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Author Topic: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart  (Read 281 times))

Offline BigBird

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Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« on: November 14, 2021, 02:38:57 AM »
My son told me that you can tell the health of a deer by looking at its liver.  I was skeptical at first but then again most deer are not doing so well health-wise when you ARE looking at their liver. ;D

I always try to take the two organs out but don't usually fool with livers or hearts (cutting or eating).  However they are the most vitamins rich meats in a deer.  I love chicken livers but I don't process those and maybe that is the point. I cut up 2 livers today because my wife was busy.  The liver of the older (2-3 yr old) doe was smelly but the younger button buck was not as smelly.  They both cut up nice and looked good inside. These organs were taken out by me along with the inner loins in a timely manner and no gut shots or gastric juices touched them -fyi.  I try to soak them right away.

Questions:
1. what do you do to prepare" the smelly liver"?
2. Is the smell of the liver an indicator of anything?
3. Can you tell the health of the deer (disease) by looking at the liver?

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Offline customcutter

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2021, 06:46:27 AM »
We always took the heart and liver on deer.  Don't remember ever smelling an odd odor???  The only livers we didn't use had white spots all over them.  IDK, but always heard they had "worms", probably an old wives tale, but I know we didn't use them.  I only recall a couple from probably close to 100 that I helped butcher over the years.  I know there's a small green sac on the side of the liver that if you puncture it, anything it touches you might as well discard.  I was always told it was the "bile sac"???
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Offline mr007s

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2021, 08:32:49 AM »
I regularly watch MeatEater on TV. Seven Rinella is the man for all things pertaining to cooking game, He loves both heart and liver. Below is a link that will show what he can do. Please check him out.

https://www.google.com/search?q=steven+rinella+cooks+liver+recipe&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS930US930&oq=steven++Rinella+cooks+liver&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j33i22i29i30.55268j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
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Offline Spacebus

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2021, 09:37:12 AM »
I've never eviscerated a deer, but I have done several heritage chickens. We sent a sick chicken out to a lab for an autopsy once to see why it died, ended up having no bone marrow. I say this because all of the birds I process are very healthy and they have dark red and robust livers, no weird smells. These are farm birds that free range, so no struggles and little exposure to illness. Wild deer are a different story, so I can't speak to what it "should" smell like. Maybe smelly is ok? I know color is a big indicator of health. Darker is usually better as light spots are due to fatty deposits and damage. I use our edible chicken organs, carcasses, necks, heads, feet, etc. to make broth, which I then turn the remaining solids into dog food. I've heard of liver recipes from old timers, but I think it's a Depression Era and/or WWII rationing thing.
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Offline BigBird

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2021, 03:52:37 PM »
Thanks.  I appreciate the link and info.  I asked my wife and she said it did smell like liver smells like.  I am not an expert at preparing.  My wife did not want to process the bag of meat yesterday and I was determined to make sure it got done.  Usually I take the historical hunter gatherer stance and let my woman do that as I have completed the exhausting hunter gathering activity.

I try to dissect the deer like a biological specimen and I try to only get the main parts but Next time I will look for the gall bladder and be aware of it more. Good information.  Thanks



https://www.google.com/amp/s/hoveysknivesofchina.com/2010/02/16/cooking-deer-wild-hog-and-other-wild-game-livers/amp/
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Offline Spacebus

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2021, 06:06:41 PM »
I'm pretty sure that is the gall bladder attached to the liver. I leave a bit of liver attached to the gall bladder when I remove it just to not risk getting bile on everything.
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Offline BigBird

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2021, 07:01:08 PM »
I'm pretty sure that is the gall bladder attached to the liver. I leave a bit of liver attached to the gall bladder when I remove it just to not risk getting bile on everything.

Sorry DJ.  That is a "file photo" from google.  I was just trying to find a picture of a gall bladder.  I don't remember cutting it off but then it was probably attached to the diaphragm and I tend to cut everything off connected to the liver at extraction.  Liver is between the diaphragm one side on each of the diaphragm.

