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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 08 2011

6 Sneaky Ways to Work Offal Into Your Diet

By Mark Sisson
177 Comments

Take a look at that picture to the right. Appetizing? While I wouldn’t be surprised by numerous affirmatives from the Mark’s Daily Apple community, for most people even the sight of brains, kidneys or tongue is enough to turn their stomachs. Nutritionally, of course, we can all agree that offal is fantastic stuff. Leading the pack is liver, also known as nature’s multivitamin and the best source of pre-formed vitamin A. There’s the heart, full of CoQ10 and taurine, and the kidney, a rich source of selenium, B12, and tons more. Brain (rich in omega 3s) and marrow (rich in awesomeness) got mankind involved in our million year-old torrid love affair with animal flesh, while tongue is rich in fat, protein, and B-vitamins. The nutritional content of tripe, thymus glands, eyeballs, blood, intestines, and other miscellaneous parts are less studied but undoubtedly just as impressive. But truly enjoying offal – diving into a slab of liver, a heart kebab, or a plate of brains with slavering hunger and conspicuous salivation because you crave it – can be a hard sell. You know it’s good for you, intellectually, but the hunger often isn’t there. It’s kinda like forcing yourself to like a highly lauded yet obscure French film or listen to some underground experimental rock band that no one’s really heard of but who influenced just about everyone. You know it’s supposed to be amazing, and everything points to it being objectively good, but you simply can’t get into it. I even see a strong undercurrent of Primal folks who actually feel guilty about not eating organs.

With this in mind, the Bees and I have been devising methods to sneak offal into our families’ diets, because I know it’s a common stumbling block for people, and successfully hurdling it means getting better nutrition. So, whether you want to eat more organs without suffering or you want to trick your kids into eating them, read on for some pointers. And guard this (publicly accessible to billions) article and its contents with your life.

Liverwurst/Pate/Braunschweiger/Other Pureed Organ Blends

Okay, so “liverwurst” isn’t exactly inconspicuous, but it tastes damn good and I’d argue that most people say the name without pausing to realize that “liver” actually means liver. Liverwurst is simply a type of sausage to most people, and a tasty one at that, so you can usually pawn it off without trouble. It’s especially effective when dealing with tiny humans who can’t read, like your toddler. A favorite of mine is the German braunchweiger (traditionally pork liver, sometimes beef or calf; try frying slices of it in butter and onion, served with cinnamon apples), and there’s also a Chinese sausage made of duck liver that’s very good.

Pate, being a spread, often promotes cracker or bread usage, so beware. I find a few tablespoons in scrambled eggs added right before serving is very palatable.

Look for quality sausages with simple ingredients listed (animals, spices primarily). A good online order option is US Wellness, but check out your local meat supplier and ask if they make liver sausages. Or, you could just make your own.

Pet Food Mixes

I know, I know. It sounds bad, but one of the Worker Bees swears by it. Whenever he makes a stop at his local grass-fed farm in the Bay Area he always makes sure to grab a few pounds of pet food. And no, it’s not just for his dog – he eats it himself. The particular blend he picks up consists of 70% beef trimmings (meat and fat from steaks and roasts that were, well, trimmed off), 10% liver, 10% kidney, and 10% heart. Apparently, it looks like ground beef from afar, but if you look real closely you can see darker streaks representing the organs. By his trustworthy account, it’s a tasty source of organ meat that tastes just like ground beef and makes great meatza dough, tomato meat sauce, chili meat, and stir frys. He’s been feeding his organ-averse wife the stuff for months now, usually via meatza loaded up with garlic, onions, cayenne, salt, pepper, and oregano, and she loves it. Any grass-fed beef supplier or butcher will probably also offer “pet food” at a bargain, so check. Slanker’s carries it, for example.

You might also check out the Whole Foods frozen section near the meat counter. They’ll often grind up heart, liver, and ground beef, freeze it, and sell it for $1.50-$3.00/lb, though it’s generally not exclusively grass-fed. And, of course, you could grind your own pet food mixes. Start with low concentrations of offal and work your palate slowly.

Chili/Curry/Any Intensely Flavored Stew

Stews are wonderful, are they not? You toss a bunch of tasty items into a pot, turn up the heat, cover, and forget about it for a few hours. Sure, you could get more complicated with it, but simply doing those four steps will generally produce an acceptable meal. Another thing I like about stews is that they’ll turn anything into gold – even offal. The dozens of flavors meld together to form something unique. You don’t taste the tomatoes or the turmeric or the ground beef; you taste the curry. Slipping half a pound of finely diced heart and liver into that burbling brew will only enhance the flavor profile, not disrupt it. Stray closer to a pound, especially with liver, kidney, or some of the other stronger tasting organs, and people might notice.

Keep your organs frozen solid and grate them into your stews, or run the frozen offal through a food processor to save on time, if you worry that even diced chunks will be too obvious.

Liver Powder or Pills

Old school powerlifters and bodybuilders used to take liver pills and swear by their benefits to strength and stamina; today, you can order Argentine low-heat processed beef liver powder online. I haven’t sampled it myself, since eating actual liver is pleasurable and probably more beneficial than eating powder, but it looks like a good compromise. Plus, most Argentine beef is still pastured. Add a few tablespoons to a shake or a glass of water and choke it down. You may not be fooling yourself or anyone else into thinking it’s not beef liver, but a master chugger should be able to bypass most of the tongue’s taste buds and get it down quickly enough. Heck, make it a beer bong and I bet you’ll down it even easier.

Pills are also still an option (also from Argentine beef).

Make Heart Jerky

Heart, being nearly pure lean muscle, makes excellent jerky. Get a half-frozen heart and carve as thinly as possible (freezing makes accurate slices easier). For three pounds of heart, marinate slices in a 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper for at least twelve hours. Let them dry on paper towels completely before drying. Obviously, a food dehydrator works best but an oven set to its lowest heat with the door ajar works, too. They’re ready when completely dry. Everyone will enjoy it, and best of all, you won’t be lying by calling it beef jerky.

I suppose you could use a similar method to make your own dried liver treats, though I haven’t tried it. I bet the flavor would be tough to hide.

Make Organ Slurry

Assemble several pounds of various organs. You could go all liver or mix it up with a variety; your choice. Cram your food processor full of offal, add a few tablespoons of water, and hit the switch. After twenty or thirty seconds, your organs will have become a smooth reddish brown slurry. If chunks remain, process it until they disappear. At this point, you have a few options:

Pour out shots of slurry (I never said it would taste good).

Add a couple ounces of slurry to a shake (again, not tasty).

Immediately use a cup of slurry in a soup, stew, chili, or curry.

Freeze your slurry, using tupperware, ice cube trays, or even just plastic baggies, for later use in soups, stews, chilis, or curries.

Use an approximation of Richard’s method for making red wine reduction sauce. I reduce wine to syrup, add equal parts beef stock and organ slurry, reduce again to a beefy red wine syrup, add a bit of cream, let it reduce some more, then turn off the heat and add cold butter to thicken. Bam: delicious organ gravy/sauce.

Be careful with this one, and exercise caution when dosing. Organ slurry can be powerful stuff. And your slurry will be raw, so if you’re going to eat it raw make sure you trust the source.

This isn’t about learning to enjoy the taste of offal. While a valiant quest to undertake, that can also be impossible for some, because it often means overriding a lifetime of cultural and culinary programming. This is about eating offal without knowing it, either by deception or taste-bud detours, in order to reap the nutritional benefits.

Any other novel ideas, readers? Let me know in the comment board!

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177 thoughts on “6 Sneaky Ways to Work Offal Into Your Diet”

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  1. Brains, I want brains…

    Have you had any luck actually buying brains? Non-paleo demand seems to approach zero after Mad Cow, even though no-one in the US has gotten Mad Cow, and my understanding is that most butchers just discard it.

