December 20 2011

Tails, Tendons and Tripe: A Guide to Discovering the Odd Bits

By Mark Sisson
176 Comments

Put down your rib-eyes, don’t thaw those chicken legs just yet, and step away from the pot roast. Don’t get me wrong – those are fine examples of animal muscle meat. Delicious, even. But they’re not all that we should be eating. Not by a long shot. Allow me to explain.

The other day, I received an enthusiastic email from a reader who’d just returned home from the grocery store with a sack of smoked turkey tails. Thanks to a little holiday called Thanksgiving, meat counters across the country are inundated with turkey parts: gizzards, livers, hearts, necks, backs, and tails. Most consumers rarely think of using turkey other than as a “healthy” replacement for ground beef or during Thanksgiving. But not our reader. No, he filled his freezer with smoked turkey tails and the whole experience apparently inspired him, because he wrote to tell me that maybe if I wrote a post extolling the benefits of all the “odd bits” of the animals you eat, other readers would also discover a whole new culinary world.

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. I already make bone broth regularly and eat liver on occasion. And I may pick up some “strange” things if I come across them (say, a lamb kidney, or beef heart). I usually thoroughly enjoy it all, too. But offal isn’t usually at the top of my shopping list. If we truly want to eat nose to tail, though – and we should, you know – we have to branch out. We have to delve deeply. We have to get creative. Our wallets, our taste buds, and our bodies will thank us.

So I went out and spent a couple days hunting down odd parts at the farmers’ market, the Asian supermarket, and my other sources. Here’s what I found:

Heads

Ever since the Mad Cow Disease scare, heads of ruminants are hard to come by. I’ve asked many a farmer for a cow head on many an occasion, but I’ve always been rejected. It’s sad, but I guess I understand. Luckily, I managed to dig up a pastured goat head for a mere dollar per pound. This particular head ran me two bucks, and while its meat content is pretty scant when compared to a cow or pig head, it’s still a head, and that’s what I came for.

Goats aren’t geniuses, but they do have brains. Split open that head, scoop out the brain, and make like an ancestral hominid and cook it up. Okay, while our ancestors probably weren’t stir-frying their brain in garam masala and turmeric, they were eating it. Brain is a rich source of omega-3s, especially pastured brain, and it’s likely that landlocked hunter-gatherers satisfied some of their omega-3 requirements through brain. If you don’t want to bother splitting skulls, why not make some broth out of your head? Throw it in a pot, cover it with water, and toss in some spices, herbs, and a bit of vinegar. Turn it into head cheese (that’s what I’m doing) if you prefer, or just make some soup. Once the meat is tender enough, remove it from the skull to avoid overcooking.

I also picked up a couple fish heads – halibut and salmon. Three and a half pounds worth for $10. I’ve gotten these before, and my favorite thing to do is apply a light dusting of salt and pepper, rub some olive oil all over, and pop in the oven at around 350 degrees for just under twenty minutes. That’s enough to crisp the skin without drying out the meat or burning the fat. Once it’s done, go to town on it. The cheek is the best part, but use your hands to access the interior and keep a lot of napkins handy. You’re going to make a pretty big mess if you want to get everything. It should go without saying that these contain omega-3s, but there should also be a big dose of fat soluble vitamins, selenium, iodine, and other minerals found in ocean water. You could also make fish head soup, of course. If you want to make soup, have the heads cut at the butcher.

Feet

People find feet gross, for some reason. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re in constant contact with the ground, and the ground is definitely not sterile. I guess I see where they’re coming from, but I look at feet differently. I like the fact that feet are what the animal uses to get around, because that means the feet bear all the weight. And any body part that has to handle a lot of force – like the foot – tends to have a lot of collagen, cartilage, and other connective tissue to deal with all that stress. That’s why feet make the best stock. Chicken feet, pig feet, beef feet – they’re all incredibly gelatinous and when you cover them with water and apply heat for 24-48 hours, amazing stuff happens. There is very little meat, so soup/broth/stock is the best option here. Dim sum joints serve fried and braised chicken feet, so I suppose you could play around with that dish. Now that I think of it, a chicken foot braised to the point of disintegration would be really good.

I got pig, beef, and chicken feet for $0.99/lb, $1.29/lb, and $1.99/lb respectively. I’m going to make some stock so rich and so thick that you could sleep quite comfortably on a bed made of it. I suggest you do the same. I kept the beef and pig feet intact for the photo’s sake, but if you get any sort of large animal foot from the butcher, have them cut it up to make the stock-making easier.

