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Butchers with Sweetbreads

k
K Jan 18, 2005 06:39 PM

I am searching for butcher shops that carry sweetbreads and other modern 'offal'. Preferably only in SF proper, but I'll head out to Oakland if I must.

Thanks.

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  1. j
    Jim H. RE: K Jan 18, 2005 07:09 PM

    You might call around the upscale markets (bryan's, mollie Stone, Andronico's, Draegers, etc). Usually it is kept frozen, due to perishability. I bought some sweetbreads at Mollie Stone's a few months ago...rather shocked at the price (around $6 lb).

    12 Replies
    1. re: Jim H.
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      ChowFun (derek) RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 01:23 AM

      I also have searched in the past and found frozen (so unacceptable to me) ones at Andronicos....if you do find fresh ones, please let us know!

      1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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        Jim H. RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 01:13 PM

        I don't think you'll find fresh ones...they are too perishable and in low demand. I doubt if you even see them displayed in the meat case for that reason. In an industry that passes off top sirloin as "chateaubriand" I don't trust the claims of freshness.

        1. re: Jim H.
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          ChowFun (derek) RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 02:23 PM

          You're probably right...I've tried for years to find fresh ones (in NY they were wrapped and out in the fridge just like steak!)..I've tried Tower, Bryans, Andronico's...no luck....

          1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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            Jim H. RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 04:36 PM

            Sadly, sweetbreads seem to have fallen out of favor. There has been a feeling that you eat a few sweetbreads and fall over dead from a cholesterol attack...same with chicken livers. There was a time when every good Italian restaurant had sauteed sweetbreads or chicken livers...usually with mushrooms. And marsala. I suppose if they get popular again, we will find them fresh. A suggestion. If you find some, soak, parboil and trim. Shrink wrap with a Food Saver and keep frozen for several months. Freeze in small portions.

            1. re: Jim H.
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              ChowFun (derek) RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 08:21 PM

              You can still find them sauteed that way at most of the "Joe's"

              1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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                Jim H. RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 10:03 PM

                Yeah...I often get them at Original Joe's...but I prefer them battered or floured and crispy first...then sauteed. The best I ever had was years ago at La Burgoign (sp)...crispy and flambeed in brandy.

          2. re: Jim H.
            r
            Robert Lauriston RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 04:24 PM

            Fresh sweetbreads are readily available, albeit in limited quantities, from any of the many halal butchers who break down whole lambs.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
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              Jim H. RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 19, 2005 04:29 PM

              Hey...that's great. If you want lamb sweetbreads.

              1. re: Jim H.
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                ChowFun (derek) RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 04:38 PM

                Hallal butchers must have beef too??!! Just not pork (do pigs have sweetbreads...maybe 'sweet and sour breads')
                Then again Kosher butchers would too....I'll call and see...

                1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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                  Robert Lauriston RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 04:55 PM

                  Halal butchers always have beef, but it usually comes in as sides or quarters rather than whole animals.

                  1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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                    Jim H. RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 07:01 PM

                    I may sound a bit picky, but I doubt you will find any commercial sweetbreads other than veal. I don't think I've ever seen beef, pork or lamb sweetbreads (except maybe at a meat packers). These days its hard enough to sell veal SB without risking a market for exotic "offal". There may be specialty shops catering to ethnic tastes...certain Greek kabobs, for example.

                    1. re: Jim H.
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                      Robert Lauriston RE: Jim H. Jan 19, 2005 07:33 PM

                      If by "commercial" you mean from Safeway, maybe not, but any fancy butcher should have a provider from which it can special-order lamb sweetbreads.

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          wally RE: K Jan 18, 2005 07:14 PM

          "modern" offal? Animals don't change that fast and people have been eating all the parts of animals for a very long time. If you are talking popular, sweetbreads have been popular for a very long time (much longer than either of our lifetimes).

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            Robert Lauriston RE: K Jan 18, 2005 08:48 PM

            I shopped around a lot for a couple of offal dinners I had last year, and found by far the best quality, selection, and prices at my local halal butcher. I go to Indus Foods in Berkeley, but I believe there are two or three similar butchers in SF.

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              Louise RE: K Jan 19, 2005 12:58 AM

              Any unusual meat requirements, Chinatown is a place to start. Tendon, duck legs, chicken feet, several intimate parts of a bull, all there in the butcher's case at that place at 7th and Broadway in Oakland.

              1. j
                Justin RE: K Jan 19, 2005 10:39 AM

                They have both western and white sweetbreats.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Justin
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                  ChowFun (derek) RE: Justin Jan 19, 2005 12:54 PM

                  I called, (very nice on the phone) they have frozen not fresh.

                  1. re: ChowFun (derek)
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                    Justin RE: ChowFun (derek) Jan 19, 2005 05:27 PM

                    Good luck

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                  Chinny RE: K Jan 22, 2005 01:07 AM

                  I use thymus glands for science experiments for my high school biology class that I teach (they happen to by loaded with DNA). I order them from a butcher shop at the corner of Cole and Parnassus (I forget the name). I don't remember them being expensive.

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                    rootlesscosmo RE: K Jul 8, 2006 04:28 AM

                    Maybe pork sweetbreads are hard to find because the thymus gland almost disappears in mammals at puberty. Veal, lamb, maybe piglet, yes; beef, mutton, or pork sweetbreads, I'm guessing no.

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