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Jan 24, 2006 07:16 AM

Roll call - who has tried chitlins or tripe and what's your opinion?

  • p

In case you don't know, chitlins are hog intestines and certainly not for the faint of heart. There are two ways of cooking them either fried or boiled. I like boiled served over rice with hot sauce. With chitlins you must trust the cook to make sure the chitlins are cleaned and that all the chit is removed ( that's the nicest way I can say it ).

In South Carolina we celebrate the lowly chitlin each year with a festival in it's honor - the Salley,S.C. Chitlin Strut. Venders sell t-shirts which read "we got the guts to strut". When they cook those several tons of chitlins in Salley it is said that all the trees within several miles instantaneously drop their leaves.

Just a few inches removed from chitlins is the wonderful dish from stomach called tripe. I always liked beef tripe a little better than pork tripe. IMO tripe is better fried. The stringy texture is unique and not unlike cuddlefish.

Some may find this discussion distasteful but it would be a boring world if we didn't have diversity in our foods. And yes I've tried mountain oysters but they don't compare IMO to chitlins or tripe.

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  1. Tried them several times, don't particularly like them.

    1. a
      anon. this time

      Paul, we are really glad you found Chowhound. Really, we are. You seem to be someone of Southern heritage (as am I) who is proud of their unique regional foods, and loves to talk about them (see: SC-BBQ birthplace, boiled peanuts and yankees, chitlins/tripe). But what's next? Squirrel: the other white meat
      or armadillo: better than opossum, really!!
      I have a hard time taking your posts seriously.
      I don't mean this as a personal attack, but you seem to be a culinary "bomb thrower".

      10 Replies
      1. re: anon. this time

        Speaking as an Illinois boy who grew up eating squirrel rather more often than rabbit, I fail to understand your incredulity...although anyone who'd call squirrel "white meat" clearly knows nothing about it.

        Never had possum, but I'd certainly try it if it were offered. I do have a couple of cookbooks with recipes for it. As for armadillo, well, there are frozen ones in the meat cases of quite a few Asian markets near where I live, though I must say I'm not tempted...

        1. re: Will Owen

          I have been bugging my dad to keep any of the squirrels he shoots (to keep them away from his bird feeders) so I can try cooking them, but he never calls when he gets one. I'm really curios to see what it's like. I also want to try ground hog, but it's probably really greasy. I figure if you're shooting it why let it go to waste? I know I sound like a redneck, I just like to try new things.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Possum is good. A little bit chewy, but tasty.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Got to be careful eating or even handling armadillo as they are known to carry the ancient disease leprosy.

            2. re: anon. this time

              Hello Anon (c.hound staff?),

              Those armidillos have indeed moved up from Florida and are all over S.C. We just refer to them here as possom on-the-half shell. I've tried possom, but like squirrel, it's too greasy for my likings. Plus you have to catch'em, pen'em up, and feed'em for a few weeks before eating them.

              I don't know that I'd consider my posts as bomb shells. I have tried to provide honest information based upon real life experiences. Grew up on a farm and recall a way of life that might seem foreign to you. When I speak of chitlins I know what it's like to butcher a hog. I only saw one negative reply and that was from someone who didn't understand what it means to stay up all night with your buddies, drink beer and cook a pig. I hope that I have been able to inject some homespun humor into a website that shouldn't take itself too seriosly. Afterall, one definition of chowhound is a "glutton".

              The Sterns took me serious enough to quote me and use my material in several of their books. I've also had reviews published locally. Working on a piece for "The Sandlapper" magazine now on a Mennonite grist mill and restaurant. Imagine eating shoofly pie while watching your grits get ground?

              Now Anon tell me the truth. Had you rather have a board full of unusual characters with colorful posts or one full of food snobs with bland posts? If the two can't coexist I don't mind moving on.

              1. re: Paul in S.C.

                Paul, the Chow Team doesn't leave notes in this way or with this sort of message or tone. We welcome all voices and all chow opinions (so long as they're friendly and non-commercial).

                The moderators are shuddering that anyone would think they'd post something like this. Please keep enjoying the site, and try to ignore anonymous trolls.


                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Well I appreciate your reply. Hope I haven't been too controversial so far.

                  1. re: Paul in S.C.

