is affordable and easy to find at local butcher shops. Smoking this underrated cut of meat requires some patience and care, but the results are worth the effort.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of preparing and smoking beef heart. We’ll provide helpful tips and techniques to ensure your meat is tender, juicy and packed with flavors. Follow along and get ready to impress your friends and family with a unique and delicious smoked beef heart.
Understanding Beef Heart
As you may know, cows have hearts just like we do. The heart is a very important body part that pumps blood through the cow’s body to keep it healthy. When it comes to cooking, beef heart is a lean protein that can be a great addition to your meals if cooked properly. Beef heart is a relatively tough cut of meat due to its location in the cow’s body, so it requires some special care when cooking.
Now, onto the good stuff!
Beef heart can be grilled, slow-cooked, or even smoked to create a delicious and nutritious meal. It provides a good source of protein and is low in fat, making it a great addition to a healthy diet.
So, what’s the difference between beef heart and other parts of the cow?
Well, beef heart is quite different from other common cuts, like steak or brisket. These cuts come from the cow’s muscles, which is why they have a different texture and flavor. Beef heart, on the other hand, is an organ meat, which means it has a different taste and nutritional value. Consuming organ meats like a beef heart can be beneficial for your health as they are high in vitamins and minerals.
- 1 to 2 beef hearts
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 6 cups of water
- 1 gallon-sized zipper bag
- Mixing bowl
Prepping Beef Heart for Smoking
- Trimming away any gristle or fat from the outside of the heart. This will ensure that your meat cooks evenly and more quickly
- Rinsing the beef heart under cold running water to remove any blood and impurities.
- Slice the beef heart into 3-4 inch pieces. This will allow for more even cooking and better smoke absorption.
- Mix kosher salt, brown sugar, and water in a mixing bowl to create a brine solution.
- Place the beef heart in a zipper bag, pour in the brine solution, and seal the bag or mix in a bowl and cover.
- Place the bag or bowl in your refrigerator and allow the beef heart to brine for 24 hours or overnight.
- You’re ready to season your beef heart slices. Create a dry rub with spices like paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub the spices into the heart slices and let them sit for a few hours before smoking.
Selecting the Right Wood
First and foremost, let’s understand that smoking is a cooking technique that uses smoke from burning wood to flavor meat. This means that the kind of wood we use will greatly affect the taste of our beef heart.
For smoking beef heart, we recommend using hardwoods like oak, hickory, or mesquite*—these types of wood are commonly used because they burn hot and slow, giving the meat the perfect smoky flavor.
Once you’ve selected your wood and made sure it’s safe to use, it’s time to start smoking! Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Keep an eye on your beef heart to ensure that it’s cooking evenly and getting that delicious smoky flavor.
Pro tip: Always make sure the wood is well-seasoned and free of any kind of chemicals, like paint or varnishes. This is important as it can affect the taste of your meat and even become harmful.
Smoking Beef Heart – Step by Step
- Preparing Your Smoker. Start by preheating your smoker to 250°F. This will help maintain an even temperature throughout the cooking process, which is essential when it comes to smoking beef hearts. We recommend you Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker for best use
- Preparing Your Wood and Coals. Once you’ve selected the type of wood you want to use, make sure that all of the pieces are of uniform size. This will help to keep an even temperature in the smoker and prevent flare-ups. Once you’re done with that, it’s time to create your coals. Start by gathering some dry wood chips from your chosen hardwood and place them in a metal container or disposable aluminum pan over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Once they start to smoke and turn white, you can add them to your smoker.
- Adding the Beef Heart. Now that everything is ready, it’s time to place the beef heart in the smoker. Make sure that the slices are spaced evenly apart so they cook through properly. Place them directly on the grates of your smoker and close the lid.
- Smoking the Beef Heart. It’s time to keep an eye on it. Adjust your temperature dial as needed to maintain a consistent temperature of 250°F and monitor the smoke levels throughout the cooking process. We suggest smoking for 5-6 hours or until the internal temperature of your beef heart reaches 160°F.
- Serving Your Smoked Beef Heart. Once your beef heart is cooked through, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy your delicious smoked beef heart with some freshly prepared sides or enjoy as-is!
Tips for Maintaining Temperature
- Monitor the temperature regularly to ensure that it stays within the ideal range.
- Use a meat probe thermometer to check the internal temperature throughout the smoking process.
- Avoid opening the smoker frequently as this can cause significant temperature changes.
- You can also use the touch test by pressing the center of the meat. If it’s soft, the beef heart is still raw. If it’s firm, the meat is medium-well.
Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
- Not brining the beef heart can lead to a tough, chewy texture.
- Over-smoking can cause the meat to be dry and unbearable to eat.
- Skipping the resting phase could result in dry beef heart.
Smoking beef heart is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to your meals. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can learn how to prepare and smoke beef heart that’s juicy and flavorful every time. Just remember to brine it first, keep an eye on the temperature throughout cooking, allow for proper resting after smoking, and avoid common pitfalls like over-smoking or not brining before cooking. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to enjoy delicious smoked beef heart each and every time!
Frequently Asked Questions about Smoking Beef Heart
Q: How do you know when beef heart is cooked?
A: Check the internal temperature by inserting a meat thermometer, and the meat should reach an internal temperature of 130°F-145°F.
Q: How long does it take to smoke beef heart?
A: Smoking beef heart typically takes between 6-8 hours at 180°F.
Q: What is the best way to slice beef heart?
A: Slice the beef heart thinly against the grain to ensure maximum tenderness.
I spent a good bit of my 20’s touring the country playing music. As a teenager, and throughout my 20’s, in between music, I always worked in restaurants, in various capacities. Somewhere in my late 20’s I realized that I was not on the cover of Rolling Stone, as planned, and so, I started thinking about my future and trying to figure out other ways to have an impact, be creative and still live a bit of that rock ‘n roll lifestyle. The restaurant industry provided me with a good bit of those things. And so, I started honing my chops in the kitchen, putting my nose in food lover’s companion, and really started to go somewhere with it.