HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

For those who love offals, which are your favorite?

  • 111
  • Share

Hi my chowhound friends,

First off, just a disclaimer: If you don't like offals or you find them disgusting, you should stop reading right here. This will not be a pleasant post for you. In fact, possible side effects might include upset stomach, nausea, dizziness, and .... Anyway, hit return and read other posts.

If you are anything like me who love pretty much any kind of offals exist (I have yet to find one that I don't eat, at least), I am curious - Which kinds of offals are your favorite?

For me, the top 3 will be:
1. Tongue - Beef tongue, lamb tongue, veal tongue, even duck tongue (well, this is a little different, of course), you name it. My favorite got to be the shioyaki kobe gyutan - Japanese styled salt-grilled premium kobe beef tongue in THICK cut (Food Porn Pic attached). Those were out of this world - and I don't use these words lightly. I will pick them over a real kobe beef steak anyday.

2. Brains - Again, cow, lamb, pig, even the little ones in squab or goose. They are all good. People said brain is like sweetbread in texture but IMO brain is so much creamier and more luscious with a unique flavor. Too bad that they are so hard to find in restaurants and I just have to settle for sweetbreads which have a similar texture but less character. (note: I do like sweetbreads)

3. Headcheese or any kind of dishes/ terrines that compose of head meat. I love the mix of gelatinous skins and fatty meat together with other bits of offals. I will never attempt to make it myself since it involves so much work, but I always order it when I see it on the menu.

Of course, I still like my share of tripes, kidneys, livers, bone marrows, pig trotters, etc etc., but the top 3 were disclosed above. What are your favorites? I would love to hear. Feel free to include the types of preparation you like associated with your favorite offals.

NOTE: To make the reading manageable, let's list out 3 of your favorites, and EXCLUE FOIE GRAS. I LOVE foie gras but I don't think it should be included in this list that we are discussing.

Let's get started!

 
 
  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Sweetbreads, marrow, liver

    I have not tried brains, your description encourages me to remedy that!

    1 Reply
    1. re: meatn3

      2 out of your 3: sweetbreads, marrow, heart

    2. Liver (beef)

      Gizzards (chicken)

      1. Based on what I most often buy and fix:
        - feet, cow and pig, used for both the gelatinous broth, and skin
        - tripe (cow)
        - tongue, cow, but pig is cheaper

        less frequently I buy pigs ears (another gelatinous item, mostly skin), and gizzards (chicken and duck)
        blood sausage (Mexican morongo is easiest to find) and head cheese are also occasional purchases.

        2 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          I love Pigs' feet boiled down in French Onion soup.

          1. re: paulj

            I'm with you man! love getting the budget cuts at the supermarket; pork neck bones are great just for throwing in the oven.

          2. I absolutely adore lightly fried sweetbreads: slightly crisp on the outside, crispy and buttery on the inside. Tongue and tripe are flip sides of the same coin for me; their delicate richness and tenderness are equally intoxicating, though I eat the latter far more often than the former. Whether in morcillas, pudding or (my favorite dish) dinuguan, my third favorite, blood, adds a minerality and vitality to a dish that is incomparable. I think it's safe to say that I would die without blood. Other than kidneys, I don't think there's an awful cut of offal out there.

            1. Kobe, that beef tongue looks fantastic!

              I like calf's liver, calf's brains, sweetbreads, and kidneys. Obviously, tongue. I've yet to try other animals' brains such as lamb. Chicken liver & hearts.

              I shy away from pork offal because of the high levels of toxins, but pork liver is generally widely available in regular German grocery stores.

              If I had to pick a fave, it would have to be sweetbreads. Those are just delicious. Tripe I found to be rather uninspiring...

              1. Interesting question. I would have to say my top three are

                1. Tongue
                2. Tripe
                3. Liver

                Those are the three I've been eating since I was a kid -- perhaps that has something to do with it.

                My least favorites are blood and lung, though I haven't had spleen yet.

                1. Tripe (mondongo and laab); chicken heart (stroganoff) and beef heart (raw pickled or marinanded and BBQ); beef tongue (cooked, sliced thin, served cold); chicken gizzards (teriyaki); smoked beef lung (teriyaki); chicken liver (pate) and beef liver (w/ onions); head cheese; pigs feet (chile relleno); pork kidney (steak and kidney pie); blood (dinuguan); chicken intestines (crispy fried); sweetbreads (lightly fried); cow brain (baked in-head served with tortillas and beer - and the rest of the head).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Sam: 3 faves only. We know you'll eat anything.....LOL

                    My 3 favorites are:
                    1. Calves liver - I like this medium rare very simply prepared..onions, EVOO, a little salt & pepper. That's it.
                    2. Marrow - Again, simply roasted & served with a shallot/parsley sauce.
                    3. Lamb or veal sweetbreads - I've never cooked them, but if they're on a menu, I'll order.

