skewered and grilled duck hearts
Christina Holmes / Roscoe Bestill (Food and Prop Styling)

You’re depriving yourself,” writes Steven Rinella, “if you’re not retaining giblets from your waterfowl and uplantd birds.” In his new book, The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook, the TV host, podcaster, and outdoorsman deftly shows you a cure for that deprivation with this ­recipe. The dish shines with just about any heart—​from geese and turkeys to elk and deer.

Ingredients | Serves 2

For the Duck Hearts

  • 1⁄2 lb. duck hearts, cleaned (about 6 hearts)
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Leaves from 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • Small bunch of grapes, on the stem
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lightly grilled or toasted baguette slices
  • Special Equipment Needed: Metal or wooden skewers

For the Walnut and Mint Pesto

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1⁄2 lemon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
marinating duck hearts
Hearts of Gold: Marinate the hearts in vinegar, olive oil, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves. Christina Holmes


  1. Combine the vinegar, oil, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic in a wide shallow bowl. Transfer half of the marinade to a Ziploc bag, add the duck hearts, toss around to coat, then marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
  3. Make the pesto: Put the walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the parsley, arugula, mint, and lemon zest, and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the cheese, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, and pulse until just combined.
  4. Heat a grill on high heat. Gently toss the grapes in the bowl of reserved marinade to coat. Sprinkle the grapes with salt and pepper, then grill, covered, turning occasionally, until slightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl of marinade until ready to serve.
  5. Remove the duck hearts from the marinade, place them on skewers, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Grill the hearts, ­covered, until desired ­doneness—4 to 5 minutes for medium rare—turning halfway through. Serve the hearts with the grapes, ­baguette slices, and walnut and mint pesto.