Tails

As you can see, the bison tail (which is very similar to beef oxtail, really) is meaty and massive, while the pig’s tail is quite small (and unfortunately not curly). Both are super-gelatinous and both make excellent broth. Both tails have a fair bit of meat on them, so I’d recommend a braise or a crockpot recipe where the meat is featured prominently. Don’t just treat the tails like broth bones. They’ll make a fine, rich stock, sure, but there’s also some good eating to be had. Cook ’em long and slow and let them cool a little bit before you plunge in.

I picked up a box of pastured bison tails for $2.90 a pound and a few pork tails for a dollar per pound. The bison tails were whole, so I had to cut them up myself. Cutting a big bison tail without professional equipment requires getting in between the vertebrae. Use your fingers to find the joints and go from there.

Stomach

While your first inclination may be to retch at the idea of eating a pig’s stomach, I like to call it the Primal crockpot (or, alternately, the Foolproof Sausage Casing). It’s tender, rich, mild, and assumes other flavors really well. Most cooks usually use stomach as an encasing for ground up meat and vegetables. Since what stomachs do in the wild is hold food, it’s an obvious way to cook with it, but another option is to boil and chop it. You could eat the boiled stomach as is (or in soup), or you could dry it off, toss it in spices and fat, and roast/saute it until browned and crispy. I recommend something spicy and sour, maybe a cumin-chili-lime-olive oil spice mix, or even a turmeric-chili-vinegar-coconut oil one.

Stomach isn’t a nutritional powerhouse on par with liver or kidney – it’s mostly fat and protein with a nice dose of selenium – but it’s cheap, it’s tasty, and you can fill it up with other foods (think massive rotund sausage). I paid $1 per pound for mine.

Spleen

Spleen is sometimes called a poor man’s liver. It tastes a bit like it, but not as strong. It kinda looks like it, but not when you look closely. It’s high in iron, copper, selenium, and vitamin B12. It’s more delicate than liver with none of the retinol.

I got pork spleen, also called pork melt, for a couple bucks per pound.

 

Tendon

When most people want real broth, they turn to bones. I mean, bone broth is great. It’s alliterative, for one. It makes your house smell good (or terrible, depending on whom you ask), and it is filling on a cold day in a way that only meaty liquid can be. But if you’re a true rich broth fiend, if you’re a devout Ray Peat-ian, if you’re all about the gelatin – you had better go out and procure yourself some beef tendons. A tendon is a prime piece of connective tissue designed to hold muscle to bone and withstand all the crazy tension and force and stress that such a relationship inevitably entails. Thus, it is pure collagen, which means good things for your broth. Of course, it’s just collagen without the bone, so the broth won’t have that boney meatiness, but if you add a few bones to the mix you’ll get the best of both worlds. Tendons are basically fat-free, but a well-cooked tendon gives a mouthfeel similar to good pork belly. Good braised, good in soups.

Beef tendon ran $2.99 a pound. I got two large tendons for $4.

Tripe

Tripe is (usually beef) stomach lining. Of course, cows have several stomachs, so there are several types of tripe. I bought book tripe, which comes from the third compartment in a cow’s digestive system – the omasum. As you can see, it’s white, but that’s only because to prepare it for human consumption, tripe is thoroughly cleaned. Uncleaned tripe is intense stuff. Dogs love it, it smells like a barn, it’s green thanks to all the partially digested plant matter, and because it’s literally a cow’s gut, it’s a good source of probiotic bacteria. I almost wish it was palatable in its uncleaned state, because it’s supposed to be a nutritional powerhouse. Cleaned tripe is very mild. Its fibrous texture demands long, slow cooking and it goes well with spicy soups (a lot of tripe is used in Southeast Asian and Mexican cuisine). High in protein with a good amount of calcium.

A little over a pound of tripe cost me $3.75.

Blood

Blood is scary. Too much of it in the room at once means someone’s hurt, usually seriously. It’s red, really red. But countless cultures across history have used (and still use) blood in their cooking. Okay, so what does one do with blood? If you’re Maasai, maybe you drink it raw. If you’re an ancient Spartan, you make melas zomos, the “black soup.” If you’re a cured meat artisan, you’d probably make blood sausage. Cubed fully coagulated pork blood is often used in Southeast Asian cooking. One of my favorite soups from a local Hollywood Thai restaurant uses pork blood cubes. The texture makes it feel like blood tofu.

The blood I bought came from a pig and cost $2 a pound. When you buy blood from the meat counter, it’s already partially coagulated. This makes for easy handling, as you’re not dealing with a pure liquid. When it’s coagulated, you can pick it up and it stays relatively solid. Coagulated blood is incredibly fragile, though, and it’ll break apart at a moment’s notice. Nutritionally, there’s not a lot of available information. It’s definitely going to be high in iron, and it has a fair amount of protein, while according to this source (which references lamb blood), it’s quite low in fat and carbs. I plan on trying blood cubes in a homemade coconut milk soup (from Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals). If you want to cook with blood without it fully coagulating, add vinegar.

