Our grass fed goat and lamb offal, like hearts, livers and kidneys are a great thing to buy for special recipes where they’re called for, especially our corned lamb or goat hearts (see recipe here). But, these nutrient dense organs are also a great, low-cost option for supplementing your dogs diet too, and serving as a very special treat.
Predators like canines, have evolved efficiently to find the nutrients they need to survive in the wild. One thing people don’t often think about is the importance of organ meats for predator animals, like your pet dog or cat. Organ meats have higher nutrient densities than regular muscle tissue, and this is why, likely for the majority of human history, ogran meats and offal were prized more than the muscle meat itself.
In our modern era, and especially in Caucasion cultures, organ meats are plentiful, cheap, and, often wasted or discarded due to their flavor being stronger than meat. Cultural dislike of offal consumption is definitely a change from historical eating patterns, but it has no bearing on the health benefits of eating it–organ meats are as healthy as ever, especially for your pet.
Some pet treats and foods will contain organ meats, but often these foods also contain grains and other processed ingredients, and, as we love our dogs, we want their diet to be as natural as possible, and, keeping it natural, in this case, means freezing the organ meats to preserve the nutrients available in their fresh state.
This simple recipe is nothing more than frozen pieces of lamb or goat kidney, liver or heart, cut into small, bite-sized nibbles, the size of which will depend on your dog. Serve the frozen bites as a diet supplement alongside regular food, or straight from the freezer as a treat for dogs large enough to eat the treats in one bite. Try your hand at truly natural dog treats, made from the highest quality grass-fed lamb and goat, just like nature intended, for your furry family members.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
Any of the following organs would be fine for cutting and freezing for “bites”.
- Lamb or goat liver, kidneys, or heart, as needed
- Parchment paper or a silicon baking mat
- Baking tray, a size that will fit in your freezer
- Non stick spray
- Freeze the livers or kidneys for an hour before cutting to make handling them easier. As the treats are frozen, the size of your dog will dictate what size you can cut the kidney or liver into.
- Cut the lamb liver or kidney into bite size pieces, then arrange on the parchment on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, or on a silicon baking mat.
- Make sure the pieces of liver and kidney don’t touch each other, as they’ll stick after freezing. After 6 hours, transfer the frozen kidney and liver pieces to a freezer bag and seal.
- Give out the treats as a supplement with their normal food, or straight from the freezer as a snack if the dog is large enough to eat them whole, and not drop them on the floor, which can get messy.
- If a dehydrator is available, or dried treats are preferred for easy storage, cut the kidney, liver or heart into pieces and dehydrate at 145 F or higher until cracker dry, about 24 hours, or bake on the lowest possible setting in the oven with the door ajar until completely cooked and dried, then store in a covered container at room temperature.