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Why remove valves, rinse blood from beef heart before cooking?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Recipes I've found online for beef heart often recommend to remove valves and to rinse away excess blood with water before cooking. Why are these steps necessary? What are the valves made of? Not edible? Even if slow cooked for 8+ hours? I'm guessing even so, they wouldn't be dangerous, right? Just spit them out like bones? What about the blood? Wouldn't cooking make any of the blood safe to consume? Wouldn't both the valves and blood be potential sources of nutrients?

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Your question is interesting to me. I saved all the bits and pieces I cut off my last heart thinking next time I make some broth I'll just add those bits and pieces for more flavor. I always guessed you are supposed to cut off the valves and tubes because they're difficult to chew and kinda scary/ugly looking.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on June 27, 2012
at 08:51 PM

Prions show the most dramatic effects when causing proteins in the brain to mis-fold, but current research indicates that they can be deposited (and ingested) in the urine, blood, saliva and other bodily fluids. A few recent studies have shown a possibility of transmission via manure (think organic fertilizer) or even in an aerosolized medium (sneezes, perhaps).

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:11 PM

Yes, it makes great jerky! I have a whole heart's worth in my cupboard.

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning. The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning. The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty. For more Paleo Diet hacks: Why remove valves, rinse blood from beef heart before cooking?

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning.
The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:45 PM

Thanks Jenny. Are you saying drying off excess liquid also contributes to palatability and enjoyment? Is that because it browns better after drying? Would that still hold if you are cooking in liquid?

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 26, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I've seen nothing discussing prions in the heart. Only brains.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 25, 2012
at 04:00 AM

Discard the liquid? I slow-cooked a heart and the broth was the best part.

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3 Answers

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1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Valves remain tough and unpleasant after long period of cooking. If you want to brown the meat of the heart before braising it, it is advisable, as with any meat product, to dry off any excess liquid. I see this advice as contributing to the palatability and enjoyment of heart.

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning.
The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty.

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning. The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty. For more Paleo Diet hacks: Why remove valves, rinse blood from beef heart before cooking?

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Yes, drying will produce better browning. The maillard reactions and carmelization occur at temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means unless the area is devoid of water, browning due to those reactions will not occur. These reactions are often desirable as they produce many of the flavors that make meat tasty

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 26, 2012
at 04:45 PM

Thanks Jenny. Are you saying drying off excess liquid also contributes to palatability and enjoyment? Is that because it browns better after drying? Would that still hold if you are cooking in liquid?

4
A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

on June 24, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Wow... What a deep question...

Biological valves are typically cartilage and tissue, or muscular. They can be rendered for their composite "fatty" parts, but that's not what's at issue with heart meat. Typical heart valves in mammals are made of reticulin, elastin, and collegin, the latter of which provides the "thicken when cooled" properties of our broths. (My spelling of the components may be off...)

Vascularlly, the heart valves perform what is known as "check-valve" duty within the body. They generally (absent some disease or genetic defect) prevent blood from flowing the wrong way. The removal of the valves is for no other reason than to make the heart cook "properly"; no trapped blood or other internal fluid that might, potentially, support a pathogen.

Cooking anything over 140-degrees Fahrenheit for eight will eliminate pretty much any bacteriological pathogen, but it cannot defend against prions. Removing the valves allows circulation of the cooking liquid through the organ in ways that the organ wasn't designed to deal with, thereby thoroughly cooking it. Discard the liquid and you're good (most likely).

Discard the cooking liquid after a long braise, and enjoy your prepared hearts!

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 25, 2012
at 04:00 AM

Discard the liquid? I slow-cooked a heart and the broth was the best part.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 26, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I've seen nothing discussing prions in the heart. Only brains.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on June 27, 2012
at 08:51 PM

Prions show the most dramatic effects when causing proteins in the brain to mis-fold, but current research indicates that they can be deposited (and ingested) in the urine, blood, saliva and other bodily fluids. A few recent studies have shown a possibility of transmission via manure (think organic fertilizer) or even in an aerosolized medium (sneezes, perhaps).

1
D8612a7c536e74f9855b70d8e97919b5

(1042)

on June 26, 2012
at 12:33 PM

I haven't tried slow cooking to see how it affects the texture, but I know for a quick-cooking sear, the valves and fascia are very chewy. The heart has a much better texture when it is trimmed well for this cooking method. I save the scraps and grind them.

Also, heart makes wonderful jerky since it is so lean.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:11 PM

Yes, it makes great jerky! I have a whole heart's worth in my cupboard.

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