Timber 2 Table - Corned and Smoked Venison Heart

Another great way to use an often overlooked cut of venison.

Corned and Smoked Venison Heart

30 Min

Prep Time

180 Min

Cook Time





All to often, the heart from venison gets tossed aside and left in the field. That's a shame. It makes fine table fare. This method of corning (brining in a cure over several days in the refrigerator), then smoking, gives the heart a pastrami-like flavor and texture.

Steam the heart and slice it thinly for sandwiches or as an appetizer.

Slice it thin and serve it on a cracker, maybe with a thin slice of your favorite cheese or a pepper slice, as an appetizer, or pile it high on a sandwich. Either way, corned venison heart is good eats. If you have any leftovers, try dicing them up and frying with diced potatoes for a breakfast hash.

Venison heart is a dense muscle. I like to leave it in the corning mixture at least five days to ensure complete cure penetration.


Venison heart (you can do several at a time if you have them), cleaned and trimmed of fat

Brine Mixture

2 quarts water

3/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons pickling spice blend

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed with the flat of a knife

1/2 ounce Instacure #1

Cooking Instructions

Trim most of the external fat and silverskin from the hearts.

Mix all brine ingredients and heat in a medium saucepan to a light simmer. Continue simmering for a full 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and slide the pot over to allow the brine to cool.

Mix the brine ingredients and bring to a low simmer before cooling and pouring over the hearts.

Rinse the hearts under cold water and smoke at 250 degrees for three to four hours on the Traeger Grill. Slice the heart thinly. For a bit of extra moisture and to get a more pastrami like texture, you can steam the hearts for a few minutes before slicing.

Smoke the hearts for three to four hours on the Traeger at 250 degrees.