                    I, too, have been eating these delicacies since childhood along with lamb kidney, my 4th favorite.....

                    1. re: Gio

                      Ooops, Joe, missed that three's the limit: guess it would have to be tripe, heart (chicken and beef), and liver (chicken, calf).

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        No worries Sam! I love your list. I have had beef heart before (Japanese / Korean BBQ and hot pot) but never raw pickled. Where did you have it?

                        And the smoked beef lung in teriyaki sauce sounds intriguing!

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Pickled is a beef heart ceviche. Make it at home: combine white vinegar with some salt, chopped fresh spicy/HOT chiles, and some feather sliced red onion, bring that to a boil in the MW or pan and let cool. Finely slice the heart (very rich so not that much) into bite sized pieces and place in fitted container, pour over the cooled vinegar solution, place in the ref for a couple of days before consuming. Serve with hot gohan.

                          The smoked lung here is great. Just cut off a piece, rinse under running water, slice thinly, and simmer a bit in a thin teriyaki sauce (mine is just shoyu, vinegar, bit of water, some sugar, lots of finely grated ginger, and thin sliced gasrlic as an option. Serve with hot gohan.

                  2. Number one is pig skin.
                    Perhaps not true offal, but if feet and tail are in the mix, me thinks skin is eligible. Crispy chicharon or stewed for tacos or ground for sausage. Yucatecos make a deep fried pork belly with skin on, 'castacan', one of the best things I've put in my mouth.
                    #2 is a tie between feet and tail - its a texture thing.
                    #3 beef tendon, either in pho, or in a chinese anise sauce.

                    1. Sweetbreads, marrow, liver. Brains were a childhood favorite (grew up in Eastern Europe), but I haven't revisted them in years.
                      I haven't gone the tongue or tripe (afraid it might be too chewy?), but I'm game. I'm not a huge headcheese fan as I don't like the texture of aspic (jello is a no-no for me).

                      1. Just three? Oh how can I choose? If I reeeeaaallly had to though, I guess my three favourite would be sweetbreads, marrow and pigs' feet.

                        1. calves liver with brown onion gravy and bacon

                          and brains, preferably wrapped in a thin sliver of parm, penko-crumbed and deep fried, served with a tomato chutney.

                          1. love love love liver (cow, calf, or fowl) and gizzards...so cheap and tasty. Both taste excellent grilled on a korean style table top grill and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little sesame oil.

                            also love the random offal that comes on the side of soondae. I think it's pig offal and I can only recognize stomach, heart, and liver, and theres always one that looks unfamiliar. But my god, dip that stuff in some salted shrimp sauce and WHOOOWEE good stuff

                            1. LIVER 1. Whitetail Deer / Mule deer / Moose / Elk /
                              2. Duck / Goose / Calf all cooked whole and sliced and served like a small roast
                              rare.
                              3. Goat / Sheep / Lamb / Pork as a component in Pate' etc
                              Sweetbreads ; thymus or pancreas
                              4. Marrow,gelatinous connective tissue,duck and chicken feet,pig feet
                              5. Gizzards / stomachs ;turkey,duck,goose,chicken and so on
                              All the rest in some form or another.animal heads etc.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lcool

                                >>LIVER 1. Whitetail Deer / Mule deer / Moose / Elk /

                                Wow! First post that I saw something that I haven't tried before!

                                Do they taste very different from say beef or calf's liver? Gamier perhaps?

                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                  Yes they are very different from "domestic" varieties.Diet and excercise change the flavor profile of the "innards" as much as the meat.Discreetly gamey would apply to the taste.Yet when FRESH odorless before cooking ,very gentle aroma notes while cooking.Our policy as a family of livestock raisers and hunters is to eat the liver on day of kill.Often the liver is more meat like,less rich than cattle etc.(leaner diet).The exception or compromise might be the Whitetails that "PAVE" our hay stacks in the winter.They get very fat hanging out ,eating for free and staying warm.
                                  Unlike Pronghorns and Mule Deer who aren't so acclimated to us that we try to help in rough years.

                              2. Definitely cheek, tongue, sweetbreads, marrow and liver. I know, I can't count but I can't limit it to just 3! And lobster tomalley though I read somewhere that I shouldn't be eating it because of the toxin levels but it's so good...

                                1. All the bits are so yummy, it's next to impossible to decide a top 3 but will give it a whirl.

                                  1. Liver - love it in congee, hot pot and at dim sum. Creamy texture of non-overcooked liver is absolutely sublime.
                                  2. Tendon - doesn't tend to taste like anything but the sauce it's in (goes for chicken feet as well) but the softness of well prepared tendon is sublime, mine comes in the form of dim sum and pho.
                                  3. Lung - slightly squidgy texture that I love when mom used to make it in soup but way too labour intensive for me to attempt on my own, plus there's no availability here. This one's probably a nostalgia thing, love it at dim sum too.