    1. It may be that the laws were changed such that butchers HAVE to discard it. Butchers are limited in what they are and are not allowed to keep…even when they’re butchering an animal for a private customer instead of for public sale. It sucks.

      1. I am in charge of the federally mandated food safety program at a bull and cow slaughterhouse…studied animal science with a specialization in meat science and food safety.

        To clear it up, there are extensive federal regulations regarding brains-also known as specified risk materials or SRM’s for short, in industry speak. Depending on the age of the cattle (less than 30 months or 30+ months), they have to be handled certain ways. The US cattle and beef industry as a whole has done A LOT to try to not only catch but prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease.

        Because of the extremely long incubation period of BSE (as well as vCJD-the human form one could get from eating SRM’s from a BSE infected animal) it could take a decade to even show. I personally would stay far FAR away from bovine brains at least for a few more years if not forever. Keep in mind that just late Feb of this year, a confirmed case of BSE was found in Canada (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/disemala/rep/2010bseesbe.shtml). If you live in the US, there is a mandatory “COOL” program-country of origin labeling. Your meat labels must say ALL countries the meat is associated with. Say a calf was born in Mexico, but sold very young to a rancher in the US. For the sole fact it was born in Mexico, any and all of that animal used for human consumption must be labeled “Product of USA and Mexico.” As a beef producer, COOL is a pain in the butt, but as a consumer I have utilized it numerous times.

        If you would like to know more about what the industry does without getting all technical and reading the very dry federal regulations a good presentation can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ppt/how_to_comply_SRM.ppt This is more geared towards slaughter establishments, but it’s still great even for those not involved in the beef industry. Dr. Harris is the leading authority in food safety while Dr. Savell is one of the top (if not the top) meat scientist in the world. I had both as professors while I was at Texas A&M, and you’d be amazed at the knowledge they have.

        1. hmmm… This is fascinating. Thank you!
          Do you happen to know if this is strickly a bovine issue or are their dangers with, oh say, lamb/sheep brains?

    2. It is not true that no one in the US has gotten mad cow disease. When people get it, it is called “Creutzfeld-Jacob” disease (spelling may be off) and I have personally cared for several people in the hospital who have died of it. This is NOT unheard of and is a terrible way to die. Please think twice about eating brains. Prions are a bad thing.

      1. From NCBI regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD):

        “Classic CJD is not related to mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalitis).

        However, new variant CJD (nvCJD) is an infectious form that is related to mad cow disease. The infection responsible for the disease in cows is believed to be the same one responsible for vCJD in humans.

        New variant CJD accounts for less than 1% of cases, and tends to affect younger people. It can result when someone is exposed to contaminated products. Other nvCJD cases have occurred when people were given corneal transplants from infected donors, and from contaminated electrodes that were used in brain surgery (before it was known how to properly disinfect instruments).

        There have not been any cases of nvCJD reported in the U.S.”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001792/

    3. Look for international markets or those that advertise halal meats. You’ll often be able to find lamb organ meats, including brains, testicles, etc.

    4. Made my normal chili with heart instead of ground beef…nearly impossible to tell the difference. Plus, the grassfed ground heart was reasonably priced.

  2. Sounds like a few of those points might work, especially the heart jerky idea, why haven’t I thought of that before?

    I’ve been buying “dog bones” and such at my local farmers’ market for a while now, 1/3 the cost of buying “marrow bones” from the same people, and they’re teh same darn bones. The only difference is the dog bones aren’t cut evenly, luckily I don’t care about presentation.

  3. Many of the pates traditionally eaten in Europe are actually quite thick, so cutting off a slice and eating it without bread is common. Same with braunschweiger and liverwurst, usually served in slices and eaten as finger food. I made pate a while ago and it wasn’t very good. I need to find a better recipe.

    1. My beef lilver pate is like that. I like it as big chunks in a salad. We use the livers we salvage from our home kills (nobody ever asks for it). It is very nice and much better than feeding all the liver to the dogs.

      The dogs always head straightaway for the insides of any carcasse, that might be a clue to what we should eat as well.

    2. I made pate a couple of years back, and it turned out absolutely DELICIOUS. We didn’t use a recipe, but instead followed the general gist of several recipes and did what seemed like a good idea as we went along.

      Here’s a photo report on flickr of all our steps, you can probably reproduce it by following the pics + their descriptions: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41298178@N00/sets/72157603404066964/with/2097903222/

      A few remarks:

      1. I’m not entirely sure if adding the cream was necessary. Some supermarket-brand pate here is called “cream pate” but in hindsight that probably refers to it being of a creamy substance rather than containing actual cream. I still don’t know how industrial pate is made to be so creamy, perhaps it’s by blending again after cooking, to mix it with the fat? Another possibility is that a stick blender just doesn’t pulp things quite as smoothly as a conventional blender does (found that out while making hummus at a friend’s place who has a real powerful blender).

      2. I can’t remember to what temperature I set the oven, so you might want want to check a recipe for that online. It wasn’t very high IIRC.

      3. Following the primal diet I wouln’t put it on french bread any more 🙂 In which case, not being too creamy is a good thing!

      4. The juniper berries and the port are absolutely essential for obtaining that typical pate-flavour. Many recipes call for wine and brandy. And port wine just happens to be (roughly) a combination of wine and brandy–or close enough, and it’s much cheaper.

      5. The (stick) blender was quite hard to clean afterwards because some tiny sinews (from the minced meat and bacon) wound up real tightly around the rotating bit. I had to cut them with a knife and peel them off with a fork. This might be even harder to get to in a conventional blender, so just a fair warning. I didn’t even notice them at first, so inspect carefully because no one likes the idea of leaving meat bits in a blender! Maybe you could boil it off, but I didn’t try.

      6. I really should make this again. It was soooo delicious. Also, if anyone else tries it, please leave a comment on that Flickr set (preferably with a link to your own pics!).

    3. I’m picky, and i like this one:

      BEEF LIVER PATE

      2 T. Beef fat from bone broth
      1 small onion chopped
      1/2 lb beef liver, chopped
      1/4 cup red wine
      1 large clove garlic, minced
      1 teaspoon prepared mustard
      Dash ground bay leaf
      1/8 t. Ground Coriander
      1/2 t. Paprika
      1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
      4 T. butter
      3/4 t. Sea salt
      3/4 t. black pepper

      Melt beef fat in skillet. Saute onions til soft. Add beef liver. Continue frying til the liver is well browned.

      Add the red wine, garlic, mustard, bay leaf, coriander, paprika and lemon juice. Continue cooking til most of the liquid is evaporated.

      Puree the mixture in a food processor with the butter. Add salt and black pepper.

      Chill in a glass container. It gets better as the flavors meld.

  4. So if I just eat ordinary meat like ground beef, various sorts of steaks, roasts etc. I will be malnourished?

  5. Just the other day I made garlic/marinara sauce with 2 lb. of ground beef heart from the 1/2 grass-fed steer that’s in our freezer. It was delicious; just like really “beefy” ground beef. I did use both lard and olive oil to brown it, because it’s so lean. Now I have to figure out how to get more grass-fed ground beef heart before next fall when we’ll get more beef.

      1. It might just be the name. I’m pretty sure that mashing up some cooked chicken livers into the sauce to enrich it is traditional in Italian cooking.

        1. I always stick some finely chopped chicken livers in my bolognaise sauce. You can’t tell it’s there at all, it just adds a delicious richness, and yes, I got that idea from an Italian cookbook.

  6. I *love* liverwurst, and have since I was a kid. My son used to love it too, but he changed his mind recently, unfortunately. The cheap stuff usually has a little bit of corn syrup in it, but if you look hard enough, many don’t. The ones that don’t are usually a little saltier and more savory though.

    I was under the impression that some butchers will use offal in sausage if you ask. Is that true?

