Spinach, Mushroom, and Italian Sausage Stuffed Elk Heart
Just like whitetail and mule deer, elk hearts are one of the most underutilized cuts on the animal. That's too bad. They are pure muscle, just like a steak from the same animal, and taste delicious. Since elk hearts are big enough to make a family meal, we love to leave them whole and stuff them, then smoke them on the Traeger Grill.
1 well-trimmed elk heart (works for moose or large deer as well)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Traeger Big Game Rub
8 ounces Italian sausage, crumbled
8 ounces shiitake, button, or oyster mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
4 ounces Italian breadcrumbs
4 ounces parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon each salt and cracked black pepper
Make the stuffing. In a large skillet, brown the sausage and sliced mushrooms over medium heat. Once the sausage is just about cooked through and the mushrooms have softened and released their moisture, add the spinach, then stir well. Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to wilt the spinach. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cheese and remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Combine the soy, Worcestershire, and honey. Brush the mixture over the outer surface of the heart. Coat the meat well with Traeger Big Game Rub.
Place the heart directly on the grill grate and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the thickest part of the meat (not the stuffing) registers 135 on a digital meat thermometer. Allow the heart to rest, covered loosely with foil, for 10 minutes, then slice into pinwheels with a sharp knife.