Trim

After the butcher removes the steaks, the roasts, the burger meat, the ribs, the loin, and every other cut that enjoys name recognition, he’s left with scraps of meat attached to the animal carcass. Of course, if you’re dealing with an animal as big as a cow, those “scraps” are actually quite substantial. Enter beef trim. The beef trim I purchased came in three oddly shaped slabs of good, deep-red grass-fed beef. They weren’t steaks, and they weren’t roasts, and the angles were all weird, but these were solid cohesive pieces of meat that could easily be cut up for stews, soups, ground into ground beef, or even made into jerky. It’s only trim because it wouldn’t look pretty in a display case. Other than that, it’s great meat at a great price.

I paid $3.50 a pound for grass-fed organic beef trim.

Well, that’s my haul. Between all of that, the “regular” parts described in my offal post from way back, and the post showing how to get this stuff into your diet, I’d say you have plenty of material to work with.

The beauty of buying all the odd bits is trifold. First, you’re getting a wider range of vital micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and connective tissues that just don’t exist in large amounts in regular muscle meat. Second, it’s an affordable way to get your hands on high-quality, pastured animal products. You think you could ever find grass-fed, pastured muscle meat for a few dollars per pound? No way. And third, you are personally seeing to it that the animal in question does not go to waste. It’s not turned into poor quality pet food, nor is it discarded. It is utilized and enjoyed by a person that truly appreciates it.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What are your favorite odd bits? Are there any parts you’ve been dying to try, but haven’t found the courage to go out and find? Well, consider this post a challenge. Go branch out. Eat some weird stuff. It’s good for you and it’s delicious to boot. Make it so that it’s no longer weird, it’s no longer a special occasion, but just something you eat.

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176 thoughts on “Tails, Tendons and Tripe: A Guide to Discovering the Odd Bits”

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  1. Great post, Mark! In terms of nutrition, most of these odds and ends are a great bang for your buck.

    … But drinking blood might take a few more Twilight viewings for me.

      1. True! Especially as blood is awesome. It took my butcher a couple of weeks to get used to the fact that I ask him to save the blood for me, (I swear he still inches away a few steps when he sees me. Poor guy.) But that’s just me, I have a taste for irony things. 🙂

  2. love you, mark, love the columns (always!), but that’s not the right way to use the word ‘extolling.’ the word ‘encouraging’ fits much better.

    1. Only in your opinion, in mine Mark chose the perfect word to convey his meaning. “Extolling the virtues,” “extolling the benefits,” same difference.

      From Online Etymology Dictionary “extol
      also extoll, c.1400, “to lift up,” from L. extollere “to place on high, raise, elevate,” figuratively “to exalt, praise,” from ex- “up” (see ex-) + tollere “to raise,…”

      Go grammar troll somewhere else.

      1. he edited it to read properly as you’ve quoted! i’m touched that i made a difference.

        and piss off to you too, dear 🙂

    2. Um… “extol” and “encourage” mean two completely separate things, and Mark’s original usage of the former is completely valid. He “extols” (sings the praise of) something, thereby “encouraging” it in others.

  3. LOL I totally recognize Marin Sun Farm’s sticker on that beef trim bag. Represent!

    I have been fascinated by offal cuts and have been slowing delving into them (I have two full oxtails in my freezer as we speak) And yeah, I second that they are super cheap in price and open you up to a wide new range of recipes.

    Also I love the face people make when I tell them what sort of animal parts ive been cooking lately. Its even better when I, say, bring some oxtail stew to work and people can see me gnawing gently on the bone trying to get out all the little fiddly bits of meat.

  4. That black soup sounds pretty damn manly to me – it shall be made soon!

  5. We should eat more of this stuff… I think America is pretty much the only country that refuses to eat any sort of offal. Unfortunately, I’ve tried liver several times and I cannot possibly force myself to like it haha

    1. You can make other things out of liver besides eating it just like it is.

      Mix heart, liver or any other offal with hamburger meat, spice it up with salt and black pepper and make small patties out of it.

      Fry them up in butter in the morning to go with eggs.

  6. Just forwarded this to several people. This did however make me feel kinda of tame and unadventurous for have a plain pot of bone broth boiling on my kitchen stove… Oh well, something new to strive for.

  7. Any ideas for a person who wants to love liver and offal? My first foray was a disaster and I feel like I’m going to dislike offal my whole life….but i dont want to (if that makes any sense) Recommendation: for those of you trying chicken livers for the first time, dont make it yourself. After I spent almost an hour trying to get the little membrane off a pound of those things my hands were covered in chicken blood and I felt like a poultry Dexter. And then when I tried to eat it in a pate (it even had bacon in it!) all i could taste was the blood…ugh. Tripe also was a nasty thing for me…the texture got to me. I want to try marrow very badly. Any ideas on the liver front? They are so cheap and so good for you i just need a way to eat them!