  7. Pate in a Brussels sprout salad…some figs, vinegar, and bacon as well….

    I have no problems with a big hunk of pate, some onions, on a little cracker.

  8. Chicken liver, and eggs were our daughter’s first solid foods at 5 months, A baby can chew (gum) a gently cooked chicken liver. She ate this at least every week for the first year. She seems to have turned out pretty good.

  9. I’m getting an eight kilo box of reindeer calf liver anyday now. I’ll probably be making paté out of them. It’s gonna be pretty awesome.

  10. Too bad Scrapple is made with cornmeal. It would make a great addition for getting one’s offal.

  11. Love braunchweiger or any kind of liver really, but I can’t stand brains. Kidney, gizzards, and heart are ok, but I don’t think I’ve had tongue.

  12. Oh my, I have to admit thinking about eating brains gave me a full body shudder. And the organ slurry? Lordy mercy, it’s a good thing I skipped breakfast this morning or I would have just uneaten it.

    Other than that, I am absolutely in love with liverwurst. I’ve been making it into little cheese sandwiches with slices of cheese for bread with a little grainy mustard. Oh, and tongue is really good too.

    Although I have a feeling that smelling offal cooking would light that “Hmm, something smells good. I am hungry!” feeling. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it though.

  13. I had liver mixed up in like a hash type meal before and it wasn’t bad at all. Never would have really noticed it if I no one told me.

  14. i might can get away with traces being served in the ground meats.
    otherwise, i’ll take the pill form. thanks!

    lol…ewwwwwwwww

  15. My 13 month old daughter has loved eating liverwurst and braunschweiger since she was about 3 months. When she got enough teeth in I stared her on sauteed beef liver and she loved it even more. She eats many organ meats now and loves them all. The food you introduce and share with children are the foods they’ll enjoy.

    1. You don’t need to wait for teeth, btw.

      My older daughter could polish ribs clean with her gums. It was great for teething, no doubt.

      We knew she was ready for solids when she grabbed a handful of fish off the table and stuffed it in her mouth.

      1. She was breastfed exclusively and didn’t naturally take to solids very early. We teethed her on homemade beef jerky though, which also helped stimulate her appetite for meats in general. She’s still not much into veggies.

        1. For the record I would NEVER start a baby on solids at 3 m/o! Especially an exclusively breastfed baby!

          My daughter (still breastfeeding at 2 y/o) didn’t start solids until 10 months old. She eats an array of solids and has a great appetite.

          I would be concerned that starting solids so young would adversely effect her digestive system. Also I doubt groks wife would have fed a 3 m/o and solids. Some cultures “back in the day” didn’t even start solids until around 2 y/o. It is important to wait for teeth. If you are formula feeding you do need to start solids at 6 m/o though b/c formula is not adequate nutritionally.

  16. @Tuck, The human form of Mad Cow is called Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creutzfeldt%E2%80%93Jakob_disease

    It does exist, humans do get it, though very rarely.

    Unfortunately a dear friend of the family died of CJD, a fact verified by post-mortem brain analysis.

    So I’ve seen someone die from this and it was one of the most singularly horrifying experiences in my life.

    You can eat brains all you want, I’m not, no matter how infinitely small the risk.

      1. I’m saying he died of CJD. How he got that is anyone’s guess.

        He spent considerable time traveling around the third world as a missionary, including areas where the meat dishes could easily have contained brain or spinal fluid either on purpose or by accident. These are the primary methods the disease is spread.

        I cringe any time I see someone laugh and dismiss “Mad Cow”. No matter how improbable, it’s a non-zero risk, and the results are more horrifying than you could ever imagine. I’ll pass.

  17. I cooked and ate Liver for the first time in about 20 years this last weekend. I used a family recipe I loved as a child; the taste, but also the process of making it which became something of a group cooking session with my mother!

    Liver Terrine

    500 g sliced liver
    500 g minced/ground pork
    1 onion
    tablespoon herbs
    teaspoon nutmeg
    2 beaten eggs
    4 rashers streaky bacon

    Fry off liver and onion together and mince (I didn’t have the lovely old fashioned manual steel mincer my mother owned – it was my job to turn the handle – hence the fond memories) I used my blender adding a little red wine to ensure it wasn’t too dry worked ok.

    Mix together the liver blend, ground pork, beaten eggs and herbs. Place in terrine dish and lay bacon rashers on top bake around 150 degrees C for 30 minutes or until sizzling and cooked through.

    Great hot with Primal gravy and wonderful cold – great for packed lunches and snacks.

    Makes 6 very generous portions.

  18. I don’t really have a problem with the gross-out factor. I love intestines, pig ears, pork skin, tendons, marrow, beef and duck tongue, and headcheese. Some of these things appeal to me much more when I’m hungry, but I see that as another benefit!

    But liverwurst tastes exactly like gnawing on an old copper penny, IMO. Should I be trying to find a way to sneak liver into my food, or should I trust my sense of aversion? Is it possible that I would like how it tasted if I really needed it — or am I just making excuses for myself so that I can avoid liver? 😀

    Maybe the answer is that, in many of these work-arounds, the offal occupies a small percentage of the total recipe — so if an offal-hater really needs less, she’s still getting less, percentagewise, than someone who sits down with a slab of pate.

  19. First of all, offal needs another name. Sorry I have no suggestions.

    My mom always loved Braunschweiger but I hated it. Ditto with beef liver.

    However, while pregnant with my first child, I forced myself to eat chopped up liver in a salad. The only way I could choke it down. Barely passable in my book. People either seem to love or hate liver. Put me in the hate column.

    I have enough trouble dealing with plain old meat so I pass on the awful offal for now although I never say never.

    1. >First of all, offal needs another name

      Sharon, how about just calling them “organ meats”?

        1. sweetbreads (when my Dad used to eat them when I was a kid) were testicles.

        2. My understanding, after watching a cooking show dealing with them, is that sweetbreads are actually the thymus gland of a cow. They looked pretty tasty but I haven’t found any to try yet.

        3. Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of calf’s. When they butcher calfs for veal, they take the thymus gland from the throat area. They go away when the calf matures. Not sure at this point how I feel about veal per se; I have had sweetbreads in the past and lightly sauteed in butter are absolutely delicious!

  20. I grew up in a farming community, and we ate tongue, brains, liver, heart all the time. In fact my favorite part of the chicken is the heart, liver and gizzard. Impossible to find now. But our chickens were always alive and we butchered them so we got all the good parts. In fact, I was about 11-12 before I knew you could go to the store and buy already dead chicken. I can still taste my grandmother’s fried chicken, so fresh the flesh was still warm when she tossed it in a larded skillet.

    1. You’ll find all of those meats anywhere they sell so-called ethnic food. I live in the heart of California’s agriculture, so there’s no shortage.

  21. My dad had a buddy who loved to cook with odd things. One day he made my dad an omelet, which my dad raved about for days. What was in it?? Cow brains.

  22. Growing up on a farm in an South East Asian country makes this pretty easy. Brains, heart, liver, kidney, large intestines, small intestines, testicles… you name it, they’re all deliciously prepared over here and easily available.

    I can go out at 3am any day and within 20 minutes, eat a bowl of liver/kidney/intestines.

    Western recipes for offal tend to be a lot more gamey and hence harder to swallow.

    But they’re all good to me!

    1. Ahahahah i am from south east asia as well, the philippines… I just actually grubbed 4 skewers of pork intestine kebabs just now that i just bought in a filipino restaurants here in L.A… In the philippines every part of the cow, pig, goat, chicken never goes to waste..btw .i also love grilled gizzards, pork snouts, beef tongue or “lengua” as we filipinos call it! …. I can live with just eating offal every day! Yum yum yum

  23. Just cooked a grass-fed cow’s tongue last night. Easiest thing I’ve ever cooked! Boiled it (actually a medium simmer) for about three hours with a mixture of spices, herbs, garlic & onions in the water. Unbelievably good and incredibily tender. Try it, you’ll love it! The protein content is extremely high. If my calculations are right, the 2.75 lb tongue has about 240g of protein. I should easily get three meals out of it (80g of protein each!). Not bad for a little over $20 for the whole tongue!

