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Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Dove Heart, Nature’s Popcorn Chicken (With Pictures)

dove heart

Are you throwing away this delicious treat? Dove heart is a tasty meal that you’re probably wasting.

Dove hunting is an absolute blast, not to mention, for most, the first hunting season of the year. It allows you to break out the gear, hit the field, get your dog in shape, and crack a few shots off to get rid of the off season rust.

However, the best part of dove hunting is the meal that follows. Bacon-wrapped dove or dove poppers are both hard meals to beat. But besides the breast, there is a toothsome piece of the dove that you are probably throwing away and wasting. That is the heart.

These small organs are tiny, but if you save up enough, you’re in for a great snack. Below is the simplest way I have found to prepare these tiny nuggets of deliciousness: simply deep frying them.

Before you knock it, give it a shot. My best comparison is popcorn chicken, with a little more consistency and a hint of texture.


Step 1

First things first. After the hunt, clean the dove as if you’re de-breasting them. The heart is located in the center of the dove’s diaphragm behind the breast: simply pull it out and place in a container to rinse off later.


Once you have them all rinsed off, they will look like the picture above and it is time for the next step.

Step 2

Now, it is time to bread the hearts. Although there are many ways and breadings you could use for this, I have found Andy’s Cajun fish batter is the best. I enjoy a little spice and kick to my meals, so it adds a nice punch. Simply pour your choice of breading into the bowl and place the number of hearts you will be cooking into the bowl as well.


Step 3

Now, once your dove hearts are in the breading, shake well and move the hearts around until all the surface area is covered with the breading.

When they look like the picture below, you’re ready for the next step.

img_3974Step 4

I eat fish on a weekly basis. Therefore, I invested in a Fry Daddy. It is a quick and fast option for frying fish in the winter months and steaming vegetables as well. That’s what I am using to cook the dove hearts in this article, but you can do this step in other ways as well. Cooking them with a heated skillet will yield the same results.

I place the hearts in the frying basket as pictured below and wait as I heat the vegetable oil to around 350 degrees.

img_3979Once the grease has reached the appropriate temperature and is ready for the hearts, I simply drop the basket down and let it do its magic. Wait until the hearts start to sizzle and send bubbles rising to the surface of the oil. Wait a little bit after that and bring the basket of hearts out of the oil.

If you prefer your meat a little more done, you can give it a little longer, to your liking.

Once the hearts have been fully cooked, they should look something like the photo below.


Step 5

Now that the hearts are cooked, it is time for you to enjoy. Because they’re such a small snack, I enjoy including them with a meal as additional source of meat and protein. Otherwise, you would need a whole bunch of birds. I think they go great with fish.

The batter is already out and the grease is already heated, making it an easy transition.

img_3981A country boy delicacy if I ever saw one! Tell me that plate above doesn’t make your mouth water. All I ask is that you give it a chance; then you can make your decision whether you are a fan or not.

Also, next time you and your hunting partner are cleaning birds and you say “Hey, save the hearts,” be prepared for some strange looks.

NEXT: 5 Reasons the Browning A-5 Still Beats the Competition

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Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Dove Heart, Nature’s Popcorn Chicken (With Pictures)