Easy Pan Fried Deer Heart Recipe | Cooking Venison Heart

Video preparing deer heart

This easy pan fried deer heart recipe makes delicious use of very underutilized meat from your harvest. Flavorful, easy to prepare, and great use of tasty meat.

Thinly sliced deer heart cooked to rare on a plate surrounded by fresh parsley leaves and salt.

I always find it interesting when we look back into our past about all of the meat that did not go to waste from an animal. Be it deer, cattle, pigs, even chickens, and game birds. Our ancestors used every part of the animals they harvested. Now?

So much of it goes to waste in the gut pile. Or, in commercial butchering operations, the less than acceptable cuts of meat are utilized to make dog food and other domesticated animal kibbles.

My grandmother, who was born in the 40s, remembers her mom preparing beef hearts, livers, and even fried lamb brains for supper. Why don’t we utilize these portions anymore?

We strive to use all of the animals when we harvest. So organ meat like deer liver and kidneys are on the menu after a successful hunt in addition to these delicious heart steaks.

If you’ve never tried venison heart, you’re missing out. It rivals backstraps in taste and really doesn’t need marinades. Just a handful of ingredients and a simple pan-fry and it’s absolutely delicious.

What does deer heart taste like?

Heart meat is some of the best deer meat you’ll ever taste. Unlike some wild game meats, this cut of meat is never gamey.

It tastes very similar to deer steak, except even better. The best way to prepare it is to keep things very simple.

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How to Cook Deer Heart

Whole deer heart on a plate with flake salt and fresh parsley leaves

Purge and Rinse

The blood left in the heart can add an iron-like taste to the meat if it isn’t purged. To purge, simply put the valves under cold water, gently squeeze, and wait until the water runs clear. This will take about 5-10 minutes.

By the time I got to this after our butchering session, the blood had coagulated a little bit. That’s okay. The blood clots will rinse out in globs, which can look unappealing, but it won’t hurt anything.


Using a very sharp knife, trim away the top of the heart that contains the valves, arteries, and veins. Also, remove as much of the fat cap from the top as you can. This deer fat isn’t suitable for much, as it’s very hard and waxy.

Cutting off tissue from top of venison heart

Next, slice the heart right where you see the bottom chambers naturally divided on the outside of the heart.

Deer heart halved in center

Inside you’ll find a lot of connective tissue and wobbly bits that you can trim away.

Removing connective tissue from the inside of deer heart

Then, just make lengthwise cuts through the heart to create several slices of meat.

Sliced venison heart on a plate coated with flakes of salt

I made them into smaller, bite-sized morsels, but you don’t have to. It’s really up to you. About 1/4″ to 1/2″ is about the right thickness to cook it.

Soak In Salt Water

The final step to make sure any remaining blood is flushed out is to place the large pieces of heart into a bowl of water with a couple of teaspoons of sea salt overnight. It will be ready the next day to cook.

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Deer Heart Ingredients

This is a simple recipe with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry, except for the heart itself. Full measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

  • Whole Heart
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt

Easy Deer Heart Recipe

thinly sliced deer heart cooked to rare

After preparing the heart for cooking and soaking, rinse it.

Season the heart with parsley, black pepper, and salt. In a skillet, over medium-high heat melt the butter and saute the garlic until fragrant.

Frying sliced deer heart in a pan with butter, salt, pepper, and parsley

Then, add the seasoned deer’s heart to the pan, giving everything a quick sear until you reach the desired doneness. Remove and serve hot.

Other Wild Game Recipes You’ll Love:

  • Marinated Venison Steak Recipe
  • Venison Jerky Recipe
  • Easy Canned Venison Recipe
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>