Braai'ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe

Whether you cook it around a smoldering campfire or over a charcoal grill, this Braai'ed Deer Heart Recipe is a good one to add to your after-the-hunt rituals.

Braai'ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
After you try this aromatic, tart and sweet venison recipe, you’ll never leave your deer hearts in the gut pile again. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
Print Recipe

“Braai” is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roasting,” and in South Africa, cooking over an open fire is not just for special occasion, it’s also a way of life. A braai is as much about the social gathering of people in the outdoors as it is about the food. It’s an essential part of the African bush experience, and I wanted to try to capture a little bit of this spirit at home.

Prepare the sauce for this grilled deer heart recipe at home to bring to deer camp. Then once a deer is field dressed, clean the heart and marinate it. Celebrate your spoils the following night by the campfire.


Deer heart is best prepared as freshly as possible. This blood-rich organ oxidizes quickly compared to other muscles on a deer, and once that happens, livery flavors may become more prevalent. If you can’t cook the heart right away, get it on ice, vacuum seal and freeze as soon as possible.


Serves: 2
Prep time: 4 hours or overnight
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 deer heart
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Marinade:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons crushed dried mushrooms
  • ¼ teaspoon of MSG, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup quality ginger beer

A couple of notes on the marinade ingredients:

Use any dried mushrooms you like but choose something more aromatic. Find a small package of dried mushroom medley at the store or use your own foraged and dried mushrooms.

Contrary to popular belief, MSG is not harmful in small amounts. It’s a useful seasoning in any kitchen. With just a tiny sprinkling, MSG can provide so much flavor and umami to dishes.

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine all marinade ingredients and bring to a boil. Take off heat, allow the sauce to cool completely and transfer to a bowl or zip-top bag.
  2. Cut open and unfold the deer heart so that the muscle lies as flat as possible; I prefer to begin the cut along the artery that runs diagonally across the outside of the heart. Slice off fat, remnants of the aorta, arteries and any connective tissues. Wash thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels.

    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    Begin the cut along the artery that runs diagonally across the outside of the deer heart. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    Slice the deer heart along the artery. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    Remove any fat, remnants of the aorta, arteries and connective tissues from the deer heart. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    Deer heart prepped and ready for braai sauce (marinade). (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  3. Add the deer heart to the cooled marinade. Cover and refrigerate the meat for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Flip the meat halfway through. Take the meat out of the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking for it to come up to room temperature.

    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    This braai sauce was adapted from a traditional South African recipe. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  4. Prepare the grill for direct, high-heat cooking. Lightly grease the grates with vegetable oil, and when hot, grill the meat 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare – the thinner part of the heart will cook faster than the thicker part. Season the heart with freshly cracked pepper and more salt to taste.

    Braai’ed (Grilled) Deer Heart Recipe
    A side of grilled asparagus pairs well with this Braai’ed Deer Heart Recipe. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  5. Take the heart off the grill and allow to rest, tented in foil, for at least 5 minutes. Slice grilled deer heart thinly against the grain and serve.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Stan Potts

Stan Potts' Debut NAW Hunt

North American Whitetail revisits Stan Potts' very first hunt for the TV Show.

North American Whitetail - Canadian Conundrum

North American Whitetail - Canadian Conundrum

Pat Hogan heads to Saskatchewan, Stan talks Browning Hells Canyon clothing, and Dr. Kroll tells how vital it is to manage your hog population.

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Gordon Whittington returns home to Texas to relive one of his favorite deer hunts of all-time, and make new memories.

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore explores the pitfalls of puppy training.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Not figuring the correct range to the target is a common mistake. How-To

Bullet Drop & Range Estimation

Travis Faulkner

Not figuring the correct range to the target is a common mistake.

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season. Bowhunting

The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

Just like humans, whitetail deer need a well-rounded diet throughout the year. During different seasons, the nutritional requirements of bucks, does and fawns will vary slightly, but all three need water, protein, energy (fats and carbohydrates), calcium, phosphorus, sodium and fiber. Land Management

Whitetail Nutrition Calendar: What Deer Eat and When

Matt Haun

Just like humans, whitetail deer need a well-rounded diet throughout the year. During...

We'll explain which supplements whitetails can obtain in the field, and the best ways to provide them with the ones they can't. Off-Season

Which Minerals Do Deer Need?

Dr. James C. Kroll

We'll explain which supplements whitetails can obtain in the field, and the best ways to...

See More Trending Articles

More Venison Recipes

Thanksgiving means mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls ... and venison! Venison Recipes

5 Festive Venison Recipes for Thanksgiving

North American Whitetail Online Staff

Thanksgiving means mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls ... and venison!

For an unforgettable meal everyone will love, make this osso buco recipe featuring cross-cut, bone-in slices of venison that are slowly braised with white wine, meat broth, aromatic vegetables and herbs Venison Recipes

Best Venison Osso Buco Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

For an unforgettable meal everyone will love, make this osso buco recipe featuring cross-cut,...

With its tasty layers of Greek yogurt cream, chili-lime spiced ground venison, pepper jack cheese and fresh veggies, this Easy Venison Taco Dip Recipe is a must-have on game day. Venison Recipes

Easy Venison Taco Dip Recipe

Allie Doran

With its tasty layers of Greek yogurt cream, chili-lime spiced ground venison, pepper jack...

Low carb and keto-friendly, this recipe for venison jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon is a great appetizer to serve at your next BBQ or cookout. Venison Recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Venison Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Emilie Bailey

Low carb and keto-friendly, this recipe for venison jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon is a...

See More Venison Recipes

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now