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Beef Heart Burgers?

So I bought a beef heart and was hoping to grind it into burgers. I've made the usually grilled beef heart and pan seared versions, but I want to make a 100% beef heart burger.

Is the fat around the outside of the heart good for adding back into the grind, or will it taste funky since it is heart fat, and I'll need to find another source for my fat? I have bacon but I really don't want to use pork. I want this to be 100% beef. I also have an oxtail that I could butcher up, but I REALLY want the lean to be 100% heart so I can say I gave this an honest go.

If anyone can help on the heart fat issue I think I can make a go at this. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing back!

BTW, if you haven't had heart go to your nearest Publix and ask them to save you one. It's one of the only stores that consistently throughout my state has them. They are also great at keeping fresh beef kidney and liver as well.

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  1. RC,

    You'll definitely need to add some fat. I'd recommend trimming a little piece of the heart fat and frying it up, to see how it tastes. If it's inoffensive, and doesn't develop a tough texture (and if there's enough of it), then you're probably set. If, on tasting it, it isn't suitable, then you can sub in some beef fat, or possibly even just fat it up with some butter.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Booklegger451

      Thank you so much, I think that I am going to include the fat off that oxtail too and just sacrifice it. I guess I could include the oxtail meat but that seems cheating. If there isn't enough fat to bring it up to at least 20% I will resort to lamb fat off some shoulder chops I have. I'll post up how it turned out soon, and hopefully it will be a good report. I suppose I'll need to pan sear these burgers and leave the grill alone. I'd hate for them to fall apart mid cook. If they do that in a pan, I can still have a beef heart sloppy joe I suppose. LOL.

      1. re: rcbaughn

        I don't think you have to sacrifice the oxtail... it should braise up nicely, even without it's fat, and if you want to add a bit back in, just give it a bacon wrap before it goes into the braise.

    2. without fat, the heart won't hold together as burgers. the heart fat will be fine to use if there is enough.

      1. (Hmm....had to register to post - no "Anonymous" post option)

        Ah, beef heart burger! Haven't tried that. I have however eaten a "50% aged beef (up to 40 days I think - or was it 30 or 60?), 50% ox heart burger", done IIRC medium rare. It was wonderfully tasty and juicy.

        Unfortunately (for you Americans) the guy who makes and cooks them is UK based. They're called Heartbreaker burgers http://www.kerbfood.com/traders/tongu...

        According to an older review post (http://wilkes888.wordpress.com/2012/0...) the first versions were "100% ox heart cooked in 60 day aged beef fat". The current versions are 50% beef 50% ox heart (not sure what fat is used). Not sure why the switch (I didn't get to eat any of those 100% burgers) but I think the extra fat in the beef helps hold the burger together since ox heart is apparently quite lean meat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: athcnv

          Yeah, heart meat is super lean. Adding fat helps it hold together, and helps mobilize the flavors in the meat, preventing it from tasting flat or livery/coppery.

          1. re: athcnv

            Looks like I will be adding the oxtail fat then. I don't eat a burger unless it has at least 20% fat. Otherwise it's just gonna be a lump of dryness no doubt. Thanks for the link!

          2. Hi, rcbaughn:

            I grew up eating ground heart as sandwich and stuffed vegetable filling, and forcemeat, and can verify that it lacks a binder to keep it in patties. But IMO it's a shame to dilute its flavor with blending it with other cuts.

            As with many extremely lean meats, e.g., bison, elk, etc., all you really need is a suitable binder. The fancy new "meat glues" will work, as will eggyolk and a handful of breadcrumbs with an easy hand on the turner.

            I also wouldn't sweat including the offal fat in your grind.


            4 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              You couldn't have been more right about a binder. I incorporated the 20% fat which I'll probably do next time too since rendered fat gives a ton of flavor and juice, but after they hit medium rare they turned into a loose-meat sandwich instead of a solid burger patty. It was very good, but you lose that juice that is withheld within a solid burger patty. Very glad I pan fried it instead of grilling it or I would've had a ton of ground heart fall between the grates and turn to charcoal.

              Very good though, it tasted like a very meaty beef with just a hint of irony flavor. Good stuff.

              1. re: rcbaughn

                i love the taste of beef heart. :)

                1. re: rcbaughn

                  Hi, RC:

                  You know, instead of sweating the binder too much, you might try my dear mum's solution of making loose-meat sandwich filling with mayo/aoli/mustard/schmeer du jour to hold it together. I was very popular in gradeschool because of the odd offal lunches that Mum put in my pail--I've eaten hundreds of ground beefheart sandwiches.

                  If you want to get fancy, you could reduce the jus and add it back into the schmeer. Or (something I haven't tried yet), totally puree/tamis a portion of the heart, and mix *that* in as binder. At least you'd not be diluting the flavor...


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Thank you Kaleo, that sounds like a Man-wich sloppy joe made with a mayo base instead of ketchup. The burger I made ended up really good though and the mayo that was smeared in it definitely made it better, but I didn't use mustard like your mom did. Here's a picture of the burger, tell me what you think.

              2. Wow. I just had a Beef Heart burger last week so I got on the web to see what the story is. Although not 100% heart I think there was quite a bit in it. The burger fell apart so bad that it was like eating finely ground taco meat.

                The flavor is what really threw me off. It tasted nothing like a regular burger. I guess it shouldn't because a regular burger doesn't have heart in it. It was kind of like a can of Mary Kitchen Roast Beef Hash with extra fat thrown in (if that's possible). What a letdown! Don't think I could pan fry one without feeling like Hannibal Lechter.

                I hope your experiment with the full-on 100% Beef Heart burger goes well. I'm not going back to it any time soon. I'll let the Publix butcher do whatever he normally does with the heart. I assume it's donated for animal feed or given a home in the nearest dumpster.

                1. Heart is super lean, I think about 5%. Why not use marrow fat from a centre cut veal or beef thigh to get up to around 20% fat content? My local butcher uses 45 day aged grass fed Longhorn beef and marrow fat and they are beautifully meaty. I tried it with heart and bone marrow and pushed into a chilled steel ring mould then chilling the burgers for half hour firmed them up. They were a bit brittle on the grill bars but not a disaster. Best method has been with a red hot iron skillet pan, heated for 5 minutes on the gas ring, and using no oil. Throw the burger in, the marrow fat gets nice and smokey and can take the heat, don't move it or flip it until 90 seconds, give it another 90 seconds then lift it out and rest it for 5 minutes. I seasoned the burger after cooking, It seemed sacrilegious to slop ketchup/mayo on it so I just added sliced tomato, whole lettuce leaves and a few rings of sliced red onion and a little English mustard (Grey Poupon Dijon will do); it tasted mega beefy, had a lovely crust and medium rare. Basically an offal burger, simply served, and its the best burger Ive ever had.