                                  Of course, this list doesn't preclude me from saying that everything else I love too (tongue could be tied for 3rd), spleen, marrow, gizzards, sweetbreads, etc. What can I say, love my bits!

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: bdachow

                                    Oh i love lung too. Particularly the Chinese soup that have pig's lungs and takes long hour to cook. Too bad I have NEVER seen them here in Manhattan (or the US).

                                    1. re: kobetobiko

                                      I don't know if this is the soup you're talking about but a few years ago I had a Chinese soup at Grand Harmony during dim sum on Mott Street that had lungs and other offal bits in it. I think it was just a special thing because I haven't seen that soup ever since. You may want to give it a shot.

                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                        One great thing about Colombia - smoked lung, great and inexpensive!

                                        1. re: kobetobiko

                                          Yeah, my mom used to put it into her watercress soup. Oh the memories...it did take forever to prep the fresh lungs from the butcher though. She was always filling them with water and pushing it back out until the water ran clear. It wasn't something I got all the time so am rather fond of it!

                                          1. re: kobetobiko

                                            Yeah, lung is great. Too bad for Americans it's illegal to sell for food in the US. Still, if you ask nicely you can sometimes find lung soup, in SF at least.

                                            I'm only familiar with Chinese and various European preparations of lung ... Sam's mention of Colombian smoked lung as me thinking I need to expand my experiences here...

                                            1. re: tmso

                                              TMSO, I didn't realize that it's illegal to sell for food in the US. That's a real shame, it's a pretty darn tasty piece of offal. Do you know, offhand, why it's illegal?

                                              1. re: bdachow

                                                Its sale is illegal, according to references people found in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/537488

                                                Not sure why, and it was news to me. When I lived in the US, I thought it was just not usually eaten, not verboten. Certainly, if true, it can't be a law that's enforced with any vigor.

                                              2. re: tmso

                                                Are you sure that it's illegal??? I seen it at several restaurants in the SF bay area, and seen it at many more. Not just hole in the wall joints, either. I find it hard to believe that it's illegal.

                                                1. re: tmso

                                                  Had lung soup in Munich about 12 years ago. My mother always talked about it and i had to try it. Loved it.

                                            2. Calves liver served rare in a mustard and vinegar sauce with mashed potatoes and an Alsace Riesling. Are you kidding me? It don't get no betta'.

                                              1. the only offal i even like are duck/chicken hearts. i sometimes eat chicken gizzards but everything else i don't like.

                                                1. I was recently give a large amount of deer liver (Farmed). Very nice. Like calf liver but a bit milder.
                                                  My wife used to make tongue all the time. I liked the taste, but has an odd texture.
                                                  Heart is wonderful
                                                  Chicken livers are candy to me.

                                                  1. Liver, cooked with lots of onions
                                                    Kidney, always have it's been my favourite since childhood
                                                    Heart (beef and chicken, quail too since I found one in a frozen quail)
                                                    Beef tongue, cold in a sandwhich, yum.
                                                    Beef and other marrow.

                                                    Other members of my family enjoy sheep ear (crunchy) and cartilage in the chicken along with almost the entire animal!!

                                                    1. Just three, that's a tough choice.

                                                      I guess number one has to be pork tripe. Between andouillette and menudo and fried chitterlings and trippa with tomato sauce ... mmmm. If I can just call this "tripes" and throw in beef tripe in its various forms, esp all together à la mode de Caen, this is the clear winner.

                                                      Number two would be veal kidneys. Cooked rare with mushrooms, served with a nice little pan sauce, I'll eat as much as I'm given. I think Dog invented bistros to make just this dish and save us all the cleaning and prep for it.

                                                      Number three would be trotters. Can I cheat and include all feet (chicken, ducks) here? If so, even better.

                                                      Not that I turn my nose up to tongue, sweetbreads, lung or liver, mind you!

                                                      And as for all of you listing bone marrow: please! That's not offal, that's normal meat!

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: tmso

                                                        So are tongue and trotters (just normal meat)!!

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Actually, I guess this probably varies from culture to culture. In France you get liver and kidneys at the butcher counter, not just the tripe counter. The feet are considered offal, though. I thought bones were pretty consistently considered normal meat throughout occidental cultures, but I could be mistaken, I suppose.

                                                          In any case, if you veto my trotters, I'll promote sweetbreads up to number 3 :-)

                                                          1. re: tmso

                                                            Ha! We get it all at the same counter.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              No triperias? Do the butchers do a better job cleaning the parts for you, since they're going to be having them around all that meat?