I was instructing someone (who said they are allergic to deer then proceeded to drag the little one up the hill and toss it in his car) "how to properly gut a deer" during these 2 deer. So I obviously need some instruction myself because I haven't made any special handling when it comes to deer gall bladder.  I make sure it is nothing but lobes of liver when I put it in a bag.

Also I did cut myself so not an expert.  But I am dang fast!  If I had more fingers remaining I could've recorded the actual time I took. :D  Yes, when you go up to cut the trachea with a sharp knife make sure you have all your fingers when you get back out.

I threw all the meat in the same bag.  Does anyone else take the inside loins (best meat on a deer)?  Back when my dad was alive he used to take them out with his fingers (except top and bottom) because it is so tender.  It is also amazing how much gutting you can do by just pulling with your hands.
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Offline BigBird

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2021, 07:54:35 PM »
Wait a minute!  My memory is not my strong point.  :-\ Its all coming back to me now.  My hunting partner holding the large ziplock bag and me handing him half the liver.  He, not wanting to get blood on his delicate hands held out the bag a little too far and it flopped on the ground in the mud.  Instead of opening a water with my bloody hands (not talking british here) I stuck it in the remaining blood still in the cavity.  I figured they were "perfect shots" ;) its not gut shot and blood was already in contact and from chest cavity. Guts came out in one pile, text book, etc.  BUT what about that gall bladder???

Oh man!  I feel like an idiot!

I won't do that again!  Now what to do with the meat.  Maybe a smell test for the rest???  I dunno.
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Offline mr007s

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2021, 08:29:45 PM »
 Does anyone else take the inside loins (best meat on a deer)?

Yes! We call that "the sweet meat", game processors call it inner loin. Dang good at breakfast with a couple fried eggs.
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Offline customcutter

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2021, 09:02:05 PM »
Yes, always take the tenderloins.  Right next to the kidneys.  If properly cooked they can easily be cut with a fork.

Is anybody else getting hungry reading this post???
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Offline R.K.

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2021, 09:10:11 AM »
Deer heart is the first part of the deer we eat! Split down the middle, trim off the valves and blood vessels and arteries from the top of the heart along with the connective "strings". Wash with cold water and soak in water in the fridge for a day or two. Then just boil in salted water untill done. We slice it across the grain while still warm.Add a little salt and there you go.  It's good cold too.   We never save the liver from deer.  But if I'm not mistaken, deer have no gall bladder. The file photo from above was a pig liver. 
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Offline Spacebus

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2021, 09:16:30 AM »
Deer heart is the first part of the deer we eat! Split down the middle, trim off the valves and blood vessels and arteries from the top of the heart along with the connective "strings". Wash with cold water and soak in water in the fridge for a day or two. Then just boil in salted water untill done. We slice it across the grain while still warm.Add a little salt and there you go.  It's good cold too.   We never save the liver from deer.  But if I'm not mistaken, deer have no gall bladder. The file photo from above was a pig liver.

Wow, I never knew that about deer, so I looked up after reading your comment. That's really convenient from a butchering perspective. I'm always scared of ruining the meat with bile while disemboweling the chickens.

You don't have to cook the heart in salt water if you brine it during the cold water soak. We brine all of our chicken meat and won't do it any other way.
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Offline longislandhunter

