Nose-to-tail or holistic eating has gained momentum in culinary and hunting communities recently, but we humans have been eating organ meats since we first started walking upright. Organs are the most nutrient-dense part of the body, so it makes sense that early humans (and hard-charging modern hunters) would want to ingest an energy power punch. You’d be hard pressed to find an apex predator that isn’t devouring the liver, heart, and kidneys first. Let’s get you into the apex mode of eating.
Diving into offal for dinner, however, can lead to a tough and sometimes confusing mess of a grocery list and meal. So, here’s a simple way to cook game liver that’s straightforward and, best of all, delicious.
In 2019, I was fortunate enough to hunt and kill a bull moose in upper British Columbia. The moose had a liver the size of a Thanksgiving turkey, a year’s worth of moose pâté, grilled liver, and the ground that I’ll be describing here. No small portions — it was time to figure out what to cook. It had to be something more interesting than the old standard liver and onions. This is what I came up with, a way of using liver to fortify ground meat that helps deliver all the superfood ingredients in a rich and delicious way.
If you don’t have game liver from a moose or deer, store-bought chicken or cow liver will work, too. Next, we’ll need ground meat — moose, deer, or a good-quality low-fat hamburger meat. I recommend grass-fed and grass-finished meat from somewhere like Carter Country Meats in Ten Sleep, Wyoming.
- 1 pound of fresh liver
- 2 pounds of ground wild game or lean 90/10 grass-fed burger
- 1/4 pound bacon, the fattier the better
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Let the ground meat sit out in a large bowl and get to room temperature, so working with it becomes easier. Cube your bacon into finely cut chunks and add to the bowl. Cover and set aside.
- Liver has a membrane throughout its structure. It’s not bad to eat but can cause some issues when run through a grinder. To get rid of the membrane, chunk the liver, keeping only the dark meaty portions; take off what membrane you can and discard.
- Put your liver chunks in the bowl with the ground meat and bacon. Work the mixture with your hands until you have evenly mixed meat, fat, and liver throughout.
- Add 1 tablespoon of ground or dried and crushed oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. When it comes to cooking your mixture, you’ll add more salt and pepper to taste, but this dash in the beginning will help season your dish.
You now have a batch of fortified ground meat and liver, perfect for burgers or meatballs, that won’t taste too irony or liver-like but is loaded with bioavailable heme iron, B12, and a host of other vitamins and minerals.