    1. Use bone marrow instead of butter or lard to cook your meals in. Low heat.

      Put liver (10%), pork muscle meat (main bulk) and pork fat (20-30%) into a blender or food processor and make a hamburger texture…spice it up with salt and pepper and fry in butter. Goes well with eggs.

      Soak livers in milk for 30 minutes or longer to get rid of the ‘livery’ taste.

      Bone marrow bits are awesome in soups.

      Cold, raw heart salad:
      cut heart into small pieces, use mixture of 3 tbs of oil/3 tbs of vinegar/ 3 cups of water/ 1 teaspoon of salt…and pour it over the heart pieces, making sure they’re all covered.
      Let stand for a couple hours or longer until heart turns color.
      Take heart out (don’t rinse, only let drip), chop up onion and sprinkle over soaked heart pieces…Done. Add black pepper for taste.

      1. Great stuff. I also made a compound butter with roasted marrow and rosemary that was super-rich. Put some of that on your next steak and enjoy!

      2. I make calves liver, sliced as thin as you possibly can (crosswise–think that’s how you describe it, against the grain. I tried slicing it like chicken breast fillets and it came out tough). I saute thinly sliced onions in a ton of ghee, take that off the flame when they turn golden, add the sliced liver to the pan and cook until it browns around the edges, throw the onions back in and swirl everything around to blend the flavors, then serve. My eight year old son scarfed it down last night! Now that’s a miracle!

    2. Broil the liver in a slotted tray or on a skewer with a pan underneath. The blood will drip out, and your pate will not taste like blood. I know this works because I keep kosher and we’re not allowed to eat the blood.

      I don’t know what membrane you are talking about–the butcher must remove it because I’ve never seen that before. You should ask your butcher if he can remove the membrane (if it needs to be removed at all).

    3. Split a couple jalapenos. Cut your liver into chunks that will fit into the jalapenos (remove large pieces of membrane, smaller bits don’t worry about), wrap in bacon. Grill or throw under the broiler until the bacon is just crispy. Enjoy.

      I don’t get why liver is usually served with onions, in general I find it much tastier served with chiles.

      I hear you on the tripe though, I just can’t get over the texture.

      1. Holy cow…this sounds AMAZING. I’ve been tinkering with chicken liver pate, but it’s a bit of a pain since I feel like I have to make grain-free crackers to go with it. (Not sure how else to eat it, except maybe stuffed into celery like PB?) But stuffed into jalapenos and wrapped in bacon? I think we have a winner!

        1. Seriously, I serve liver like that at BBQs and even people who think they don’t like liver love it.

        2. Cucumber slices are a universal cracker replacement. Their neutral flavour goes with pretty much everything, nice crisp texture too. Often present at parties and BBQs or easy to request or bring yourself.

          Zuccini slices work too but munching these raw is not for everyone.

    4. I agree about not removing the membrane with chicken livers – just chop them and sautee them on a low heat with a bit of red wine or balsamic vinegar. I find that having bacon with them, while tasty, sometimes makes the whole thing too rich and salty.

      If you don’t like to eat it in lumps, then you can puree it after it has been cooked and use it as a pate. Mmmmmm.

    5. Pate… pate is the only way to eat liver. Not hard to make and stores well. Cooked liver I cant do, but pate all day!

    6. My liver recipe (1 portion):

      150g bacon, chopped
      200g liver, chopped
      1/2 lemon
      1/3 dl water
      1/2 teaspoon mustard
      salt to taste

      Fry the bacon, then turn down the heat and add water. When the water has settled, add the liver. Slice the lemon, and juice the top into the pan. Add the mustard. Peel the lemon slices, and chop them. Once the meat looks ready, add the lemon bits and serve.

    7. Don’t over cook the liver too much, fast and quick so it’s still pink. think of doing a minute steak ‘rare’. Devilled kidneys, an old English recipe is nice, it uses butter (not strictly paleo) and chilli and is very luxurious.

  8. Pigs feet cooked in a crock pot until the cartilage is soft is very tasty, but also very sticky.

    Also cow boiled cow tongue. You have never had a more tender, more fatty cut of roast beef!

  9. Oh and also, DO spend the extra money to procure GRASS FED beef liver. The difference in flavor is like day and night. Grass fed beef liver is very sweet and mild compared to conventional.

    All this talk is making me hungry!

