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Updated: Apr 23

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This Easy Grilled Venison Heart recipe is hands down my favorite appetizer and grilled snack food using deer offal. Anticuchos is a prevalent dish with deep roots in Peru and Bolivia. While it can be made with other tender cuts from animals, I think the best way is to go the traditional route and use the heart.

Venison Heart Recipe

In this version, I put my own touches on the dish by combining the flavors of both countries. I also swapped out the Rocoto chili paste which is normally used in Peru for the Korean Gochujang chili paste that most are familiar with. While this isn't traditional, Peru has a long culinary history with Asian ingredients and cooking techniques.

Because you don't want to cook venison hearts to more than medium rare internal temperature, it is highly recommended that you use a grill that can get super hot. The hearts for this recipe are cut into small chunks, so they need to be cooked hot and fast.

This will ensure that you get a nice char on the heart and not overcook it trying to do so. Serve the skewers by themselves with some of the sauce as an appetizer, with roasted potatoes or rice as a main course.


Heart Marinade

This is enough sauce to marinate two whitetail deer hearts or one elk heart while having some remaining to serve with the cooked meat. Any extra sauce can be kept in the refrigerator in a non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid for up to one week.

Adjusting and Storing The Sauce

If you want a sauce that's a little less tangy for serving, add a little honey to the sauce that you set aside for serving. If it looks like you will have extra sauce left over, it will keep for at least 1 week in the refrigerator. It can be used to marinate venison steaks, beef steaks and chicken. 

Getting a Better Sear on Deer Hearts

If possible try leaving the meat out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. I like to leave mine out for 1 hour.

What To Do With Leftovers?

If you can eat it within the next day, deer heart tacos make excellent leftovers. Drizzle the meat with a little of the remaining sauce and top with cilantro and onions for an absolutely delicious flavor. 

Is venison Heart Healthy to Eat?

Deer heart is a lean meat, low in calories, protein, and nutrient-packed. There is also virtually no deer fat or connective tissue after trimming for cooking. It truly is one of the healthiest wild game meats. 

How to Cook and Prepare Venison Hearts?

There are a few ways to prepare deer hearts, but in general, the best way is fast and hot to achieve a quick sear without overcooking them. One of the best ways is to cook them like a deer steak. Simply butterfly the heart open making it one long flat piece of meat.

Trim away all connective tissue and veins from the meat and cook it as you would a backstrap or tenderloin. You can also eat them in raw preparations (think venison heart tartare) if you're that level of a meat eater.

If you want to try something a bit more traditional, I also have an awesome smoked venison heart recipe that will assure you that the organ meat is worth keeping. 

Do You Need to Soak the Hearts in Water Before Cooking?

Absolutely not. If the heart is trimmed of any visible fat and connective tissue the flavors are textures are going to be pretty mild. The marinade in this recipe is super flavorful and mellows out some of the iron flavors that some folks talk about. Soaking can help remove some of the remaining blood, but it's generally unnecessary. 

Will this Recipe Work With Other Wild Game Animals?

Yes! Believe it or not, most heart recipes tend to work out a little better with larger animals like moose, elk, or bison. They are quite a bit thicker, thus making room for error that much greater. 

Deer Heart Recipe

Looking for other wild game recipes? These are some of my favorites:

Lastly, if you enjoyed this simple recipe of Easy Grilled Venison Heart Anticuchos, please let me know in the comments! And if you happen to take pictures, tag me on Instagram. I thoroughly enjoy reading and replying to your comments. And I'm a bit of a nerd, so I like to check out your food photography as well...



Serves: 2 People

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Marinade Time: 1 to 3 Hours

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: Between 1.5 to 3.5 Hours

Author: Larry White


For The Marinade


  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 

  • Extra Sauce


  1. Clean the Deer Hearts: With a very sharp knife, open the deer heart and trim away any visible connective tissue and deer fat that's located outside of the heart. Cut them into relatively large pieces that are around 2 inches long and wide.

  2. Make the Anticuchera Sauce: Add all of the ingredients together except the heart in a large non-reactive bowl and mix well. This will make about 3 cups of sauce. If you have the extra time, cover and let the mixture rest for 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce for serving the meat. The remaining two cups will be used to marinate and baste the meat. Any Remaining sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for around one week.

  3. Marinate the Meat: Place the heart chunks in a medium-sized non-reactive container and pour in just enough of the sauce to cover. Marinate for 1 to 3 hours. You will be saving the rest of the sauce for basting the meat while cooking and serving.

  4. Assemble the Skewers: Place the heart chunks on the skewers. Try and assemble the skewers with meat pieces that are of equal proportion, that way they cook evenly. This means small chunks together on the same skewer and larger chunks together on another skewer. If you end up with some longer thin pieces, you can roll them up like a pinwheel before placing them on the skewer.

  5. Cook: Preheat your grill or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat to high heat. Cook the heart meat skewers for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side while basting, until they are medium rare or until you achieve your desired doneness / internal temperature. 

  6. Final Step: Garnish with the chopped peanuts, cilantro, extra sauce, and maybe a little sea salt.



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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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