                    Paul, I am a constant reader, and rare poster on CH, and your posts are some of my favorites and most informative. My dad grew up during the depression on a farm, and his stories are just like yours! Keep on posting, and don't let one bad apple ruin your day!

                    1. re: JudyHP

                      Judy, Thanks for the kind words. As you know I'm new to this site but not new to my love for "food culture". As interesting as the food may be the people and stories are often the most entertaining. I am amazed to discover that so many people all over the world like tripe and chitlins. I'll keep posting.

              2. re: anon. this time

                We are leaving your highly inappropriate posting because the replies are interesting. Please don't take it upon yourself to squelch discussion. This is a forum where many viewpoints may be expressed, and we expect all users to show tolerance for their fellow hounds and let a zillion topics bloom.

                This WAS intended as a personal attack (which are against our rules), or else you'd have posted under your own nametag. Postings under alias are postings that oughtn't to have been made....and, FYI, use of alternative nametags is cause for banning under our rules (link below). Please don't repeat.



              3. I have had chitlins several times, and even made them once or twice. I have only had them boiled, and you are right about trusting the cook. They were delicious, and I wish I lived in an area where they were more readily available in restaurants. I would make them myself more often, but I am the only one I know who likes them.

                The only way I have ever had tripe is in menudo, which I also enjoy very much. I am fairly sure that pork tripe is used around here, but that's OK with me. And thankfully there is no shortage of places around me that make it at least as a special on weekends.

                1. while i haven't tried chitlins, i have had boiled seal intestines. once you get past the idea, they're pretty good. similar to a tough noodle. i imagine pretty much any boiled intestine would be similar.

                  like another respondent below, my tripe experience has been limited to menudo, which i found very good.

                  1. I've tried tripe twice - once in the form of andouillettes in Paris many years ago and, most recently, at a dim sum house in NYC last weekend. I just don't get it. I found the texture most unpleasant - it was kind of like trying to chew rubber bands.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Deenso

                      Andouillettes are made with intestines, not tripe. The only ones I tried in Paris were not rubbery at all, but quite tender. My wife liked them, too, which amused me because she always claims that though she likes tripe she'd NEVER eat I showed her a recipe for andouillettes!

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        fai jay (fai jackson)

                        I don't think you are correct. I always thought andouillettes were made with tripe and were to be purchased at a triperie. Only in France is there a tripe speciallity store? All that said, the first time I was in Paris, having read about that noble sausage, I ordered it my first night. I did not love it and never ordered it again, but maybe next time.

                        I had delicous tripe in Florence, that you purchase from the tripe stand near Dante's house and American Express.

                        1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

                          Could be that the French simply file all that GI stuff under "tripe" as far as selling it goes. Anyway, I looked up andouillettes in Larousse Gastronomique and it said they were made from intestines, and then in a charcuterie book that (oddly enough) my wife had given me was a set of illustrations showing how intestine is cut into narrow longitudinal strips and stuffed into casings...but now we're getting into Home Cooking!

                          1. re: Will Owen
                            fai jay (fai jackson)

                            When your right your right. I guess the triperie threw me off. Sorry, and thanks for the answer.

                          2. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

                            > Only in France is there a tripe speciallity store?

                            Not only in France... In Spain, too. And probably a lot of other places.

                            I've never had a chewy tripe. It's usually very soft and slightly spongy. I live in a big tripe-eating neighborhood (in the form of Callos a la Madrileña) and eat it quite a bit. I think it produces a really good soup/stew, though I don't enjoy the tripe itself all that much.

                            But my favorite is fried sheeps intestines wrapped around twigs (zarajos). A specialty of Cuenca, but available in most low-rent bars/churrerías in my 'hood. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

                        2. re: Deenso

                          Yeah, I was a little squeemish about trying tripe until a non English-speaking inlaw slipped me a dish of menudo. The texture was not at all rubbery, but light and springy.

                          That emboldened me to try menudo other places and ... when tripe is good, it is very, very good, when it is bad it is horrid. One go around was huge pieces that were like the rubber band texture you mentioned. I could almost hear the cow mooing on each bite.

                          Recently I had menudo at a upscale Mexican restaurant and it was the most amazingly wonderful thing I ever tried ... melt in your mouth tender.

                          I guess just read Chowhound for descriptions of good places that serve it. Or only order it at places you know and trust do other dishes well. I hope you'll try sometime in the future. It can be great.