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2021, 10:36:59 AM »
My family and I usually wind up eating the liver and heart first from every deer I harvest and it's my 2 daughters favorite part of the deer.  I'm not quite sure what type of odor you are detecting.  In it's whole form it, after being washed with clean, cool water it shouldn't emit any foul smelling odor.  If it does I'd toss it, however I've honestly never run into one that I had any problems with or doubts about.  Once sliced or cut open liver does have it's own distinctive scent.  If your wife verified that it smelled OK and it physically appeared healthy then I'd say it's fine to consume.  Liver, whether from wild game or domestic livestock, is one of those foods you either enjoy or strongly dislike.  I remember my mother making liver for dinner when I was a small child so perhaps the deciding factor is when you were first introduced to it, I don't know.  What I do with my deer liver is to take an extremely sharp filet knife and very carefully remove the outer "skin" of the liver before slicing it, coating it with egg wash/bread crumbs and frying it along with bacon and onions.  Comes out amazing (if you like liver :) ).  You don't have to remove the outer layer, I've eaten it without performing this step, but it's just the way I prepare it for consumption.  As for the heart, clean it well, slice it and fry it.  Delicious.   Always seems a waste to me that people harvest a deer and leave the heart and liver just laying in the gut pile, a couple of very nutritious, tasty meals laying there, but at the same time I do understand liver isn't for everyone.   Anyway, that's my take on the issue..  I hope you try it and enjoy it  :)

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Offline customcutter

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2021, 11:20:46 AM »
But if I'm not mistaken, deer have no gall bladder. The file photo from above was a pig liver.
I just did a google search for "deer gall bladder", and you are correct.  They do not have a gall bladder.  They do produce bile, and I believe the picture is of a "bile sac", which is what I always heard it called.  I don't know if the pic is a pig liver or a deer liver, but would remove the bile sac carefully by cutting a small portion of the liver out around it so as not  to contaminate the meat. 
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Offline Spacebus

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2021, 11:29:11 AM »
But if I'm not mistaken, deer have no gall bladder. The file photo from above was a pig liver.
I just did a google search for "deer gall bladder", and you are correct.  They do not have a gall bladder.  They do produce bile, and I believe the picture is of a "bile sac", which is what I always heard it called.  I don't know if the pic is a pig liver or a deer liver, but would remove the bile sac carefully by cutting a small portion of the liver out around it so as not  to contaminate the meat.

That's how I do it too. I call it the "liver tax" and the local ravens seem to like the offal, even if it has a punctured gall bladder or bile all over it. I've gotten some great trail camera footage from the "forest tax offerings".
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Offline avator

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2021, 12:41:03 PM »
I never was one for eating organs. It may just be something in my mind... who knows.
Never know what one might eat if one gets hungry enough.
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Offline BigBird

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2021, 02:10:57 PM »
Deer heart is the first part of the deer we eat! Split down the middle, trim off the valves and blood vessels and arteries from the top of the heart along with the connective "strings". Wash with cold water and soak in water in the fridge for a day or two. Then just boil in salted water untill done. We slice it across the grain while still warm.Add a little salt and there you go.  It's good cold too.   We never save the liver from deer.  But if I'm not mistaken, deer have no gall bladder. The file photo from above was a pig liver.

Heart looked really good when I cut it up. Like I said I don't usually do that part and maybe get a little grossed out cause anatomy of a deer heart is not far off from ours.  However that is some of the deepest red most uniform meat I have ever seen.  Liver is deep color but different.  The heart obviously looks like it has the most iron content of the muscles.  All the meat is in paper and individually wrapped in the freezer.  Wife was not in the mood to cook it at that time. ;)  However we did cook up last years heart and liver and it was good.  I don't usually eat the heart or liver due to previously mentioned reasons.

I did not know about "no gall bladder".  In my situation that is great news but wonder if the deer know?? ;D
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Offline BigBird

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Re: Not much heart for Deer Liver...or heart
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2021, 02:22:22 PM »
I never was one for eating organs. It may just be something in my mind... who knows.
Never know what one might eat if one gets hungry enough.

I always take them out and give them to someone.
Growing up my family (mother and father) always took the heart and liver out of their deer when they got them.

Mom used her 1940's lever action 30 cal PB Marlin and made a lot of head shots with open sights.  I'm sure she came back with more intact livers than my dad who was more of a "pie plate shooter" (I learned to sight in my own gun fast).

My in-laws used to give my kids money for heart and liver so thats where my sons first priority was.
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