  10. I always ask the guys at the whole foods meat counter if they have anything “weird” in the back. They usually do and seem quite amused by the fact someone wants to buy it. I’d love to try feet

  11. Serious Eats has a regular column titled “The Nasty Bits” that deals primarily with cooking offal. It’s got some pretty great recipes, though they may need alteration to be primal/paleo sometimes.

  12. OMG what a timing!
    I just got half a cow, ALL organs, including head for eyeballs and brain and gallons of blood !!!!

    The blood soup we made out of the blood was freakin delicious! Made with bone broth of course, out of bones from the same cow and lots of tendons, cut up into tiny pieces and thrown into the same soup.

    What I don’t see on here are glands…we’re making some casserole out of spleen, thyroid, salivary, thymus and pancreas, gonna be awesome.

    1. “thymus”

      Thymus, a.k.a. sweetbreads, are easy, meltingly tender and soo delicious. They’re the offal for people who hate offal. Start with sweetbreads if you’re new to offal. Poach them in stock, let them cool, the sear them quickly in hot butter for a nice crust. Serve with snowpeas for textural contrast. Plate and eat immediately while piping hot.

  13. I absolutely love braised oxtail. This one is not a stretch at all for me– it comes out more like beef ribs. And then of course the bones are great for making stock with afterwards. One I’ve been wanting to try is ox tongue. I haven’t known anyone who has cooked it… Please chime in if you have experience with it!

    1. I would assume it’s a lot like cow’s tongue. We just boil it for hours (2-3 usually). Peel off the outer layer and eat. It is incredibly tender and so worth the wait.

  14. I just found a Hungarian cookbook from the 1960s which uses all sorts of offal in the recipes. I had to ask someone what “pork lights” were. Turns out it is lung.

    1. Lung is delicious too.
      It has the texture of mushrooms, and almost tastes like champions when gently fried in butter.
      So far I’ve only had rabbit and cow lung, would love to try pork lung.

  15. This is one of your best articles yet. I find it interesting that many people just go for the muscle meat instead of the organs or bones.

    This is where all the real minerals and action are. The peasants used to get just the muscle meat and the kings would dine on the organs.

    How things have changed!

  16. I really don’t want my secret to get out. My grass fed farmer friend charges about $7/lbs for chuck roast while the odd bits go for $2-3/lb.

    1. I just paid $1.50 for each pound of ‘weird’ stuff, all organs, head, bones, brain, eyeballs, thyroid, heart, kidney, liver, thymus, pancreas, fresh blood, lung, etc…

      My freezer is filled with weird stuff, I’m super happy.

    1. Doesn’t scrapple have cormeal in it? otherwise delicious stuff, was a big treat in our house when I was growing up.

      1. I think it’s buckwheat, but you’re right. Going back to PA this week, will definitely be a treat.

  17. Great article and who doesn’t enjoy a nice piece of trim?

  18. When I was a kid, my Mom used to fix tongue, tripe (the stomach lining) and brains. Mom and Dad obviously didn’t have trouble eating it but I couldn’t stand it, and now that I’m 67 years old I still can’t — sorry.

    Maybe some day or maybe I’m just not hungry enough. Eating the entire animal – including all parts and pieces -stemmed from raising it themselves to not having a whole lot of money and making sure absolutely nothing went to waste. (Waste not, want not.)

    My Latino friends make menudo with lots of “tripa” – tripe in it. I can handle it sometimes if I cut it up in little pieces, don’t look and swallow it whole.

  19. I’m just slowly adventuring back into offal. Our family hunted when I was a kid, and we often had odd bits of meat (moose liver sausages, fried quail hearts, dear heart)

    I lived in Tunisia for half a year way back in 2002. That was a very food-adventurous time of my life. For Eid, the family I was living with did the customary sheep slaughter. I watched that sheep go from completely alive, to sliced to pieces on the backyard hibachi in a matter of minutes. Very primal, very informative. I ate sheep testicle that day – guest of honour and all, how could I say no. Taste wasn’t too bad, and the texture was non-fibrous, like liver. There was not a tiny bit of that animal that was not used over the next few days.

    Another interesting thing there. You could go to a nice restaurant, and order “1/2 sheep’s head”. It came just as it sounds, sliced down the middle, brains still inside, eye ball, cheeks, teeth, skin and fur all there. And surprisingly, quite popular. Sheep brain tagine (sort of like a quiche) was also a regular thing we ate at home for dinner. Beef heads (entire heads) were displayed in butcher’s windows in the market.

    I’ve not been quite so adventurous since I’ve been back in Canada. Perhaps it’s time to start again.

  20. I was reading along when suddenly my hairs stood on end, why not make broth out of your head? you wrote. I thought I’d accidentally stumbled across a snide vegan blog while looking for Paleo recipes!