                                                              1. re: tmso

                                                                All the "offal" and other variety meats are displayed super clean(ed) in separate but adjacent areas in the displays. The lung, as I mentioned, is clean and smoked. The butchers will do just about anything you ask in terms of further knifework. No "triperias".

                                                      2. Top 3: Goose web, Goose intestine, Duck blood.
                                                        Followed closely by Beef tongue, Pork liver, Cow brain.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: FourSeasons

                                                          1. Bone marrow 2. Pig ears 3. Uhhhh, sweetbreads? Or duck feet?

                                                          Do I kicked out of the club if I admit I can't eat liver or kidney? But I eat just about everything else: tripe, hearts, tongue, brain, intestines, pig's feet, etc.

                                                          1. re: FourSeasons

                                                            Hi 4Seasons,

                                                            I love goose web too! I particularly like the Chiu Chow styled marinated goose web, so good! They are abundant in Hong Kong but you can't even find geese (hardly) in Manhattan.

                                                            Duck blood, another of my favorite, with chinese chives! But again, here they are chewy gummy touch pig or duck blood, nothing like the silky ones in Asia.

                                                            Now you are torturing me! j/k

                                                            1. re: kobetobiko

                                                              Hi Ko:

                                                              You maybe surprised but the health authority in Singapore has banned duck blood so I only get to eat it when I travel to China.

                                                              Oh, I meant Pork kidney, not liver on my above list. And I forgot to add beef stomach too. BTW, this post just remind me to better check my cholesterol level soon...

                                                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                                                Oh really? banned duck blood? Is that because of the bird flu?

                                                                I really like pork kidney too, especially in congee or just plain boiled with ginger and scallion soy sauce as dipping.

                                                                Cholesterol? What cholesterol? I only know that they are rich in iron which we need ;P

                                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                  I think it is due to bird flu. They think blood carries the highest risk of disease.

                                                                  Haha...I pray my doctor give me the same advise as you do.

                                                          2. I love sweetbreads, they're a "gotta have" item if on a good restaurants menu. I get cravings for good calf liver a few times a year. Tongue is great, but never as good as what I grew up with, so rarely order it out. Lamb's tongue on a salad is fantastic. Have any K.C. fans ever actually tried Lark's Tongue in Aspic?

                                                            1. Oooh this is hard...

                                                              Beef tongue, kinda like your picture (I drooled btw). I like them really tender.

                                                              Tendons, LOVE the texture and when it's braised, it's just so flavorful!

                                                              Chicken hearts, I love that kinda texture as well! Does butt count? If you guys are going to say feet and tail...butts should count, those are heaven!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                By butt, I assume you mean the fatty tail piece of a bird. I don't about them being heavenly, but I have heard some names with religious associations - parson's nose or pope's nose.

                                                                If you like your tongue tender, take a look at pork tongues. Being smaller, they cook to the tender stage faster. Since the skin isn't as tough, removing it is a bit more fiddly. The thicker parts of beef tongue skin come off like a glove. I have not had a chance to try lambs tongue, or duck tongues.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  Duck tongue is fantastic. I used to spend time with my mom removing the bone up the middle of the tongue and then she braised them in a sweetened soy/ginger/mandarin peel combo. Was heavenly as the tongues had a little snap still in them but were nice and tender. Ah those were the days.

                                                                2. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                  Oh, I love a big butt :P Yes, butts is definitely included. I love it as yakitori!

                                                                3. 1) Head Cheese - smoked, unsmoked, with paprika or plain.
                                                                  3) Chopped Liver - or any chicken liver or liver dish for that matter.
                                                                  2) Haggis - even on days other than Jan 25.

                                                                  1. Difficult task to limit the list to three....

                                                                    1. Chicken gizzards: this is a childhood favorite. Boiled, then dipped in salt, pepper and crushed sesame seed, with a touch of kochukaru (dried Korean crushed chiles), or panfried with kochuchang based sauce. I also had some wonderful gizzard kebabs in Ghana once, and boy were they surprised we ate them.

                                                                    2. Spleen: seasoned raw spleen, or stirfried in a Korean fashion. another childhood favorite. Spleen is very hard to get, which makes me sad.

                                                                    3. Heart in many forms: roasted chicken hearts, Peruvian marinated beef hearts grilled on a skewer (anticuchos), szechuan thinly sliced heart (and tongue) in a spicy sauce that we recently found in a resto in Montreal. I love the texture and the flavour of the meat.

                                                                    ACK! Can't stop at three....

                                                                    4. Blood sausage: Korean soondae, black pudding, morcilla, boudin noir.

                                                                    5. Liver in all forms. I am particularly fond of chicken liver pates, but liver and onions, chopped liver, all these things float my boat.

