Anticuchos (Peruvian Beef Hearts)

As I try to eat organ meats, I find myself drawn to this traditional Peruvian dish. If you go to any good Peruvian restaurant they will likely have this on the menu as an appetizer. It goes perfect with the Aji Amarillo sauce for dipping. Beef heart is extremely nutritious (Especially grass fed/finished) and taste and texture is like a cross between steak and liver in my opinion. I do prefer it more well done due to not liking the texture of liver but I tend to eat it medium because i’m just used to cooking stakes to medium rare - medium.


  • Beef heart (This recipe is for about 2 pounds roughly. If you buy a beef heart, slice about a quarter off. You will have to trim the fat for the recipe.)

  • Marinade:

    • 1/2 cup Aji Panca Paste -

    • 3/4 cup Red Wine vinegar

    • 2 tbsp Minced Garlic

    • 1 tbsp Cumin

    • 1 tsp Salt (more if you want it salty!) This is to taste.

    • 1 tbsp Pepper

  • Dipping Sauce:

    • 4 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil

    • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)

    • 3 yellow aji amarillo chile peppers (frozen is fine) or 1/3 to 1/2 cup jarred aji amarillo paste

    • 2 cloves garlic (mashed)

    • 10oz white queso fresco cheese (or farmer's cheese, or a mixture of mozzarella and feta cheese)

    • 4 saltine crackers (skip if you don’t want any added carbs!)

    • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

    • Optional: salt and pepper (to taste)

Prepare the Marinade:

In a large mixing bowl mix: ½ cup of aji panca paste, ¾ cup red vinegar, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of cumin and 1 tablespoon of pepper. Add salt to taste. Mix thoroughly. Slice the beef hearts (I prefer thinly sliced.) Add the sliced beef heart to the marinade, mix thoroughly, set aside and refrigerate for 3 hours minimum or overnight (no longer than overnight)

Make the Sauce:

  • Remove seeds from yellow chile peppers and chop into 1-inch pieces if using actual peppers and not the paste.

  • Sauté onion, garlic, and chile peppers (or paste) in the oil until onion is softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

  • Place onion/chile mixture in a food processor or blender. Add evaporated milk and blend.

  • Add cheese and crackers and blend until smooth. The sauce should be fairly thick. Thicken sauce with more saltines or thin sauce with milk if necessary.

  • Serve room temp or chilled.

Grill the Beef Hearts:

Start by sliding 3 or 4 pieces of heart onto each skewer. Preheat your grill to medium flame. Cook the anticuchos over the grill on each side, generously basting the marinade, until medium rare, being careful not to overcook them so that they still are tender on the inside. Then cook to internal temperature you prefer. Like I mentioned I prefer them medium well but you might want to experiment with different levels of doneness for different skewers to see what you prefer.