  24. i tried my hand at grass-fed bison liver a few weeks ago. honestly, i felt like Hannibal Lecter processing it – dried blood on my hands and liver goo under my nails…i was traumatized and my hands were still shaking hands as I sipped my wine afterwards. i tried a few pieces and really wanted to like it after all that effort, but i wasn’t able to enjoy it…my boyfriend however was crazy about it!

    i think next time i just have to take a less ambitious organ…bison liver is huge. maybe chicken liver next time?

    1. The first time I made chicken stock, I couldn’t fit the entire chicken in the pot, so I had to hack it into pieces. It was on my cutting board and I looked at it and it looked like a chicken. I drank some whisky, cried, called my sister, cried some more then yelled “F*** YOU CHICKEN!!!” hacked it into pieces and stuck it in the pot.

      The second time I made chicken stock was much easier.

      Now when I make chicken stock, it’s no big deal at all. I’m sure the next time you get your hands on some bison liver, it’ll be easier for you. And you’ll be able to enjoy it too.

  25. After a year of fearing organ meats, I recently found my own “gateway organ” — grass-fed bison adrenals, eaten raw.

    I picked adrenals because, like many urban dwellers, my own adrenal glands see a lot of action. I couldn’t find any adrenal supplements that weren’t loaded with grains and other weird fillers, and I knew the raw organs would have all the delicate enzymes intact. Plus, they looked too small to be too offensive.

    They’re each about the size of a lump of silly putty, and they come in twos. They have a mild beefy flavor with a musky aftertaste that clings to the back of your throat.

    I wouldn’t exactly call them “tasty”, but they are surprisingly tolerable, especially when combined with a swig or two of veggie juice. After a few minutes, the funky taste mostly goes away and you’re left with a slowly dissolving wad of connective tissue — nature’s original chewing gum, a pleasant companion for an afternoon stroll.

    1. That’s an awesome source of vitamin C, too. Adrenals are vitamin C hogs.

      1. Aha, I did not know! Thank you for that insight. I feel like I can never get enough Vitamin C, and of course cooking destroys it, so it’s awesome to have a non-carby source.

        When I bite into my next pair tomorrow, I’ll be tasting for the ascorbic acid…

    2. Where do you get Grass-Fed Bison Adrenals from???
      I have been looking everywhere for it to no avail.

  26. Pate is yummy with salad and when I was pregnant I ate pounds of the stuff. (I think that was against CW but what the ho.)

    I loved liver and onions as a child and tongue sandwiches. They were cheap and what my parents could afford and were used to growing up with post-war rationing.

  27. “I can go out at 3am any day and within 20 minutes, eat a bowl of liver/kidney/intestines.”

    to me, that is just so much awesome!

  28. Thanks for the link love, Mark.

    Here’s something else I’ve been working to perfect, and that is 1oz meatballs that in addition to a host of herbs & spices has bits of finely chopped carrot, onion, celery and potato for a bit of carbage; also, liver slurry, egg yolks, and reduced bone broth. In other words, 1oz portions of super and complete nutrition.

    Idea is for them to be good cold or at room temp so they can make an excellent snack or a meal anywhere.

    I’ll do a post on it when I’ve got it where I want it.

    1. I was thinking meatballs too… I have GOT to see what you wind up with. I could use ideas.

  29. Thanks for the inspiration- I have a heart and a liver in my freezer, and just haven’t summoned the courage to do anything with them yet!

  30. Liver, heart, kidney…..these are good and almost tasty. But brains, tongue and testicles are where i draw the line.

  31. Using a mixer or hand blender, you can puree the liverwurst with some organic cream cheese and spread into celery. For some zip, top with hot mustard. Delish!

  32. One of my favorite dishes that my grandmother makes when I visit Uruguay, is cow tongue. It is boiled, sliced and marinated with a mixture of oil, vinegar, parsley, hard boiled eggs and salt. They are also big on bar-b-q-ing all the other sweetbreads. I usually have my share when it’s cooked like that, but I have yet to find a way to choke them down at home.

    1. When I was in Uruguay we also had chotos (intestine, Chinchullines (chitterlings), and morcillas (blood sausage) all roasted over wood coals on a parilla. Que delicioso!

  33. I love beef liver and make it as often as my husband and son will let me get away with it. However, the rest of the organs from our side of beef either were fed to the dog (the kidney) or are sitting in the freezer waiting for me to get up the courage to cook them (the heart and tongue). However, our next side of beef is coming this month and I’m going to ask our butcher to grind at least the heart, and perhaps the kidney, up in our ground beef – my husband and I have no problem with that and what our teenager don’t know won’t hurt him. 🙂

    As for the slurry, I could do that, and add it to stews, soups and casseroles – no problem. I’d be leery of the pet food my butcher sells, though, for no other reason than they add commercial canine supplements to it.

  34. Anyone snuck something I didn’t want to eat into my food, and I found out, it would quickly turn into a fist fight.

  35. What a coincidence…I just took a break from grinding some pork, including the heart, kidneys, etc to see if I can make some super healthy sausage.

  36. I had goat brain yesterday. Lots of chopped onion and garlic sauteed in CO. Add turmeric, goat brain, paprika, salt, black pepper and garam masala(optional) and cook for about 8-10 minutes on low-medium heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro. YUM!

  37. If you have a kosher delicatessen or kosher-style style delicatessen in yours area (kosher-style is not strict about the kosher food preparation laws, but the foods are pretty much the same…Eastern European savory delicacies), you can get chopped chicken liver pate easily. It’s made with onions and chicken fat usually, and is so delicious.

    Also, kosher style beef tongue. I believe that it is pickled before (or after?) cooking. Then it is sliced thin and used on sandwiches, but is delicious by itself. It is also usually a gorgeous bright ruby red color. I believe that’s due to the pickling process. My mouth is watering now, I’d better head over to Brent’s Deli later…

  38. This is one area I certainly need to work on. I’ve got a lot of grassfed organs sitting in my freezer, and while I don’t mind the basic Liver and onions, I haven’t had the guts (no pun intended) to attempt the rest yet.
    I’m all for the health benefits but organ slurry+ pregnancy = not appetizing!
    We do have a meat grinder, so I might try smuggling the organs into homemade sausage. Thanks for getting me out of my comfort zone!

    1. Despite what your doctor might tell you, eating liver occasionally during pregnancy is an excellent idea. You might consider sourcing more pastured dairy as well, where possible (you should at least be able to score cheese). Based on my research, and I admit I’m a layperson, certain urinary tract defects go along with insufficient vitamin A. My daughter was born with reflux up into both her kidneys and required surgery to correct it on the right side when she was just shy of two.

      They’re telling pregnant women to avoid liver completely, despite the fact that some adults can’t convert beta carotene and *no* infants can (so, presumably, fetuses can’t either), and that’s just completely irresponsible.

    2. oh meant to mention–the dairy will get you more vitamin K2, the mk-4 analogue, which is vitally important for facial and jaw development in a fetus. All these kids running around with braces now? Their moms didn’t get enough K2 during the pregnancy, and possibly not enough A either (which also plays a role in facial development).

  39. Does anyone else remember “Little Lisa’s Slurry” from The Simpsons?

  40. Just last night I made a chicken liver curry from one of my all-time favorite Indian cookbooks, Maya Kaimal’s Savoring the Spice Coast of India. Easy and delicious, even without rice!