  21. Some of our Mexican restaurants serve up beef parts:
    sesos (brains), lengua (tongue), barbacoa (face), trepas (barbequed intestine), menudo (made with sliced tripe and the broth from a foot, I believe). I’m sure there are some I’m missing.
    We’ll be having barbacoa on corn tortillas for Christmas breakfast, maybe some chorizo and eggs too. (I suspect chorizo is full of offal as well, just pork offal).

    1. Chorizo is made of lymph nodes and salivary glands. ?! Whatever, still tastes good.

      1. NONSENSE. HAVE MADE THEM FOR YEARS. FINELLY CHOPPED PORK,WINE,LOTSA GARLIC AND PIMENTÓN.REFRIGERATE,TURN EVERY 8 OR SO HRS.NEXT DAY,FILL AND TIE CASINGS AND COLD SMOKE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS.KEEP IN A COOL,DRY, AIRY PLACE.ENJOY

    1. Yeah, it’s not for everyone, and venturing into the world of offal and odd bits isn’t a requirement to going Primal. You can do just fine without any of this stuff.

      1. Once upon a time, it was for everyone. Western palates and food imagery are ruined by limited offerings of cellophane meat.

  22. Fantastic post, Mark! I’ve been meaning to talk to my butcher about some feet to make my stocks more gelatinous but now I have more things to ask him about 🙂

  23. I grew up with plenty of offal, but not tripe or brains, nor feet, so there’s MY challenge! I’m buying all 3 of Jennifer McLagan’s books 1. Fat 2. Bones and 3. is: Odd Bits
    plenty of helpful culinary advice!

    1. Sorry but unless I am starving to death and eating that was my only option to stay alive-well I may still chose death. HAHA

    2. Any easy way into brains is the French way – poach them lightly in broth, let them cool, and break them up into hot butter in an omelet pan. Toss in 3-6 eggs and scramble. The brains disappear into the scrambled eggs – no one would ever know they were there. For extra yummy, also add a bit of nice blue cheese.

  24. Great artcle but I think I will stick with scrapple. Trying to work on a gluten free scrapple. Its the only meat I refuse to give up eating my90/10% rule.

  25. Maangchi’s latest video recipe is popcorn chicken gizzards. Hers are dusted in starch but I think you could do an egg wash, then saute them – http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/popcorn-chicken-gizzards

    I think the tripe is bleached for human consumption. Korean markets sell blood sausage, pigs feet and all kinds of stuff, but the best for offal is the large Chinese market chain, 99 Ranch. You can find any part of any animal, I swear!

  26. Ok. So I WANT to eat this. I think. I understand the nutritional value. Our bank account would also be happy. BUT. I was raised vegeterian my entire life, until at 31 (2 years ago) faced with skyrocketing diabetes I started Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Soloution and slowly learned my body craved meat, then came pregnancy (after trying for 8 years), and pork cravings and I am solid meat eater ever since. Recently loving sashimi. Especially after raising goats as dairy and pets, chickens and ducks, and helping with cattle…. to see the head and feet, and to think of the other makes me retch. Worse than the first few times I ate meat. Anyone have any recommendations on how to get over that intense mental/emotional/physical reaction?

    1. I’m there with you on that one, Star. I’ve been vegetarian virtually all my life and only recently started eating fish and seafood. I was traumatized cooking mussels the other day when the little critters started moving around the pan and hissing from the heat. I was shaking so badly from the experience of killing them that I could not even eat the broth afterwards. I’ve been reading Eat Right 4 Your Blood type and I’m supposed to eat red meat for optimal health. I’m trying to work up the courage to do it, but I think I would just keep on thinking about the furry little doe eyed animal. I tried to see if I had the courage to buy meat at my local Wholefoods but then saw the entire pieces of lamb’s leg with the bones and all and almost fainted. Needless to say, I was pretty much revolted by all the pictures of the odd bits presented in today’s post, though intellectually I do understand their nutritional value. Making the transition to primal after being vegetarian is really, really hard.

      1. I hear you guys. I was a vegetarian for 35 years or so. Been primal for about 3. Just take it slow and figure it out as you go along as to how you can best make the transition. For each it is different.

        To start with, it might be the type of meat you select and/or how you cook it.

        Possibly reading the Vegetarian Myth might help put your mind in a better place.

        Mostly I just try not to think about the animal I am eating except to say thank you and I also tell myself that I am no different that any other animal on the planet in the food chain. (However, I’m hopefully at the top of that chain.)

        Lions and tigers and bears, are you listening?

