I’ve been asked too many times to count, what my specialty to cook in camp was. I don’t know if I ever had much of a specialty, though I really enjoyed cooking up the game meat that was brought back to camp. One of my favorites was heart.
Heart!?! You say. Yep. Heart.
In my experience, Caribou heart or Sheep heart are the easiest to work with. Moose is just a little big, but works if you have a big crowd to feed and all day to cook. (Kinda like roasting a turkey)
I probably would never attempted to cook up heart if I lived in town and went to the grocery store like normal people for meat. Probably never would have cooked up heart if I hadn’t had a guide (named Raymond) ask one day, “Roast me up some heart please.”
“Well Raymond, in order to do that, I need a heart to roast.”
“Okay, we’ll bring you one today.”
And sure enough he did. Got a caribou down that evening and brought back the backstraps, tenderloins and heart.
Well now, time to cook some heart.
I didn’t have an oven—only a three burner propane stove. I asked Raymond how he liked his heart and he said cooked. So I boiled the organ in a pot of water with some sage, thyme, salt and black pepper. It didn’t look like something to write home about. In fact I’m kind of surprised I’m writing about it now. (Boiled meat is one of my least favorite smells, due to one guide up in the Yukon having a pot of boiled moose constantly on the go while we were in camp.)
But I cut into it, tried some and was pleasantly surprised. Very tender, very tasty. Even better with a little hot honey mustard. Sliced like a dream for sandwich meat the next day. Even the skeptical hunters really enjoyed their caribou heart and said it was one of their favorite and most memorable camp meals.
So after that, whenever we got an animal down in camp, Raymond would always bring me the heart. I tried, Stone Sheep heart—stuffed and roasted, and Moose heart—broiled in tin foil on the BBQ. I passed up on Grizzly heart—not a fan.
Heart, boiled, roasted or barbequed was met with rave reviews, and if I could only get my hands on some more heart . . . well, it’s just not so easy anymore walking into the local Sobey’s and asking for heart!