Beef Liver

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by v8trdude, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Just wondering if anyone has tried doing beef liver. Personally, it is probably the only food that I am unable to eat. My Mrs, however, is a different story as she needs to have it every 2 mths. I decided to try it out on the smoker.

    Butcher cut me a 7.5# piece, skinned and cleaned it. Brought it home and decided an injection was the best way to go.. Mixed up maple whiskey, worshter, garlic and au jus. Rubbed it down with mccormicks cowboy rub and set it to smoke..

    Pulled it off when internal temp hit 140* and sliced at 146*

    Did up a sage and red wine gravy with the bacon and onions and served with smoked veg

    Any one have a better way of doing this?.. Flavour was great but the texture kills me.
  2. Looks real good for liver! The texture gets me also, and its not my favorite thing to eat,  but I am definatley going to try it your way when I try it again! Thanks for the idea!
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's something I haven't smoked yet, myself, but, I think a very thin slice will at least somewhat help the texture at a lower finished temp (that always was something I needed to get past as well).

    The finishing touches and plating make it look good enough to eat!!!

    OK, as for suggestions on possibly making it better, think along the lines of pulled pork...high finished temp to tenderize it. I know what you're thinking...high finished temp equals dried-out liver, and this likely is true with conventional cooking methods. What I'm about to suggest may or may not be the right method for a liver, but I've had good results with everything else I've hot-smoked...I just never had the opportunity to try it with liver.

    This is a long read, and explains the whole concept and how to set up your smoker to make this method work (very simple, actually) may be worth a shot to get the texture more palatable without drying-out the liver beyond recognition. Read the first few paragraphs explaining how and why it works...then decide if it's something you'd like to try in the future:

    BTW, being this is beef liver, I would also suggest a simple rub of SPOG (salt, pepper, onion, garlic), at a ratio of approx, 1:1:4:2. Beef doesn't seem to need a lot of enhancement, being it is a stronger flavor, and this is a very strong flavor of organ meat...the onion probably will do best as the dominant flavor, while the garlic gives a little extra push, just to cover some of the mineral flavor of the liver (dried onion has a slightly sweet back-ground).

    Again, what you did with that liver looks and sounds primo...I had to scratch my head to figure out what you could do to make it better, but if texture is the main issue, I think the wet-to-dry smoke chamber may be just the trick. Exactly what finished temp will get the texture more to your liking may take a bit of trial and error...somewhere around 175*F may be a good starting point, and if it doesn't probe tender when you poke around inside, just give it more time for higher I/T and probe it again. I'm just not sure about how high you can go before the liver simply turns to mush inside from over-cooking.

    I wish I had more definitive info for you...hope this helps.

  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The liver and the plate in general looks good. BUT...I have to disagree with Eric, sorry bro...The key to a more Steak Like liver texture is LESS cooking, an IT of no more than 125 to 130°F. The more Rare to Med/Rare you make it the firmer and more juicy the texture. The make up of the liver cells is very different from muscle cells and the Reticular Fibers that hold the cells together are different from the Collagen that holds muscle cells together. The liver cells are very small (See Below) and very heat sensitive. The reticular fibers are tougher than collagen and although made of the same protein do not breakdown as easily. At internal temps above 140°F the delicate protein in the small liver cells quickly loses water and shrinks to fine grains. This is why over cooked liver gets chalky and gritty, the texture most people object to. The Mineral flavor is also less pronounced in liver that is not over cooked. Additionally, Calves Liver has a much more mild flavor and tender texture the Beef Liver...JJ

  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You da man, JJ!! I stand corrected...everything you stated makes perfect sense. I have had my share of overcooked liver, based on the above, 'cuz none of it was a good eating experience. I can't even remember the last time I ate liver...probably 20 years (???). I may have to try a med/rare finish and see how I like it.

