Nose-to-Tail Eating: Marinated Pig Heart

Quite possibly the greatest service that you can offer an animal that is to be eaten- outside of seeing to it that they are well-fed, watered, sheltered, and cared for- is to let as little of it as possible go to waste.

That isn’t always easy, especially in modern society where the meat we find in the grocery store is so far removed from the animal it came from. A steak looks like a steak- not like the back, rump, or other part from which it was cut. A ham looks like a ham…most certainly not like a pig’s butt, because if it did, would you be as quick to take it off the shelf? It allows the shopper to forget that the package they drop in their shopping cart came from a living, breathing animal. And while these pieces are delicious and most certainly should be consumed with joy, they are only a very small part of the animal as a whole.

What about the portions that aren’t so easily masked? The parts that you can tell with just a glance exactly what it is and what its function inside of that animal was. Maybe that freaks you out. Maybe it’s a little more difficult to chew on because you know that you are eating a kidney because, well, it looks like a kidney. It would be much easier to eat a kidney if you didn’t know what it was or at least couldn’t see where it came from. Like the ham.

But the fact of the matter is, “offal”- or “cast off” parts like organs, were not long ago eaten without a thought. In fact, these now lesser desirable parts were once the food of royalty. There was once a time where nearly every last bit of an animal was not only eaten or used in some way, but appreciated.

Sadly, we have lost that appreciation.

There’s a thought-provoking quote right inside the inside cover flap of the book “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal” by Jennifer McLagan (affiliate link, highly recommended, by the way, for those of you looking to further your veneration for nose-to-tail eating) that says:

“When did we decide that offal had become awful?”

Yes, when? And who? And on what grounds? Thankfully, with the growth of interest in small farms, local organic food, sustainable living, pasture fed livestock, and humanely raised fare of all sorts, we’re starting to see a growing appreciation for these unpopular parts.

And today, I have just the thing to get you started on your own journey of offal reverence. Trust me on this, it’s good. And once you find out for yourself just how good, you will be encouraged to try something else. To be more daring. I promise you. And there’s something so rewarding about discovering that not only did you try something you thought you would or could not ever eat, but that you actually like it. It’s redeeming, in a way. And exciting. Makes you feel like a better human. And we all need that, am I right?

yellow birch hobby farm- marinated pig heart

 

Marinated Pig Heart (printable recipe at the bottom of the post)

This recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to prepare. Probably the most important- and perhaps difficult- part of the recipe for those of you who don’t raise your own livestock, is sourcing a heart that is from an animal that was well cared for in all of the ways that it should be. I don’t care what anyone says, an animal that was raised right just plain old tastes better. So know your source.

The average pig heart weighs around 3/4 of a pound. Perfect for a table for two (assuming you wish to share), so plan accordingly. Before we get to the actual preparing of this dish, you should probably know what to expect by way of taste and texture.

For being a well-worked muscle, heart is surprisingly tender, at least when prepared this way. It does not at all taste like pork, but is more comparable to beef. It is very flavorful. And by flavorful, I mean utterly delicious. It is not bland in any way, shape, or form. Don’t expect it to have texture like steak does when you bite into it, but rather smooth.

Preparing the heart.

yellow birch hobby farm- marinated pig heart

We will be cutting the heart into chunks, so there’s no need to worry about uniformity or uncertainly due to lack of experience. Slice the heart lengthwise. Inside you will notice some connective tissue and sinewy bits- you will want to cut those out. Trim away fat and silver skin. Then dice into 1 inch cubes.

yellow birch hobby farm- marinated pig heart

Place the chunks into a plastic bag (or other preferred marinating vessel). To the bag add the following:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley (small), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Close up the bag and use your fingers to massage everything around until it seems to be blended nicely. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Let’s get cooking.

Heat a cast iron pan (or other preferred skillet, but you won’t regret cast iron. ever.) over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, bring 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to smoking, then dump the diced heart and all of the marinaded goodness into the pan. Add 3 Tablespoons of butter. Mix everything around real good.

yellow birch hobby farm- marinated pig heart

Cook for approx. 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan as you do. As soon as things look nicely browned, cut each chunk in half.

yellow birch hobby farm- marinated pig heart

The herbs will get crispy and delicious- be sure not to leave any of the marinade contents behind when you go to eat, trust me. Serve with a baked potato and a fresh salad.

Enjoy.

And prepare to have a sudden curiosity for all things offal.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Marinated Pig Heart
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 2 servings
 

An easy, delicious way to prepare this flavorful and tender organ.
Ingredients
  • 1 pig heart, approx. ¾ pound
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley (small), chopped
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
  1. Slice the heart lengthwise. Cut out any connective tissue and sinewy bits. Trim away fat and silver skin. Then dice into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Place the chunks into a plastic bag (or other preferred marinating vessel). Add the remaining ingredients. Close up the bag and use your fingers to massage everything around until it seems to be blended nicely. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. To cook: Heat a cast iron pan (or other preferred skillet) over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, bring 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to smoking, then dump the diced heart and all of the marinaded goodness into the pan. Add 3 Tablespoons of butter. Mix everything around real good. Cook for approx. 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan as you do. As soon as things look nicely browned, cut each chunk in half. The herbs will get crispy and delicious- be sure not to leave any of the marinade contents behind when you go to eat. Serve with a baked potato and a fresh salad.

 

marinated pig heart- yellow birch hobby farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post contains affiliate links. What this means is I link to a product on Amazon (that I love& use and/or recommend), and if you decide it’s something you want, I will receive a small monetary compensation with no cost to you- just because you used my link to find it! This helps support my blogging activities and I thank you. Homestead on, my friends.

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About yellowbirchhobbyfarm

Hi! I'm Erin, a 19th-century homesteader at heart. Here at Yellow Birch Hobby Farm we practice self-sustainable living by way of organic gardening, canning & preserving, raising a variety of livestock, hunting, foraging, and cooking from scratch. And here at our blog, we share it all with you! So glad you've found us.

2 comments on “Nose-to-Tail Eating: Marinated Pig Heart

  1. Hi Erin!
    I am so excited to see this post because snout to tail eating is something I am passionate about. All parts of any animal that gives its life to sustain another life should be appreciated. As a woman of colour, who’s family is from the South, my family recipes are full of cast off parts. Oxtails, chittlins’, tripe, ham hocks, pigtails, and I can barbecue some pig feet like nobody’s business! People have no idea how delicious these meats are until they close their eyes and try them. I love a whole roasted hog’s head for Christmas! Or a whole roasted duck! I am of the opinion that the word “nasty” should never be said in reference to food, because that same food might be someone’s only meal. (Though I recently tried fermented shrimp paste on green mango, and could not choke it down.)
    I’m still waiting for videos!!! And that workshop I mentioned before…
    You Know I Adore You!
    Tangela

    • I’m so glad that you are a fellow supporter, Tangela! Yes, I think if people could just close their eyes and try something without knowing what it is, they would be far more open to these “odd bits”. It’s sad that somewhere along the way, with factory farming and its wasteful attitude toward these parts, that we’ve lost our appreciation and respect for the animals who feed us. That cheap food without a face has become desirable. But it is encouraging to see the regenerated interest in moving back to a more traditional way of eating. We just need more people speaking out in its favor. And more people who are willing to try something new, no matter how odd it might appear.

      Thanks so much for reading. Videos…I know. I’m shy. It’ll happen someday 🙂

      Erin

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