Leaving the back-straps of a deer in the woods is unconscionable for most hunters (not to mention illegal), yet sportsmen routinely discard the heart and liver of animals during the field-dressing process. Liver is a staple in many parts of the country, while heart is less well established as table fare. By comparison, this vital organ is a muscle, just like much of the tissue of a deer, and therefore very appropriate for consumption. Bruce and Elaine Ingram write a cooking column for Whitetail Times and share their favorite recipe for heart:
As someone who depends on venison for all my wife Elaine’s and my red meat needs for the year, and who tries to annually kill 10 whitetails to fulfill those needs, I regard the consumption of venison as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. My spouse and I also write a venison cooking column for Whitetail Times, the official publication of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, so we are always looking for new and creative ways to prepare venison.
I would even speculate that we probably dine on a venison dish of some kind well over 300 days a year. So it might surprise some venison aficionados that my favorite part of a deer to consume is not the top or bottom loins or even the roasts, steaks, or burgers, but a part of the deer that many hunters leave behind in the field — the heart, which Elaine and I regard as a delicacy. A decade or so ago, I began to feel guilty about all the organs abandoned in the woods after the field-dressing had been completed. My spouse and I talked to other hunters, conducted some research on the Internet, and decided that the heart would be our first culinary project from among the various organs.