  6. Thanks for the responses and compliments. Both a couple of very good reads...I will try a little lower IT next time

  7. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Both my mom and dad loved liver!  Calves liver, to be exact - years ago it was the cheapest you could buy.  Most packing places just threw it out, but dad grabbed any he could get.  A local butchering shop worked with a veal and calf production house that processed hundreds of calves for NYC Jewish trade and Carmen, the owner, would give dad 30# metal meat buckets of them for free.   We would fry slices in bacon fat and with a floured coating on them of different flavors; I particularly loved the Italian coating!  Just a little pink in the center.  So delicious!  We'd grill whole calves livers too w/bbq sauce - oh wow, what a treat, and dad would throw on some sea scallops too!   And BBQ'd lamb hearts, split open and grill marks on each side and they were done!  Fantastic!
  8. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Any chance this thread could be moved over to "noise to tail" with the rest of the liver,heart & secondary cuts.? Chef JJ s tutorial will help people who are looking for tips for all sorts liver .
    I remember after a pig killing with Italians the liver was cut into slices with caul fat sort of wound around it then char grilled . Bit strong for my taste but I liked the no waste approach.
    I saw a pigs liver Thai salad the other day,wok fried then mixed with the usual suspects ,holy basil,lime,fish sauce ,red onion,garlic,ginger,bean sprouts .
    I will try it soon ,my office is on the edge of what's now called Thaitown.

  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sure, it will be done!  More appropriate, as liver is from beef, veal, calf, pig, bear, antelope, chicken, turkey, pheasant, etc...
  10. So fun to see!!! Years ago, I went through an intense pâté making phase with ostrich, emu, and rhea. I always just barely seared the livers (and chopped hearts) and I loved the result! 

    Of course when a case of frozen ostrich livers and hearts arrived on my doorstep (on dry ice) - some of the organs being near football sized; my husband, at that time, (and not a strong stomached one at that), was rather horrified. So that was grounds for divorce as far as I could see, and I moved out, and didn't really make much pâté afterward really.

    But hey, the smell of liver even, is still pretty alluring to me! Great job! And Happy Easter to all!!!!!

    Cheers! - Leah
  11. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    JJ is this true for hearts also? A brazilian friend of mine always has chicken hearts at his BBQs and they taste good....but also a very chalky and gritty "chew" to them.
  12. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I did some chicken hearts a while back .The thread is here is  somewhere. I did them in a Basque style. I think you have to keep them medium rare.IMO they are a better char grill than a slow smoke. Skewered with chunks of chorizo if I remember.Recipe in my head & its a bit crowded in there at the moment[​IMG]
  13. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Found it ,I used home made bacon in chunks,chorizo must have been another  random idea. Marinade was really good,kept them moist.
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As usual, JJ is the man.

    I would never have thought about smoking liver?

    My mom would cook beef liver till we could sole our shoes with it.  Always hated it.

    Then learned about baby beef liver.  Sliced thin and cooked so there was just a touch of pink in the middle?


    Bacon and onions anyone?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, Chicken Hearts are a very fine grain as well and can be gritty if over cooked. The big exception as far as chicken offal is Gizzards. Simmered until tender then cooled Breaded and Fried makes a Popcorn Chicken Snack. Many of the larger animal hearts are best sliced thin and grilled med/rare or moist cooked, Braised or Stewed until they shred like a Pot Roast or Pulled Pork. I have made Beef Heart using my Pot Roast recipe and it was amazing...JJ
  16. lizs

    lizs Newbie

    So, Chef JJ - how exactly would you do calf liver on the smoker?

    What weight would you get?  Sliced or whole?

    Marinate, rub, inject?

    Aluminum pan (I know a lot of people don't like them, but I figure if M Mixon can, so can I!)?

    Seasonings?  Add hard wood?

    What would you serve it with?

    This is one meat that never entered my mind for the smoker, but it could be quite interesting.

    I love it lightly sautéed in olive oil, green onion, garlic, stewed tomato and red wine:)

  17. I have smoked calf liver. I use four slices for two servings...rub liver wth whatthisheresauce, put one slice on grate put two onion slices on top, top with another slice of liver, top with a couple slices of bacon. Smoke at 225 to 250 until bacon is done
  18. I forgot to mention that you sauté the onions behfor putting them on the liver.
  19. ida tater

    ida tater Newbie

    Not a big fan of liver but hate to waste anything. We just split a cow with some friends and decided to try smoked liver. Sliced the liver, a little salt and pepper. 220 for about 1 1/2 hrs over hickory. It turned out very nice, it had a nice texture for liver. I am still not a big fan but this made it do-able for me. Buddy that wanted it loved it. If you are a fan of liver I would recommend giving it a try. 

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