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Jan 5, 2009 07:12 PM

For those who love offals, which are your favorite?

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!

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  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...