    Chopped liver is something I grew up with and I absolutely love it. The secret to making really excellent chopped liver is using lots of chicken fat (duck or goose fat would work just as well) and deeply caramelized onions. Last week I had the famous chopped liver at Sammy’s Roumanian in NYC – it was probably the best I’ve ever had, even better than mine! – and while I did break down and have some on half a slice of bread, it was just as delicious right off the spoon.

    1. Head cheese is made from a pig’s head so there is some brain matter in it.

      You can find beef brain in some Canadian meat stores, but I’m reticent given Mad Cow disease.

  41. Good idea. When I was a kid on Granny’s ranch, the cowboys would fry up the calf testicles at spring roundup, and make SOB stew at the fall roundup. Only in front of us kids they called them calf fries and sonofagun stew, and they wouldn’t tell us what was in the stew. It worked–I liked the stew, even though it had all kinds of scary parts in it, and almost anything that’s deep fried is pretty edible no matter how disgusting it is.

  42. On the pet food mixes – I’ve sampled several brands, lightly cooked, back when that was what I was feeding one of my dogs. They all had some type of crushed or ground bone in them (or crushed egg shells) for calcium, and that always made them “gritty” and rather unappetizing to me.

  43. My dad spent some time in Germany in the military and developed a taste for some of the foods there, braunschweiger in particular, so we had a lot of that growing up.

    I’ve eaten heart and liver before, usually just grilled or fried, and never really got into them. I am going to take your stew recommendation and mixing them into ground beef, though, as this sounds much more palatable.

  44. I like to have liver frequently only from grass-fed cattle. I usually have it slightly tanned on the outside with it being soft and juicy on the inside. I also have a few slices of grass-fed Suet along with the liver and the taste combination can give you a food-gasm.

  45. Despite the low incidence of prion-related diseases in the US, I am still going to categorically refuse to ever eat brains or spinal tissue. I know what these diseases do, there is no treatment for them and out of all the many things out there that can kill us, I think it’s the one thing that scares the living daylights out of me. I’ll eat any other part of the animal at least once and more if I like it, but not brains. Look up Kuru or “laughing sickness” if you want a real treat.

    1. I have read an alternative hypothesis for where the prion diseases come from that may interest you.

      The official declaration is that they come from eating nerve tissue, but that doesn’t explain why sheep get scrapie, since last I heard they are always pastured and are not fed ground-up bits of other animals. It also doesn’t explain chronic wasting disease in deer, who also are never fed ground-up bits of other animals.

      What *might* explain the prion disease in pastured herbivores and, by extension, prion disease in just about everyone else, is that it may be linked to pesticide exposure coupled with copper deficiency. I’ve provided a relevant link; click on my name in this comment to read it. If you google prions and copper together, all sorts of stuff comes up.

      You’d think herbivores would never be lacking in copper since they eat stuff that’s relatively high in it (chlorophyll gets its green color from copper, just like hemoglobin gets its color from iron), but in winter of course there’s not going to be as much. I have no idea if anyone’s checked whether initial onset of the spongiform diseases occur more frequently in winter, though–and given the long incubation time, it would probably be impossible to tell.

      Anyway. So I’m not convinced eating brain is going to cause any problems. And it’s not like human beings don’t get exposed to a lot of different pesticides and suffer mineral deficiencies. Possibly exposure to prions *on top* of these other conditions is what causes CJD in some people. But I wonder if those other conditions don’t have to be in place first. Kind of like cattle are more susceptible to TB if they graze on grass growing in iron-rich soil.

  46. FYI, you can still eat crackers, especially if your version of Primal allows dairy. Do a Google search for low-carb cracker recipes. Some of them are crap and contain ingredients like vital wheat gluten, but some are cheese- and seed-based, usually sunflower seeds but sometimes nuts. I bet there’s at least one recipe out there that would go with pâté if you like the latter by itself.

  47. Irony! I just thawed out some of my veal kidneys tonight…they are awesome with green pepper sauce.

  48. The problem with the pesticide idea is that these diseases have been around for longer than the pesticides have, considering that the first descriptions of scrapie show up in the early 18th century. And it’s not that it necessarily comes from neuronal tissues exclusively, it is just where the prion particles are the most concentrated. Also, kuru would be difficult to tie to pesticide exposure, given the location. Somewhat the same thing with CWD as the exposure to pesticides would likely be significantly less than for domesticated animals.

  49. I’ve always liked chicken liver and heart but I never liked beef liver. Unfortunately by parents loved the stuff with fried onions Yuck.

  50. I love liver!! As a recovering vegetarian (12 years, on off again vegan then raw vegan-gasp), I just started eating meat a few months ago. I went and visited all my local friendly farms to “meet my meat”. The lady I buy my monthly 25# packs from, I see the cows happily grazing everyday I go skiing which is almost weekly. Anyway, I thought since I have meatlessly abused my body for the past 12 years organ meat is a must. I started with liver and onions and brocolli and now I make it every week. Next up, she threw in some heart and kidneys (she does this for free so she can get me hooked). The heart jerky sounds great but, I also was advised to grind it up and add it to my hamburger (maybe someone mentioned this already). The kidneys I’m going for the kidney and wine sauce recipe on here. She said next, she’s throwing in some tongue…haven’t figured out that one yet, maybe stew. Then tripe…so, I’m going down the list I’m trying everything at least once.

  51. I love eating pate with carrot and celery sticks. No crackers required!

    To the person who asked “Where do you get this stuff” – I’ve been able to find liver and kidneys at a local halal market. Good luck!

  52. “Organ Slurry.” Dear sweet Moses, Mark… sounds like a great band name… but as food?

    Maybe I’ll make some for my wife’s next Ladies Get-together…

    “LIVE – MEGADETH! LINKIN PARK! THE SECRET MACHINES… and introducing… ORGAN SLURRY!”

  53. Liver is the only food I can not choke down, and since it was my first offal experience I haven’t been too keen on trying other forms of organ meats until now. I like the idea of making a mix though, maybe I could fool myself and my family into thinking its only ground beef. Some chili sounds pretty nice actually. Thanks for the excellent post Mark!

  54. Back home in the states I grill beef liver w bacon & onions, yummy! Also in CA we have lots Mexican food, “lengua” taco is “tongue” taco, “mensa” taco is brain taco. Here in Thailand chicken livers on a stick are common on street vendor carts. (If you are from US do NOT eat the beef in SE Asia! I got some bad FP 2 days ago in Malaysia.)

  55. I made Tom Naughton’s wife’s chili recipe this past weekend where she adds in liver along with the ground beef. Not too bad. Just finished a bowl of it with raw shredded cheddar cheese on top!!

  56. I did a survival course once and we had to kill and butcher a farmed rabbit to learn how to break down small game. The instructor’s suggestion that the liver was the most nutritious part elicited some ‘ewws’ from the course but I boiled it (best available method at hand) and spread it on some bread (I knew not of Primal Blueprint ten years ago) and it was quite delicious!

  57. My concern is that, in the case of the liver and kidneys, these organs are filters. I accept all the good things that are in them, but what about all the toxins they collected over the animal’s life? Has any research been done into that?

  58. Dad (a pom) used to make me Devilled Kidneys – FOR BREAKFAST!! Quite tasty I recall. Found this online:

    Allow one lamb’s kidney per person and cut them into quarters or rough dice
    fry in hot oil for a minute until lightly browned
    add some sherry, a dash of cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of redcurrant jelly (Cumberland sauce is also very nice) and stir to blend
    season with Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, salt and cayenne pepper to taste, then add a splash of cream to make a lovely rich sauce
    bubble for a minute or two, sprinkle over some chopped parsely and serve with toast and a green salad.

  59. finally, I’ve been stir frying beef heart and to be honest it’s getting boring.

    I like the idea of jerky.

    Any good sweetbread recipes?

