Liver is simply a nutrient powerhouse, it is packed with so many essential vitamins and minerals and high in proteins. This post will show you how to cook, enjoy and incorporate liver into your carnivore diet.
You can jump straight to the recipe below if you just want to know how to cook it.
But for those of you who have never eaten it before and even feel a bit queasy at the thought of trying organ meat for the first time, I would like to go through the nutritional profile of liver to give you some motivation.
Nutrients in liver
As can be seen in the table below, liver is full of nutrients and truly the superhero of the carnivore diet.
Liver is loaded with so many essential nutrients. It is especially rich in vitamin A and B12 and high in riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), B6, folate. Liver is also a good source of copper, selenium, phosphorous, zinc and iron.
However, too much of a good thing is never good. Because of the high vitamin A content, there is a concern of vitamin A toxicity from overconsumption.
Instances of vitamin A toxicity from dietary sources are rarely reported. Some people on the carnivore diet regularly eat more than the upper intake levels. However, given the lack of evidence on the safeness of high liver consumption, I would stay within the range of daily recommended allowance and the upper intake levels.
In this post, I provide a detailed calculation of how much liver you can safely consume in a day for various types of liver.
In summary, for beef liver, the range is from 14 grams to 59 grams a day which is roughly 2 to 6 thin slices. For chicken liver, you can eat a lot more because its vitamin A content is lower than beef liver. For lamb and pork liver, the amount is slightly less due to their higher vitamin A levels. For further detail, please check out the post.
It’s best to aim for a small amount on a regular basis rather than eating a large quantity once or twice a month.
Imagine going on a hunt with your tribe and sharing everything amongst the members, you wouldn’t have much liver to eat at all in a day.
In the photos below, I used beef liver because I like the taste of beef liver the most. Also because cows are generally the best raised amongst farmed animals, I generally prefer ruminant organ meat over pork and poultry organs.
But you can use any types of liver you like, beef, lamb, turkey, pork, or chicken liver using this recipe.
How to cook liver
- 400 gram of liver
- 2 tbs of animal fat or butter
- Salt to taste.
400 grams of liver should be enough for one person for one week, but you can of course cook in bulk and freeze for later use.
Prepping the liver
If you like, you can prep the liver before cooking following the steps below.
- Put the whole chunk of beef liver in a large dish, fill it up with milk till the liver is fully submerged, add 1/2 tsp of salt, clingwrap it, and leave it in the fridge for about 2 hours or even overnight if you like.
- Drain the milk and pat the liver dry. The liver is now ready to be used.
I, however, never used this step when cooking liver for myself. I’ve been eating liver since I was a child, not a lot, just a few bites here and there when my parents managed to get some. But I’ve never seen my parents nor others did any prepping nor heard them talk about it. They just sliced up the fresh liver and stir-fried it with a bit of vegetable.
When I worked on this recipe, I tried this prepping step and found there wasn’t the slightest difference in the taste of the cooked liver.
Cooking the liver
It is important to not overcook liver because it will become rubbery, taste not very nice, and hard to eat if you do.
Also beef liver has quite a bit of vitamin C, some estimated to be about 27mg per 100g. Because you don’t get a lot of vitamin C on the carnivore diet from muscle meat, it’s important to not overcook and destroy the vitamin C in the liver.
The goal is to get the liver that is soft and still pink inside. This can be achieved with the following simple steps:
- Slice the liver into thin slices of roughly 0.5 cm or 1/4 inch in size
- Heat the butter or animal fat in the pan on high heat till it is bubbling
- Place a single layer of liver slices in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for 30 seconds, turn over, and cook for another 30 seconds
- Immediately transfer from the frying pan to a plater to avoid further cooking.
Some liver recipes set the cooking time of 2 to 3 minutes each side. Some sources even suggest cooking liver for at least 5 minutes or until an internal temperature of more than 70°C has been reached and maintained for 2-3 minutes due to concern about Campylobacter contamination.
Apart from safety concerns, the cooking time obviously also depends on how thick the liver is sliced.
If you get liver from the shop and are not sure about its source, cook for a bit longer like you would for a medium-rare steak, but try not to cook till it becomes hard.
Below are some pictures of my simple cooking process.
A fresh chunk of liver I got from the butcher
Sliced evenly and ready to be cooked
Liver slices being seared in a frying pan
A plate of lightly cooked liver
Try to add liver to your meal regularly
Here is an example of one of my very simple carnivore meals: ground beef, 2 slices of liver pate, a bit of stir-fry lamb heart, and 3 eggs. It may not look very appealing but it’s nutritious, delicious, and satiating.
Ancestral carnivore version
For those of you who are new to eating organ meat on the carnivore diet, a bit of seasoning and plant food can help improving flavor substantially. Below is a simple beef liver, bacon, and onion recipe. Omit the onion if you would like it to be just a carnivore dish.
- 400 gram of beef liver, diced
- 4 strips of bacon, chopped into small bits
- 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs of animal fat or butter
- salt to taste
- Cook the bacon bits till crisps, remove from frying pan
- Heat butter or fat till bubbling hot, add onion and cook till caramalized
- Add the liver and cook for 2 minutes, stir regularly
- Add the cooked bacon and serve.
Below are some photos of this version of the recipe:
Other ways to add liver to your carnivore diet
Other ways that you can add liver to your diet:
- blend and add to ground beef
- make liver pate
- make liver crisp
- and eat it raw!
Please check out my other carnivore diet recipes here and learn how to make carnivore ice cream, healthy carnivore snacks, bone broth, or a calcium supplement from scraps that are normally destined for a landfill
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference purposes only and not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.