                                                                    6. Pig's feet, preferably done in a French style, but it is also an excellent addition to stews.

                                                                    7. Sweetbreads, best done in a French style with a very rich fond de veau based sauce.

                                                                    8. My love of the chicken butt has been well documented.

                                                                    9. I am not a major fan of kidney, but I must say I love a good steak and kidney pie.

                                                                    But for whatever reason, I can't get past the brain thing.

                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                      Hey Moh, do you like the korean version of pig's feet where they are boiled and then put in the fridge so that they firm up and congeal? I LOVE pigs feet that way and dipped in saeojutt or the gochugaru salt. So good with beer

                                                                      1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                        Bitsubeats, I have had thinly sliced pork served this way with the salt and saeojutt, and I suspect some of the versions I have had were made with pig's feet. This would explain all the great collagen and texture of this thinly sliced pork! But I have never had (to my knowledge) Korean pig feet where I have recognized the meat as a foot. My mum is a little bit picky and squeamish, and I doubt she has made this herself. But I love pork in all its manifestations, and I agree that seh-woo-jot and the gochugaru salt is a fabulous way to enjoy pork! And if I haven't yet had the pig foot version, then I know I would probably love it, as I have yet to meet a pig foot that i didn't like.

                                                                        Gosh! You are making me crave this now! What to do...

                                                                        1. re: moh

                                                                          oh my mother makes it in "whole foot" form. I like to bite the "toes" off and gnaw on them. I have never seen it served this way, but I prefer it this way really. I like the texture a little bit better

                                                                          1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                            Dang! Would love this dish in the whole foot form! Green with envy now.... :)

                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              One of my more memorable meals in Ecuador was one where I ordered mondongo (a cow foot soup with a peanut finish) as the soup course, and breaded pigs feet as the main. I don't recall, though, how thoroughly they boned the feet, or how large of pieces were when breaded and fried. I've made the soup a number of times, but have never tried fixing feet this way. I've read that if you want to serve the feet whole, it is best to wrap them in cheese cloth so they retain their shape during the long simmer.

                                                                              The first time I cooked pigs ears, I followed a French recipe, which called for spreading prepared mustard on the cooked ears, coating them in bread crumbs, drizzle with butter, and broil. In recent years I've just cut the ears into strips, and used them to enrich stews.

                                                                        2. re: bitsubeats

                                                                          it's incredible; I wonder what the origin of this dish is since it made it all the way to Romania. I remember having this dish as a child during the holidays. my dad would make it and then put it outside in the cold to firm up and we would peek out every so often with excitment to see if they were ready ...such fond memories of food ...thanks for sharing bitsubeats.
                                                                          happy eating, Oana

                                                                        3. re: moh

                                                                          moh WHICH resto in Montreal please! :) I am constantly searching for offal out but it is so rare that I come accross anything other than calf's liver or marrow.
                                                                          happy eating, Oana

                                                                          1. re: oana

                                                                            Oana, I have started a thread for offal in Montreal on the Quebec board:

                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589557

                                                                            Hope that helps!

                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              fabulous! :) thank you moh.
                                                                              happy eating, Oana

                                                                        4. 1. Chicken liver prepared in any way imaginable
                                                                          2. Tripe, in pho
                                                                          3. Pork skin in that shredded mix on Vietnamese combo rice plates

                                                                          Pork kidney is good too, tastes like chicken liver though a PITA to prepare and I got diaper rash on my hands the one time I prepared it.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Louise

                                                                            As this is my first posting on this site, I thought I had found Nirvanah when I read the Topic Heading. I just adore offal, but you guys seem to have covered all the options!
                                                                            However, my top three are:
                                                                            Sweetbreads - particularly English Lamb sweetbreads in the Spring
                                                                            Andouiette sausage - with a cheap red wine in the South of France
                                                                            Brains - lightly poached and then gently fried and served on toast - now, theres a hangover cure!
                                                                            .. and then theres Chicken Livers fried with a touch of molasses, tripe casserole, pigs cheek ... to name but a few

                                                                            1. re: AJC

                                                                              At the top of my list and something I no longer find -- pig's ears, sliced into tasty cartiliginous (word?) tidbits in jars. Feet are next in goodness, but I haven't bought any lately.

                                                                              Next are gizzards, fried with lots of black pepper or as my mother used to make them (along with chicken feet) in the Sunday gravy.

                                                                              I was off my game yesterday at a store snapping up a H/D pint before it is no longer a pint. A gentleman behind me was buying chicken feet and gizzards, both in plastic wrapped packages. I never knew this store had them. I refrained from asking him, per my usual, a host of questions on why he had them and how he was going to make them. The two combined must be delish.