    1. I used to coat them in seasoned flour and saute them in butter.

      I found them a major bother to prepare. It’s a real pain to remove all the membrane. They aren’t available around here anymore, and if they were I doubt I’d be buying them much.

  60. I think my all time favourite organ is lambs brains. They are actually a really nice addition to a soup/stew.
    I know that liver is good for you but dayum..I have trouble eating it!
    I went through a phase of craving it though, and it gave me a lot of energy. Probably because I was deficient in iron.

  61. Be careful buying the pet food mixes. In many cases this is not considered fit for human consumption – it may have bits that fell on the floor, become contaminated and just rinsed off or it may be older(sat out too long) than allowed for humans, or sometimes from sick or diseased animals.
    With some pet mixes it is just meat that is very hard to sell like the offal but I would want to be sure I checked local rules around this and ensure I knew my butcher well.
    Cheers

  62. I had a big fear factor with liver, so I bought some chicken livers, froze them individually on a cookie sheet and put them in a bag in the freezer. One little chicken liver is far less intimidating than a whole platter full. So once a week, I take one out, thaw it, and figure out how to incorporate it into my diet. Usually, I dice it up fine and hide it in a hamburger…I hardly know it’s there. I’ve cut it up small and hidden it in stir fries as well.

    I figure given the proportionate size of liver to the rest of an animal, one chicken liver a week is about right. And hey, check out the nutritional profile on the stuff…it makes most multivitamins look pathetic by comparison.

  63. When I grew up we regularly ate liver, kidneys etc and I rekindled that interest a few years ago.

    The main problem with liver/kidneys is that people cook them waaaaaay too long and they go tough or bitter. Less is more.

    Here’s a non-threatening way to start:
    Tub of chicken livers, cut the bigger ones in half.
    Bacon choppped into pieces.
    Chopped onion.
    Thickener of your choice (butter is good.)
    Fry the bacon ’til almost crisp and put aside.
    Fry onions in the bacon fat ’til soft.
    Toss the bacon and liver back into the pan and fry until the liver is slightly pink in the middle.
    Add thickener to the juices if needed.

    Yum! With eggs!

    I think I might write a full blog post on this myself, I have other recipes too.

  64. I made my first beef liver pate this week. It is sooo good. I am still kicking myself for not doing this for years… we have always given the offal to the dogs when we kill steers and heifers.

    It is so delicious, we have just been eating it in chunks.

  65. Headcheese is not made from offal.

    My kids favorite is calf hearts in a rich creamsauce – I pretty much just cut the hearts into bits, saute them in butter, ad cream and simmer until tender. Then put in a bit of corn starch to adjust the consistency of the sauce. It is traditionally served with rice, but we just use something else, like salad greens (yes, salad greens with a cream sauce works wonderfully)

  66. Steak and kidney pie – very popular in England. I’ll have to try to work out a primal version.

  67. The pet food mixes definitely caused my eyes to pop out a little! But when I read a little more it really does make sense. We have a local farm down the road that we sometimes use for meat and other such items – The idea of incorporating it into a bread dish is excellent.

    Thanks again Mark..

  68. Sweetbreads are usually the thymus or the pancreas. There are also other glands that are called sweetbreads, these are parotid gland (“cheek” or “ear” sweetbread), sublingual glands, and the testicles. I’ve had thymus, it was pretty good.

  69. Just one comment for those thinking of dehydrating liver – a friend of mine did this for making dog treats – you need to like liver to do it, it definitely does not smell as good as dehydrating muscle meats. But the dogs love it…never thought about trying it for myself.

  70. i already do the heart jerky thing..though instead of slicing it, i grind it up and spread it on trays, then into the dehydrator 🙂
    I would definetly advise against liver jerky…once i tried to make pemmican with beef and lamb liver, dried, but it was horrendous. seriousely, thinking about it now makes me queasy. and i’m a liver lover!
    I’ve never had pate though, definetly something i want to make. And liverwurst

  71. I think beef tongue is gateway offal, because the flavor is similar to other cuts of beef. I had some that I cooked in the crockpot yesterday and shredded. This morning, I popped it on the griddle with butter and let it crisp up. It tasted like the most wonderful corned beef hash (minus potatoes).

  72. Good timing. I just made some of my favorite liver pate and can share the recipe with you guys. It’s super easy and super delicious.

    2 large onion
    2 large carrots
    1/2 any mushrooms (I usually use buttons)
    1 lb of liver
    generous amount of butter

    I roughly chop and saute all vegetables in butter until soft and transport it into a plate. I then saute liver pieces in that same pen until they are cooked but still a bit pink inside. Everything get’s dumped in a food processor and grinded together. Salt and pepper to taste.
    I ends up being quite thick, so you don’t need any bread or crackers to eat it, and it looks really cool because you can still see pieces of carrots in it. I eat it as my lunch at work because it’s so easy and delicious, but just don’t tell anyone what it is:)

  73. I think sweetbreads are the thymus gland…

    Also, the Pottenger liver cocktail: tomato juice, grated frozen liver, Tabasco, whey. Credit to Nourishing Traditions cookbook for that one. It’s delicious at breakfast time.

  74. I like the jerky idea. I make my own pâté when I need to use up stuff. My four year old son and I are the only ones to actually it eat. I have fond memories of when I was a little girl of my mother standing in front of an open fridge eating Braunschweiger out of a tube and squirting mustard on top. I slice mine up now, and can even find it at my local butcher, but my favorite way to eat it is still with mustard.

  75. i LOVE liver pates, but i hate the texture of liver just sliced and cooked. 🙂 that doesn’t apply to foie gras, though — damn, that’s good!

    i thought sweetbreads were the thymus gland…?

  76. I have read that our ancestors and our Native American brethren and a couple of bloggers have eaten and do eat raw liver. One would think that in this toxic world of ours raw liver would be dangerous but I have also read that the liver is the cleanest organ.

    Any comments or opinions?

  77. Couple of English classics which I have quite often;

    Liver and bacon with onion gravy is amazing and pretty primal if you do it right.

    Steak and kidney pie is a good idea but you need to find a pastry alternative. I tend to use a parsnip mash top turning it into a kind of cottage pie. Better than pastry anyway

  78. I love all these things so tasty. You can order the pet food for UA wellness as well. I do!

  79. The dog food idea should probably be approached cautiously as I’ve seen some articles lately about bacteria such as Salmonella being an issue with these. (one such article is here: http://www.adi-news.com/dog-food-contaminated-with-salmonella-bacteria/23501/ ). I suppose your risk drops a bit if you’re choosing grass-fed beef products instead of your typical, run-of-the-mill grocery store brands. Regardless of the risk of harmful bacteria, this isn’t particularly appetizing to me…

  80. I love liver fried with onions,its amazing, you just have to be carful not to overcooked it and use a bit of salt after its cooked(my mum use to soaked a liver in milk before cooking-I do not whats that all about)
    You should tried as well soup cooked with chicken hearts and loads of veg(do not blend please) When I was a kid,me and my brother loved it..but that is down to mum who fed us all kind of stuff(who thought its so nutritious)
    Try to find best quality organ meats,I have made mistake going to supermarket and buying liver of the shelf(no organic avaiable in avarage UK’s store)and it was disgusting.

  81. Thank you for the idea of heart jerky. I have a bunch of chicken hearts in my freezer from the pastured chickens that we raise. I have been trying to figure out what to do with them.

  82. I get my kids to eat liver quite easily. I got this tip from a friend. Grind liver in a food processor with an equal weight in onions. Then saute with sage, salt, pepper until med rare. serve with stir fry veggies, or scrambled eggs. I also put heart and liver in meat loaf (2/3 ground beef, 1/3 organs). YUM. They also like homemade chicken liver pate with fresh veggies.

