Beef Heart Pastrami

Milen Nenchev (Милен Ненчев) from Sofia, Bulgaria shared details of Beef Heart Pastrami he made. The work is of such quality that I had to include it in my list of artisan recipes.

He writes, “Harvest wasn’t going well so I thought I’d make the cats a Christmas present but decided to taste it before making the final decision…!? A gross mistake I would have made if I hadn’t tried. Unfortunately, the kittens will be left without a gift!!! 😁

Controlled salting for 10-12 days.
The right amount of spices for 1000 grams
30 grams of salt (12 nitrite / 18 plain)
5 grams of sugar
5 grams of black pepper
5 grams of conifer
2 grams of cumin
2 grams of pride
3-4 pcs of cloves
1 gram of cardamom
50 ml of red wine
Cheers! 🍷

There are other Beef Heart Pastrami recipes on the web, but this is my favourite due to the low water activity and the possibility to create another biltong hybrid! I include this on my list of artisan products to make. Shall I call it Milen (Милен)-Biltong? I like the name! 🙂


Ladies and gentlemen, licantropes! ☠☠☠ Good news for horror lovers and fans of brutal music. In my attempts to create something different, more interesting, better… I present to your attention the experiment that exceeded all expectations. Here is the final continuation of the saga “Lukanka from a Beef Heart”❤❤❤

Milen Nenchev (Милен Ненчев) not only made beef heart pastrami but also sausages.

One of his friends, Nikolay Nikolov (Николай Николов) made an interesting comment worth noting. He wrote, “I have done a lot of experiments, beef heart and pork 50/50, 60/40 and one sample of beef heart only, a perfect sausage is always obtained, I also put pork hearts instead of beef and it still works, the woman likes more the one with hearts than the one with only meat.”

Very special people live around the Black Sea with a natural “feeling” for meat that goes back thousands of years! It shows!

For more information, go to Artisan Meat

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Chuck Vavra’s Prasky

6 January 2020
Prasky by Chuck Vavra

Prasky 4.jpg


11 pounds of “Prasky” – Prasky is a nickname for Pražská klobása (Prague Sausage). It was introduced to the US by Czech-American sausage makers who wanted to recreate the street sausage of their homeland. I got my recipe from the last “old-world” Czech sausage maker in Cleveland, just before he retired. Grind all meat on a coarse plate. Mix in spices. Grind 2/3 on a fine plate. Mix. Stuff into 1.5″ casing. Smoke 4-6 hours (hickory) 130F. Sous vide 145F for 1 hour, ice bath until cold. (or if you don’t have SV finish in 160F water bath to it=150F, shower with ice water, and hang at room temp a few hours to bloom).

Chuck writes that “Vaclav was so kind to open his safe (literally) and share his family recipe with me. When he was retiring, he called and asked If I wanted to take over his sausage-making business… NO WAY I was interested in working that hard (as I know you know). I’m thrilled to be able to carry on his recipes, I know he would be thrilled that they are being used and being passed on rather than being lost forever.”


Prasky 1


Grind all in coarse (≈ 1cm) plate, Mix in spices. Regrind 2/3-3/4 fine (≈3 mm) plate (I eyeball it, I want balance so that coarse pieces “stand out” from fine matrix), mix with reserved coarse grind. Stuff and smoke.

Original recipe calls for “Old bull meat”… Hard to find at the local store 😉. I usually use beef chuck and the fattiest pork butts I can find. – You are shooting for about 30% fat. You can vary proportion of pork:beef to your liking. Sorej shared the secret of finishing in 160F hot water bath (vs finishing in hot smokehouse). It keeps product much juicier). I now finish sous vide. A number of pluses: lower temp=still juicier, also pasteurized to core so much better fridge stability.

Let me know if you make it and howe you like it. So happy to pass on an old world recipe to live on!

Finding “Old bull meat”

Chris Farmer made the following very helpful comment to Chris’s post on his Prasky.

“I think your product looks great. I find it refreshing that you’re trying to stay true to an old simple recipe while adopting modern methods. As a meat cutter I’ll offer this for consideration in regards to the “Old Bull Meat” as being “hard to find” through your “butcher”. “Butchers” really aren’t “butchers” anymore in a meat department of tray ready boneless primals so I’ll offer you a different way to ask your “butcher” for “Old Bull Meat”…….. Consider: Texture is a big part of sausage and you’re using beef chuck that is most likely one of two grades US Select or US Choice grade beef. US select is leaner and has less marbling. In consideration of texture for your sausage ask your “butcher” what they use for their 90/10 extra lean beef grind. This varies a little from store to store and can be dependent on market prices but I’d venture to say they’re using 90/10 pre-ground beef in tubes, 60 pound blocks of frozen boneless beef from New Zealand or Austrailia, or “No Roll” or inside rounds or Sirloin tips from either the US or Canada all of which will measure in with a lean/fat ratio at 90/10 or leaner. So in consideration of texture alone and to mimic “Old Bull Meat”, ask your “Butcher” to sell you their lean grind meats if it’s “No Roll Grade Beef” or frozen New Zealand or Australian frozen beef both of which will be cheaper than Choice or Select chuck, is very lean, and not as tender…… How you want to do this is absolutely up to you, you’re the maker, I’m just trying to help you and others with a little bit of terminology to help you communicate a little better with your local meat cutters to get as close as possible to what you want.

Further Reading

Upload the history of Prasky:  Prasky-history


Chuck Vavra.  His FB site is