                                                                              And yes to livers, chicken with mayo and relish and calves quite rare with ketchup and Tabasco. It's been years.

                                                                              1. re: AJC

                                                                                Hi AJC,

                                                                                Welcome to Chowhound! I am glad that your first post here is on my favorite food: Offals!

                                                                                Please feel free to share your offal loves and findings!

                                                                            2. Sweetbreads, fried. Crunchy on the outside, creamy inside.

                                                                              Suckling lamb intestines, Turkish food cart style (very similar to kokoretsi). Seasoned aggressively with oregano and pepper flakes, char grilled and then chopped. This is served as a sandwich on white bread, with optional chopped tomatoes and green peppers. Spicy fermented turnip juice on the side, you will send the fiercest hangover back to where it belongs.

                                                                              Marrow, roasted in bone. With salt, on bread.

                                                                              I eat most parts of animals; but however hard I try, I can't eat the cartilage.

                                                                              1. Tony Bourdain, in his latest Washington DC episode, predicted that the next 'big thing' is cartilage, while eating a sandwich with Vietnamese style headcheese.

                                                                                He liked the raw chopped meat at the Ethiopian place, but had trouble chewing larger pieces of raw meat.

                                                                                http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows...

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  Can't imagine raw meat in Ethiopia. In the areas where cattle are raised, the amount of flies is just incredible. All over you all of the time!! Tons.

                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                    He was eating at an Ethiopian restaurant in DC. They showed the meat being cut from legs hanging in the cooler. My guess it was goat or mutton. The fat was yellow. So fly contamination would not have been a problem.

                                                                                    Still it was traditional Ethiopian style. Having seen the Bizarre Foods episode on Ethiopia I can quite understand your point. Curiously I have not seen any reruns of that BF Ethiopia episode. I wonder if someone or other objected to some aspect of it.

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      was it kitfo? typically it is beef, at least in north america, and so i'm unaware if in ethiopia there are various names for similar dishes with different animals as i haven't been exposed to that.

                                                                                      the restaurants i've had it in will have you specify how well done you'd prefer it though it is mostly suggested raw if not somewhat seared and that is they way i like it. very tasty stuff when spiced properly.

                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                        My Ethiopian friends in traditional rural areas hang meat above the cooking fire to smoke it over several days to a week. But any fresh raw meat in the cattle raising villages would be covered with a layer of flies about two inches thick within seconds. Anytime you're outside the flies are walking around on your head and face. People you talk to have flies walking around on their faces.

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          That would drive me absolutely insane. I rode horses for most of my youth, and flies like horses. A lot. You'd hit your head/helmet, and have 10 dead flies fall on the ground. They were everywhere -- stable, kitchen, bedrooms.

                                                                                          And the sound of two flies 'doing it' in (or very close to) my ear remains one of my least favorite to be woken up by.....

                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                            Hey, Sam, wouldn't linguafood South American outdoors carnecerias (butcher shops)? Germany is so clean and orderly I bet the flies are sterile.
                                                                                            go eat a curry wurst for me, would you please?

                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                              I'll have one in the spring. I've never been much of a fan, but I finally found a place where it actually tastes really, really good == homemade sauce with peppers cooked down, nice and spicy.

                                                                                              Other than that, I find currywurst overrated.

                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                I haven't tried them yet, but I'm the wurst kind of guy. My fondest memory of wurst was at the Munich Zoo in the mid-eighties. We were on Christmas Holiday from Helsinki and it was incredibly warm (shirt sleeves!) My wife was pregnant w/ our 2nd and the eldest and I (He just became a father earlier this month in Seoul.) visited the food kiosk and sat looking at the giraffes noshing on knockwurst on a round roll. We both loved them. A magic moment of life. So simple, so good.

                                                                                  2. When I shoot a deer, the liver is the first organ I cook.
                                                                                    Let me start this over. When I hunt (and fish), I use all the offal of the animal.
                                                                                    So I just say:
                                                                                    1. deer
                                                                                    2. duck
                                                                                    3. cod family (roe, tongue & cheeks and liver.)

                                                                                    1. 1. Tripe - if it's on the menu, I get it. The texture is so delicious, just the right mix of chewy and tender. My favorite food of ALL.
                                                                                      2. Liver in any form - calf's liver done very rare..chicken livers on a salad...mixed w/ heart and lung in beuschel...liver dumplings...
                                                                                      3. Tie between headcheese (does that count?), tongue, marrow
                                                                                      Sweetbreads and lungs are good too.....don't care for kidney. smells like uh...what comes out of it.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pepoling

                                                                                        Last week in Paris had cow udder salad for the first time at a place called Ribouldingue that specializes in offal. It was formed into a terrine and sliced like a cold cut. Quite tasty.

