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Sep 16, 2010 03:56 PM

Are feet, ears, head, eyes, snout, tail, etc. included in the term "offal"?

I think generally there is a consensus that "offal" includes the entrails and internal organs of animals.

But what about things that are outside of the animal? LIke feet, tails, snout (or nose), ears, etc.?

Does the term "offal" include those things?
Wikipedia seems to think so. But then what does Wikipedia really know.

So, I come begging to the Chowhound community. If "offal" does not include those outer parts of the animal, then is there a culinary term that encompasses those parts of the animal that the term "offal" does not cover?

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  1. According to the OED, "offal" can refer to all three categories:

    "The edible parts collectively which are cut off in preparing the carcass of an animal for food. In early use applied mainly to the entrails; later extended to include the head, tail, and internal organs such as the heart, liver, etc."

    You might have a more restrictive understanding of the word. I think in this broadest sense, you could also use the term "variety meats". Maybe you could use "organ meats" for the internal organs (possibly excluding the stomach and intestines, which would be "tripe").

    I don't know of a specific term just for the feet, snout, ears, tail, etc. Edible extremities? End eats?

    3 Replies
    1. re: DeppityDawg

      Don't know about others, but those parts are definitely "awful" to me!

      1. re: DeppityDawg

        In her 1967 book on charcuterie, Jane Grigson has a chapter called "Extremities" in which she includes head, tongue, snouts, ears, trotters, tails, brains, and tripe. Too bad the term didn't catch on.

        1. re: DeppityDawg

          Sometimes your skin is called an organ, since it is loaded with glands (and distinct from muscle). By that reckoning, these skin rich extremities are also organ meats.

        2. Although the word offal today most commonly refers to the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal, it can also denote the animal waste or byproduct of the slaughtering process; the trimmings of the animal hide or the by-products of milling used especially for livestock feeds.

          1. From Chris Cosentino’s Offalgood blog: What is Offal?


            1 Reply