  83. Tongue is one of the easiest cuts to eat with our Western palate. It cooks up super tender in the slow cooker (although yes, it is a little gross when you have to peel off the outer skin and tastebuds). We enjoyed a pot of tongue soup last week, and my 3-year-old and infant couldn’t get enough!

    Although I like it, liver is a harder sell for my husband, so we do take grassfed liver capsules, too. We’ve been taking them for a few years and have had great success with them. There are also some Organ Delight pills (http://www.drrons.com/organ-delight-traditional-superfood.htm) that have a mixture of lots of organs. We’ve also had good success in treating adrenal fatigue symptoms (like allergies) with the adrenal/liver combo capsules (http://www.drrons.com/thyroid-adrenal-liver-pancreas-glandulars.htm).

  84. My favorite liver recipe:

    Start a tablespoon or so of minced onion sauteing in butter or bacon grease (or both!) When it’s translucent, add 2-3 chicken livers, snipped into bite-sized pieces. Stir ’em around till they’ve changed color on the outside, and the red juice has stopped running, but no more — they should still be pink inside.

    Now pour in 3 beaten eggs, and scramble till set. Salt, pepper, eat!

    Now I want to go thaw some livers.

  85. I think a way to make organ meats more appealing is to consume them after a long fast. Then you will be so hungry you’ll eat anything.

  86. Is eating insects primal? Is there any insect based recipes out there yet?

    Maybe I should go dig up a worm…

  87. I’m glad I like liver straight up. I’d hate to have to go to the trouble to disguise it.

  88. Tongue is so easy to eat as it is delicious and has none of the strong flavor that some organs do. Tongue cooks up to be extremely tender (even softer than the most tender steak). We had a delicious pot of tongue soup a week ago, and my 3-year-old and infant could not get enough! (Admittedly, though, I did get a bit grossed out while peeling off the outer skin and taste buds.)

    Liver is a harder sell for my husband, so we have been taking grassfed dessicated liver capsules for about 5 years with great results. We have also had good success treating adrenal fatigue symptoms (such as allergies, this was in our pre-primal days) with adrenal/liver capsules from Dr Ron’s Ultra-pure. They also sell some Organ Delight capsules that are a mixture of lots of different organs (but a bit pricey) (http://www.drrons.com/organ-delight-traditional-superfood.htm).

  89. Tongue is so easy to eat as it is delicious and has none of the strong flavor that some organs do. Tongue cooks up to be extremely tender (even softer than the most tender steak). We had a delicious pot of tongue soup a week ago, and my 3-year-old and infant could not get enough! (Admittedly, though, I did get a bit grossed out while peeling off the outer skin and taste buds.)

    Liver is a harder sell for my husband, so we have been taking grassfed dessicated liver capsules for about 5 years with great results. We have also had good success treating adrenal fatigue symptoms (such as allergies, this was in our pre-primal days) with adrenal/liver capsules from Dr Ron’s Ultra-pure. They also sell some Organ Delight capsules that are a mixture of lots of different organs (but a bit pricey).

  90. Had beef tongue a few days ago. Cooked with bay leaf, peppercorns, sage leaves, celery, carrot, and fennel bulb. It was tender and tasty.

  91. I was told recently that liver can be ground up with an egg and some onion and turned into little “liver nuggets”. I have not tried it myself yet, but I have a pound of liver thawing right now and I plan to pan fry some tomorrow for lunch. I myself rather like the taste of liver itself, but my family does not, so they are the ones I need to get it past. I will try to report back if they are a success.

  92. Having grown up eating organs, it baffles me how some of the suggestions can be preferable to actual offal dishes. Pills? Liver powders? Organ slurry!? PET FOOD!?! If I ever had to go to those lengths, I’d rather just get my nutrients elsewhere.

  93. Love the blog!

    Re. this post. Offal is what the biological body uses to cleanse whatever is put inside it. Does this not mean that liver and kidney, for example, is in the danger zone of having substances of such level that it might be dangerous to eat them? I am even suggesting that this would be the case for grass fed animals and game since there is air pollution, water pollution etc. etc.

    Any ideas?

  94. I’d like to ask the people that eat liver on a regular basis likes as a pate or just sauted with onions. Do you guys ever experience heartburn sensation when you eat it? I’ve noticed that every time I eat pate which I absolutely love, I get heartburn. I almost never get any heartburn issues other than that.
    Do you know why that could be happening?

  95. hello groks and grokettes!
    has anybody tried desiccated liver tablets (from grass fed buffalo)? i absolutely can’t get down organ meats, and even though i’m not very keen on supplementing, i would if this was any good. thanks very much for your advice.

  96. I ate tongue once and it tasted delicious, so I reached for another piece, this piece however was the top of the tongue and it hadn’t been skinned. It felt like I was being french-kissed by a cow.
    I never have been able to go there again.

  97. Soaked some beef liver in a mixture of heavy cream (2 Tbsps.)and water, maybe a cup, or less, for about an hour. Sauteed a bunch of sliced onion, fresh thyme, a little sea salt in butter, slowly, till caramelized, then added an ounce of sherry, cooked for about a minute, lifted the liver straight out of the cream/water mix and laid it on top of the onion. Cooked on low heat for 4 and a half minutes. It was so good, I wanted to get another piece out of the freezer to have for dinner. Oh yeah, I sprinkled it with apple wood smoked sea salt. It’s making me swoon just thinking of it.

  98. My Grandfather (he was a Basque) ate pigs brain all the time, together with other organ meats…weekly.
    I don’t know why americans are so scared of eating brains, just don’t eat bovine brain.

  99. hello, I investigated the nutritional value of a beef kidney and realized it has, in average of course, 170 mg of trans fats, but I’ve always heard trans fats should always be avoided. What do you think?
    Thanks

  100. I picked up some beef liver the other day, determined to make a go of it. Between this article and a recipe from elsewhere, I just made a fantastic ‘hamburger helper’ of sorts. Ground bison (leftover patties from yesterday’s BBQ) + shredded liver, plus leftover chopped broccoli and cauliflower, chopped onion, chopped carrot, chopped mushroom, chicken stock, spices and balsamic vinegar. YUM! Now, so long as hubby does not figure out the ‘secret ingredient’ until he has had it a few times….

  101. Growing up, my mom would have beef liver at least once a month–I loved it with a little bacon. She also cooked giblets and I always got the heart and kidney.

  102. I just bought some “Ground Beef Plus” through my co-op – grass-fed and -finished, 70% ground beef, 20% heart, 10% liver. I couldn’t taste the difference at all, and it was the same price as regular ground beef (and actually cheaper than the store bought stuff, since it was through the food buying club). I’d think if you were buying a 1/4 or 1/2 a steer, you could ask the butcher to make some.

  103. I am totally new to Paleo, but the best thing about Paleo is that now I can finally eat liver with no guilt.

    Growing up, me and my sister used to fight (literally) to eat the liver peices in the Sunday chicken/goat curry my mom prepared. My dad would then keep two peices aside, one heart and one liver and whoever finished eating first would get the liver 🙂

    I grew up and bought into the conventional wisdom that liver is bad for cholestrol. Now I eat liver at least once a week and my dogs eat it every other day.

    Thanks so much 🙂

  104. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a applicable deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided vibrant clear concept

  105. I heard the spleen is also an excellent source of iron as well as a good balance of protein and fatty acids…I think the main reason that offal is considered taboo by many is the high cholesterol content and the potential of contamination, especially with conventional livestock. Additionally, the liver IS a great source of vitamin A, but too much of this nutrient can be VERY harmful

  106. Mark, you can’t suggest just leaving heart meat out to dry. It left a staunch and stinky smell that my roommates thanked me dearly for getting rid of by throwing out all the meat I’d bought and prepared only a day before, long before it’d dried.

    I suspect a smoker was really needed for the jerky idea to work.

