The Nasty Bits: Beef Heart, 4 Ways Recipe

The Nasty Bits

Recipes and stories for everything but the oink.

The Nasty Bits: Beef Heart, 4 Ways Recipe

A raw beef heart. [Photographs: Chichi Wang]

Chongqing-Style Beef Penis »
Veal Kidney Pie »
All Nasty Bits recipes »

Around Valentine's Day there was a lot of heart lying around my kitchen because I had a feeling that the penis would not be appreciated by everyone at the table. Heart, on the other hand, is a fairly likeable cut. Beefy with a just slightly gamey flavor (think kidney, except much milder), the texture of heart is something akin to a poultry gizzard. The heart is also one of the more versatile types of offal; it's tough and low in fat but takes well to either quick cooking or long stewing.

Beef heart is by far the largest of the hearts you'll find at the butcher's counter. The organ weighs in at more than two pounds of pure flesh, and even what isn't flesh can be used in your cooking. On that day everyone took a few perfunctory bites of the beef penis, but the beef heart was lauded wistfully by one friend as being "what I'd serve to my girlfriend on Valentine's Day, if I had a girlfriend." It may not be a cure for loneliness, but it does make for a beefy meal to be enjoyed with a nice glass of cabernet.