I know, many people leave the deer’s innards in the dust where they shot it. That’s a pity.
Fortunately, the more deer hunters I meet, the more I meet who keep the liver and heart. It warms the cockles of my heart to see that this “fifth quarter” of the animal is at least getting used by some of my fellow hunters. Hopefully, if you try some of these recipes, you will get as excited about the wobbly bits as I am.
Ranging in “eater difficulty” from easiest to most challenging, I’d start with the heart, then tongue — both are just muscles, after all. From there, go for the liver; livers from young animals are far better than old ones, and honestly, I am not too keen on livers from big bulls or bucks. After liver, go for the kidneys, which I like a lot. But they need to soak first. Finally, yes, you can eat venison tripe. It’s the top challenge of a wild offal eater.
Below are my favorite deer heart recipes, deer liver recipes, as well as a few for other deer offal. If you have a favorite not listed here, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can make it.
British Venison Meatballs
These are so damn good! A British classic they call “faggots,” these are big meatballs made with venison and liver, with a bit of oats in them, “Scarborough Faire” herbs and spices, all wrapped in caul fat or bacon. What’s not to love?