  107. But let me re-balance the tone by saying this site is extraordinary and thank you enormously for all your good work on it. Just felt frustratedly led astray on the jerky.

  108. I managed to find a great clean ” Beef Jerky” made from 100% Beef and Spices…no sugar, junk, additives.
    Pretty hooked on this source now:
    http://www.casarofoods.com carries it so far I know as “Biltong Bites”…maybe the South African Spices hold the secret?

  109. I think I’d rather stick to eating meats that are the whole animal with small organs like small fish, clams, shrimps, and insects.

    Eating organs make it seem like I’m eating something off of an autopsy table, and eating muscle meats make it seem like I’m eating off someone’s limb after amputation in an operating theatre.

  110. Pate, being so very rich, really needs to be served on something neutral. Otherwise it’s simply overpowering. The first few mouthfuls are fine. But after that, it can be cloying.

    Bread is out for paleo reasons.

    So what’s the solution?

    Personally I’ve resorted to a trick from my native Chinese cuisine. Minced, cooked shrimp is often served wrapped in chilled iceberg lettuce, and topped with crumbled, deep fried, crispy bean thread noodles.

    I often use iceberg lettuce or other types of lettuce such as Romaine to make a similar wrap, sometimes with canned tuna or salmon. Instead of a tuna sandwich, I eat a tuna lettuce wrap. The same could easily be done with pate or other rich tasting meats.

    Lettuce is totally paleo. But eaten alone, lettuce is so bland that after a few bites it can be hard to swallow.

    Eaten alone, the same can be true of pate or other rich meats.

    Eaten together however, they perfectly compliment each other.

  111. I’ve been adding organ meat to my diet slowly. Even my husband has been slowly converting. Seems he would prefer liver to kale 🙂

    From Steven Rinella’s American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. page 175: “Beginners, or “Tenderfeet,” would start out eating prime cuts, but within months they suffered nutrient deficiencies that caused their tongues to break out in lesions. After a while they learned to be more like the Indians and eat the buffalo’s internal organs and bodily fluids as well. They’d eat liver, kidney, and glans, and they’d dribble bile on red meat…If they were away from water, they’d open a dead buffalo’s stomach and use their fingers to filter out the bits of vegetation while they slurped the watery ooze.”

    Well, that’s what the other predators do don’t they?

  112. We make a traditional British dish, Faggots –

    Roughly two pounds of pork, one pound of offal (we like a mix of heart, liver and kidney), an onion, a couple of slices of bacon and some herbs.
    Grind it all roughly, bind with an egg and a couple of teaspoons of coconut flour.
    Form into “meat balls”, slowly pour over some hot stock/wine/cider/whatever you fancy and cook very gently so they don’t break up. We do ours in the crockpot. Also freezes well once cooked for a ready meal another day.

    We also love liver and bacon. Really easy – a portion of liver per person with two slices of bacon per person laid on top. Add stock, cover, and cook in a medium oven.
    We find that it helps if you soak the liver for a while – it loses some of that strong liver taste.

    Steak and kidney is great, even if we don’t have the pie or pudding around it. Just slow cook braising steak and quartered kidney with an onion, red wine and a sprig of thyme – perfect winter food!

  113. You know, there are better ways to refer to organ meats than “offal” – which makes everyone think “awful”…! I love many organ meats, and would like to point out that if anyone is at a loss as to how to prepare and serve them, they can always look to a classic French cookbook. There they will find lovely recipes such as Veal Kidneys Madeire, and Omelettes of Chicken Livers and Shallots, etc., etc.
    I think the place for most to begin is with liver and onions. And with the knowledge that liver and kidneys are at their most delicious when cooked gently and lightly. And with such accompaniment as garlic, onions, shallots, or leeks! And then add to that! Maybe some tomatoes, or dried tomatoes, or fennel, or fresh sage… Etc. Or you can always pour Béarnaise sauce over them. There is nothing on the planet that does not taste great with Béarnaise. And how primal can you get, since Béarnaise is made of egg yolks and butter, with some chopped herbs and vinegar added.
    And by the way, if you can find sweetbreads at all (and they will cost you an arm and a leg), they have the most subtle, gentle, delicate (and delicious!) flavor of any of the organ meats.
    Not so awful at all.

  114. I love all organ meats, liver is the one I eat the most often. It’s not really about being ‘deficient’ in anything, except energy. When I first ate liver, I did not like it at all, I was amazed when I got up how easy it was to move all of a sudden. I will never be without liver again.

    It’s worth mentioning that the grass fed organs taste way better than the grain fed ones. i can’t eat grain fed meat without any issues, but for some reason the grain fed offal always tastes ‘wrong’ to me and the grass fed organs are delicious. Also, it is important: DO NOT OVERCOOK ORGANS! This makes them taste horrid! My foolproof method is to stew and slowcook them.

    Organ meats are absolutely delicious when cooked properly, Heart tastes like a lean pot roast, kidney tastes kinda like sausage, rare liver tastes like a steak, and sweetbreads are just delectable, as people have said here tongue is so tender and flavorful it just tastes like another cut of meat – and no one has said how amazing the fats on top of the heart and kidney is! THE BEST tasting fat ever, as good as marrow!

  115. Today I ground heart, tough muscle meat, kidney and liver, mixed it together and seasoned it to make meatballs I could freeze as a sort of vitamin dinner. My husband can’t eat egg and I did not add enough corn starch so I will be making sloppy joe’s, spaghetti sauce, etc with the portioned out frozen bits. It also makes wonderful breakfast as is or with catsup (homemade no sugar).

    I now soak the liver and kidney overnight with a little vinegar which makes it extremely mild. I second the comments about grass fed beef organs tasting better, there is no comparison.

    Also beef kidney can be prepared like any snail dish. The strong and flavorful sauces go well. Duck and chicken hearts are delicious deviled.

    When I eat liver regularly my eyesight improves and I don’t need reading glasses as much. I get extra free when I buy my whole steer because their other clients don’t want it. Free meat was my biggest motivation.

  116. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!! My husband and I just purchased our first side of grass fed, overly pampered, massaged daily beef. I love to cook and made sure to take home all of the organ meat and bones. Your blog has given me some great ideas, thanks!

  117. great article. It’s good that you’re helping people understand the benefits of these parts of a cow. Our ancestors devoured offal before the sirloin, rib-eye. I eat liver at least twice a week. I also love kidneys and any of the bits most people turn their nose up at. The thing is these parts are the most nutritious, as you’ve mentioned.
    This article from a butcher with 40 years experience shows that even people that can make a lot more money from selling the ‘trendy’ cuts believe the ‘cheap’ cuts to be the best stuff
    http://butchermagazine.com/what-is-offal/

  118. Try a desiccated variety… in the modern world, we unknowingly struggle to fulfill our nutritional needs in order to support and sustain a vibrant, disease-free life. The ideas on this post are wonderful… but not for all.

    If you’re convinced of the benefits (which are many), you want to sneak some ancestral nourishment into your family’s food, you want convenience, look for a high quality, desiccated supplement. There are supplement varieties of all types… liver, heart, kidney, pancreas, spleen, brain… you name it. Some companies even include a mix of the organs in one supplement. Enjoy!!

    * Grassfed Beef Organs by Ancestral Supplements
    * Organ Delight by Dr Rons

  119. I find it a VERY QUICK AND EASY process to make a FAUX liverwurst.
    Quickly stew a mix of beef liver, chicken hearts & gizzards and beef (in the ratio that you’d guess that you’d like), with “Real Salt”, kelp powder, marjoram, nutmeg, and black pepper and PACKAGES of PLAIN GELATIN! Personally, I add a bit of coconut sugar.
    When cooked, I let come to room temperature, pour it into a food processor, blend it into a puree and then pour the result into a loaf pan.
    Cool it in the refrigerator and then you slice it as you need it!
    Easy Peezy!