      2. Make it into chili , or even better, ask somebody to do it for you. Most cows would be alive, if not for human consumption of beef.
        I advised my son to stay away from vegetarians and animal rights activists before he went to college. It is a religion

      3. Oh my Lulu! I would also have been horrified by the mussels! My first intro to thinking I needed to eat meat was the Eat Right book. My husband deleriously crazed from lack of meat from dutifully becoming veg to please me was triumphantly waving it in my face. Think I’m kidding?? LOL Steak was my first meat. We were stationed in North Pole AK. I had been on diabetes drugs for a few months, they and the ADA diet was wrecking me. I had to have ttwo litres of saline that day and they wanted me in hospital. I said no and went home and demanded a steak. We went to Elfs Den and had a NY Strip with butter on it. I looked like a starving dog in the streets. LOL. Later that year we had halibut at the Alaskan Fish Bake in Fairbanks. I ate so many chunks of it, it was divine, I couldn’t stop. Then I came home and puked for two days. My body was not ready for all that. That put me off meat until a couple years later. The first clue we had I was pregnant is stopping at Famous Dave’s on the way home June 08 from Minot ND to KY. J got a sampler of sorts and I got my veggie low carb meal and I proceeded to eat all the BBQ on his plate and order more and more. LOl. I just wish I had eaten meat in AK. All that wasted salmon, moose, pike, trout and halibut…

    2. I’m in the same boat. Vegetarian for most of my life and only recently changing to a paleo-meat-filled diet to see if it helps an auto-immune disease. I started by eating ground chicken or turkey, mixed into something with plenty of veggies and familiar textures (chili, thai lettuce wraps). Then I moved up to chicken breasts cut into really small pieces. I’m now getting to some pork and beef, but have a hard time dealing with how chewy some of it is. I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat offal, but something like oxtail soup with tiny bits of meat in it might be do-able. Seeing it at the butcher counter is tough. Touching it is really hard. Nothing resists soap quite like animal fat, so I feel greasy and gross for a long time after touching meat! I’m with the others, though. Take it slow. Change your eating in small increments. Your health is worth the emotional distress you feel right now since it will fade in time.

  27. I can’t deal with heads… eyeballs.. Sort of a general rule I have not to eat things that appear to be looking at me. I’ll have to stick with liver, heart and bone broth for now.

  28. I have a great Caribbean Crock pot recipe for Tripe. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll post the link to my blog with the recipe.

  29. My grandparents used to breed their own pigs and we had pig-slaughter usually twice per winter season. I loved it as a kid and love it still. Not only for the delicious food but also for the tradicion as whole family gathered and it was lots of fun (and alcohol). My grandpa doesnt breed his own animals anymore, but we get a pig from a local farmer and slaughter it on our own to have home made yumminess. The pig brain usually came as first meal that day for breakfast as it was available immediately after the pig was slaughtered. I think they fed me these things while my mom still fed me with her milk, lol. 😀

  30. Well I must admit that I am not partial to most of the “odd bits” in this post, except maybe the fish heads. Several trips to China, got me addicted to a nice Fish Head Stew. Anyway a very interesting post none the less.

  31. If you’ve got someone who knows how to cook it, lingua (beef tongue) is mighty tasty.

    1. How long do you cook it?
      That thing turns into hard rubber everytime I try.

      1. cook it longer.

        Here’s a pretty bare-bones recipe that I try. But I combine it with another (add black peppercorns and a bay leaf but otherwise follow the recipe).

        “3 lb Beef tongue
        1 qt Water
        1 Lemon; sliced
        1 t Salt

        Wash tongue thoroughly and place in a deep kettle with water. Add lemon slices and salt. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until tender. Remover from heat. When
        just cool enough to handle, cut away roots and remove skin and any excess connective tissue. (Plunging tongue into cold water after cooking helps loosen skin.) If tongue is to be served cold, it will be juicier if cooled in the liquid in which it was cooked.”

        I know it’s ready when I start seeing the skin of the tongue becoming separated fromthe rest and blistering.

      2. pressure cooker is useful for the tong preparation, but it is easy to overcook. Do not be surprised, if it takes 6 hours for a tong to be ready on a stove in a regular pot. Just be patient.

  32. Nice bit of research. Sheep’s heads (“smileys”) and chicken feet and heads (“walkie-talkies”) are popular in the townships because they’re cheap.

    The furthest I’ve gone down the offal line is to teach myself to cook liver, which I used to loathe. Slice it thinly and fry it very gently in olive oil and it’s not bad.

    Pasture fed beef is about $6 a pound here, but I’ve discovered game sausage at $3 a pound. It’s 30% ostrich meat and 70% bits of wildebeest, springbok, kudu etc. An absolute bargain.

  33. While I’m pretty grossed out by most of this post, I appreciate the suggestion of buying trim pieces. We’ve been trying to find a more affordable way to get grass-fed meat. Thanks! I might even get adventurous and try oxtail.