                                                                                        I've tried most every cut of offal I can get my hands on. Lung, testicle, brains, kidney, eye. I find I like the fattier cuts. Thank God my chlorestoral is sub 200.

                                                                                        1. I love pork belly. It's like bacon but more luscious. Has to be my favorite.
                                                                                        2. Heart is great, almost like steak.
                                                                                        3. Tripe and sweetbreads tie for third place

                                                                                        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                                                          Oh no, you need to pick a new #1 :) Pork belly is just a cut of meat, not offal. Yeah, it tastes like bacon ... because it's the cut that American bacon is made out of!

                                                                                          Boy, and here I thought that bone was pushing the definition.

                                                                                          1. re: tmso

                                                                                            But if the belly includes the skin, that counts as organ meat :) At least in medicine, skin is often talked about as skin. And parts like ear and feet are largely skin.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              So is skin-on chicken breast offal, too? I know a lot of people who would be horrified if it was.

                                                                                              1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                well, chicken butt has been mentioned already. I think they were referring to the fatty skin tail piece, not the cloaca (which I've only seen eaten on a Bizarre Foods Japan episode) .

                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                  No, I am really referring to the chicken butt, not the fatty skin close to the butt.

                                                                                      2. TRIPE
                                                                                        TONGUE
                                                                                        FEET

                                                                                        1. Mince them all up, add cornmeal and country sausage seasoning, form in loaf pan, slice 1/2" thick and fry ... it's scrapple! Yum!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: wayne keyser

                                                                                            Jeesus boom! Say now, don't forget the apple butter, just for nice.
                                                                                            I miss jellied pig's feet and head cheese too.

                                                                                          2. chitterlings (pork intestine); how maws (stomach); hog head cheese; calf's liver; chicken liver (spread or fried)

                                                                                            1. Liver - Goose liver pate (not foie gras which is also divine), duck liver pate, fried chicken livers with onion gravy, rabbit any way, lobster, lamb, monkfish

                                                                                              Blood - Mainly beef or pig in sausage form (Blutwurste/black pudding/Soondae), and in Vietnamese pork congee

                                                                                              Tongue - Beef, duck

                                                                                              Lungs I haven't had much of, but goat lungs and intestines are good in any rich Indian curry

                                                                                              Personally would love to try brains of any kind, rabbit heart, turkey liver, and deer liver; especially curious what the latter tastes like.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                And short of cooking at home where might one find all of these delights? San Fernando Valley first choice otherwise any of Los Angeles County.

                                                                                                I know lungs are out, having had mine in Munich, but the rest might be available. This is most likely the wrong board for the question but I had to ask.

                                                                                                1. re: Hughlipton

                                                                                                  In a good Mexican Grocery/meat market, most serve hot dishes, is where one may find Tripe, Beef intestines,(different than tripe) pork trotters, (feet), Beef tongue, Beef Head meat, Ox tails,Kidneys, Bull testicles, Panreas, (difficult to find),Pig Ears, and a really scarce item in the U.S. beef lips, but fairly common in Mexico. You will be well rewarded for your seeking out these tasty gems.

                                                                                                  1. re: Hughlipton

                                                                                                    Hughlipton, I'm not sure if that was a direct reply to me, but living in the U.S. in northern New Jersey in the greater NYC area at the moment there is a pretty solid assortment of things.

                                                                                                    I know there was some talk earlier about lungs being out of the question, but if they are illegal then it's not strictly enforced at all as I've had goat lung in a Nepalese dish and just last week, pig lung in a stew in a Korean restaurant in Fort Lee, NJ.

                                                                                                    A lot of it one may have to acquire at stores, but I've found monkfish liver in soup in Korean places, duck tongue in a legitimate Szechuan/Sichuan Chinese place, intestines are not hard to come by in the right Indian or Chinese place, etc.

                                                                                                    By the way, if one considers Rocky Mountain Oysters offal too then I'll put that in my list as well as they're quite delish with honey mustard.

                                                                                                    1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                      Thanks for the reply. Asian restaurants here in California are the best places to get offals. Otherwise we are for the most part, Indian and Nepalese restaurants not to be excluded, denied the pleasures of so many foods you have available to you. Good eating!

                                                                                                2. Not sure of the order
                                                                                                  Any kind of liver (calf, lamb, lobster, monkfish, chicken - anything except pufferfish or polar bear)
                                                                                                  Kidney (especially in steak and kidney pudding)
                                                                                                  Sweetbreads
                                                                                                  Also up for bloody stuff like black pudding and partial to tripe and pork intestines in viet or chinese dishes

                                                                                                  1. 1. Chitlins. Oh how I love fried intestine. I commonly get them in Kansas City as tripas in mexican delis, little crisp-chewy, uber savory, fried elbows of small intestine goodness. Sometimes later braised with sweet onion, that's pretty delicious too. Astonishingly, we also have a very good hong kong- style restaurant here which makes amazing fried intestine.

