When it comes to the so called , "organ" meats, heart is a bit of misnomer in that it's not an organ, but rather entirely muscle, rich with flavor. The flavor of heart is boldly representative of the animal it came from and there is no mistaking beef heart for pork or chicken for beef. This intense flavor combined with a bit of iron taste from the level of blood in the muscle, and you've got yourself a rich and flavorful cut of meat to be used in a variety of ways. Regardless of animal, it's excellent in ragu, as a tartar or even marinated and grilled. With it being such a great muscle to cook with, it's been on my radar to cure for quite a while now, and with winter fully set in, I have a bit more time at night to experiment with different projects. When thinking through how to cure it, me and the usual suspects were talking (Scott and Jason) and I thought the seasonings and treatment of Speck would fit well. The intense flavor of the the beef heart should stand up well to the heavy spicing and smoke. The one concern I had was dealing with the fact that the heart is VERY lean, and when cleaned, is essentially butterflied to remove arteries. The lean is easy to deal with through length of drying and drying conditions, but the butterflying leaves a lot of "cavities" and flaps of skin that would for sure catch all kinds of nasty if not addressed. Rather than go to trimming, which would further thin the heart making drying difficult, I decided to go to pressing. After curing, casing and smoking, I placed the heart between two planks of cedar in a press, and tightened down the press with the hopes of removing all air pockets and having the meat bind to itself during drying. I'm thinking this will dry for about 3 - 4 weeks, so I'll follow up then with results.
As for the name. Well, after much discussion withScott and Jason, the consensus on the name is, Cuore Affumicato Steccato. Chalk one up to another collaboration via incessant texting and ball busting.
Salt , Sodium Ascorbate , Juniper, Garlic, Bay, Cure 2, Anise Seed, Fennel, Caraway, Black Pepper
- Combine all spices and place in ziplock bag or loosely sealed vac bag
- Cure for 2 - 3 days per pound of meat
- Remove from cure and rinse
- Case in casing and cold smoke over beech for 2 - 4 hours
- Place in press and hang for 3 - 4 weeks