                                                                                                    2. Tripe. I like tripe in many forms but primarily love tripe broth. It may be in my head, but nothing soothes my tummy better when it's a bit upset. I dearly miss campbells pepperpot for this reason, I used to strain out all the chunks and drink the broth for breakfast when under the, uh, weather. I like menudo a lot also.

                                                                                                    3. Liver. I don't think I've ever found a liver I didn't enjoy eating in some preparation or other. Dark, chewy, beef liver sauteed with onions (must-have-ketchup!). Tender little chicken livers in my scrambled eggs. Calf liver, so refined. Pork liver is pretty good too. Never had deer but I so would eat it if I had the oppo.

                                                                                                    Those are the top three, probably because they are easy to get and/or cook. I love marrow. I've only had brains a couple of times - once, okay, tacos, seemed mealy and a bit gritty but maybe overcooked? and once, bad, at a vernerable diner in KC which was on hard times. I will say that putrid brains are not good. In fact, you may visit the experience again in your nightmares, speaking from personal events.

                                                                                                    I don't really see pigs feet as offal, or tongue, but those are both pretty luscious. I make pork neckbones a few times a year. I've had kidneys I liked (marinated in vinegar and mint, broiled as brochettes) and some I did not like at all (sauteed with mustard and ... urine I guess).

                                                                                                    I like pig ears, sliced up in my carnitas with chicharron, and also crispy fried in thin crunchy slices. Blood sausage is good sometimes. Depends on who made it.

                                                                                                    1. Good to see this thread back on board:
                                                                                                      Tongue-
                                                                                                      Beef - pickled
                                                                                                      Veal - boiled, then stewed with vegetables (sofrito)
                                                                                                      Brains...
                                                                                                      beef - marinated in garlic, salt peppercorns then grilled
                                                                                                      Liver -
                                                                                                      Calf- fried with fried onions and ketchup
                                                                                                      Chicken livers...chopped, in an omelet with eggs, onions and red peppers.
                                                                                                      Beef heart
                                                                                                      Fried served over mashed potatoes

                                                                                                      Just to name a few more:
                                                                                                      Sweetbreads
                                                                                                      Beef Kidney
                                                                                                      Beef Bone Marrow
                                                                                                      Moose Liver pate

                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                        How would you describe the taste of brains and of what animal would you recommend for a first timer? It's a bit of offal that's always frustratingly eluded me.

                                                                                                        1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                          Calf brains are very mild, similar in taste to sweetbreads but softer. They are fantastic lightly dusted with seasoned flour, then pan-fried golden brown & served with a few lemon quarters. Heaven on a plate.

                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                            Due to BSE concerns, it is hard to find bovine brains in the USA. Porcine ones are easier to find.

                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771688

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              Same in Germany, frankly. I haven't had calf's brains since the early 90s. Wah.

                                                                                                          2. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                            Linguafood beat me to the punch, but that is how I would describe them as well. We also prepare them similarly as well as I noted above.

                                                                                                            I would suggest buying a little of each and try them side by side. For most people the thought of what they are might be a turnoff, but then again that can be said when consuming a hamburger.

                                                                                                            1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                              I'll see what I can get my hands on; thanks for the responses. Had a friend who got stranded on a camping trip a while back and ended up doing some impromptu hunting and going for deer brains; apparently it's not advisable, but she described them afterwards as "creamy".

                                                                                                              As for the thought turning folks off, that's expected, but as long as something's edible/not poison, I'll try anything at least twice.

                                                                                                              1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                                I do buy a lot of my Offal in local ethnic markets and butchers in Queens, NYC...

                                                                                                            2. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                                              I always thought brain has a creamy flavor, somewhere between sweetbreads and a very rich egg. I like them in a very fiery Pakistani dish where they are cooked until they have the consistency of scrambled eggs.

                                                                                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                Creamy is the word when describing brains. It's like meat custard. Feels almost like a loose, creamier ricotta without the grit.

                                                                                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                                  Sounds like it could almost work as a spread; must be delicious. I'm just frustrated because I've never seen it available on any menu or in any grocery to my knowledge that I've been to.

                                                                                                          3. A touch of Hong Kong street food nostalgia, this bowl of Cantonese Braised Beef Innards ( Spleen, Tripe, Stomach, Lung and Intestine )on rice noodle from a Chinese food court in Scarborough, Toronto is tough to best in North America

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            1. 1 - Tripe
                                                                                                              2 - Feet (chicken, pig, duck, etc)
                                                                                                              3 - Giblets (hearts, gizzards, etc from poultry)

                                                                                                              In that order.