    1. Why offal is gross? Why tong is gross, but another muscle is not?

  34. Squirrel brains are very good. Remove skin from head and fry in bacon fat. pop the skull like a nut and enjoy.
    Deer hearts are tasty as well, very rich and one of the best steaks on the deer. As a now primal hunter nothing goes to waste from what I bring home

    1. “Pop the [squirrel] skull like a nut and enjoy.”

      Ah, the great circle of life.

  35. You might want to check out a cookbook called “Odd Bits” by Jennifer McLagan–I don’t own it, but it’s had great reviews. I grew up eating “ragout des pattes,” a French Canadian pork hock stew. Sadly, it relies on a browned flour gravy as its base so isn’t primal, but it was tasty.

  36. I. Am. A. Wuss. I am laughing at today’s article because I swear, I am soo not there yet. After DECADES of being a vegetarian/vegan, I felt so “crazy” for having….eggs. “Woohoo! Look at me! Rebel!” Then, I was eating bacon (the gateway meat drug). “Woohoo! I’m, like, a meat-eater!” Then, I ate STEAK. “Seriously? I’m all carnivore, baby!” Then I tried liver and….almost vomited. (Hey, I tried.) Darnit, Mark–you’re setting the bar FAR too high for me!! 🙂 What’s next? (Don’t answer that…)

  37. Hello Mark! I truly enjoy all your postings, this one in particular! I grew up in El Salvador and eating all the inner parts of the animal was essential while I was growing up. Nothing was wasted! Another item to add is tongue, it is delicious! I would recommend visiting a Mexican restaurant and give these item a try: Lengua tacos, menudo soup, tripe in tomato sauce, etc. My mother used to make the best brain canapes, tongue made the same way as chile rellenos. I hope everyone give the ideas you posted a chance. Thank you for all the information you offer to all of us!

  38. In NZ we grew up on lots of offal. Sweet breads (thymus glands) from sheep or cows. Lots of sheep or lamb brains. Lots of sheep and cow tongue. Tripe and onion was a favorite meal. Mother used to stuff ox hearts and gently roast them (unfortunately they cut them flat now for inspection so no cavities to stuff). My father’s favorite was to roast a pig head cut in half. He would then strip all the meat and brain and tongue and set it all in gelatine to make a brawn you could slice as cold meat. I still eat lots of these things. Liver bacon and mushroom is one of my favorite dishes. Great subject Mark! Cheers

  39. Any thoughts on the use of / dangers of offal from game meat? Specifically, I hunt wild boar in California and love the meat but wonder if there are any specific risks (parasites, etc.) that I should be on the lookout for when getting into the bits and pieces.

  40. I’m very new at this but please give me some feed back. Mark recommends here to go to your butcher and get this offal, but If my butcher doesnt use grassfed beef,(organic meat) then Im kind of stuck in the SAD diet world, I figure all the organs are super good in a grassfed cow, but if its grainfed, hormone pumped then the organs are the worst for you, amirite?

    p.s. can someone link me to some places to get this stuff?

        1. You can check out eatwild.com I also think you can research this site for a blog on how to find pastured meat.

  41. Greeks eat trip soup (patsas). It’s surprisingly delicious – I obviously thought it was gross when I was younger and my dad would cook it and stink up the house, but it’s actually really yummy. It’s really garlicky, and the tripe is cut small so you don’t get too much with each bite. It’s especially nice with chili flakes sprinkled on top. Google “patsas soup”, and give it a shot. A nice way for garlic-lovers to eat some new animal parts.

  42. Those pictures, especially of the feet, really did nothing for my appetite. I imagine it would takes lots of practice while hungry for me to eat offal and other bits of animals.

  43. Bison liver in pyrex at 280 degrees F for 45 minutes. 1.5 pounds of it, once a week after the squat workout, with broccoli, mashed yams, and strawberries for dessert.

    I’ve worked hard to learn to like it, and it does make me feel pretty darn good for the following 36 hours.

    Hopefully that’s all the offal I’ll ever need.

  44. And here I was feeling SOOOOO adventurous for buying a package of lamb osso bucco at Costco today! I’m still struggling to convince myself I will taste the marrow…

    (Have y’all ever seen Tom Naughton’s daughters eating marrow on YouTube? It’s called “Paleo Girls” and it’s very funny and it makes me *really* want to try marrow.

    I’m gonna cook the lamb tomorrow in the Sous Vide Demi (also on sale at Costco!) and then do my best to try the marrow… It MUST taste good, or these little girls wouldn’t be raving about it, right? Right? Right?
    (I hope?)

    1. I made my young daughters watch that before I put marrow on the table for the first time to ensure they’d give it a try.

    2. It just testes like non-dense fat, I like it, but there is no special flavor, nothing weird.

  45. To all those who are interested in trying to incorporate more offal into their diets but don’t know quite what do do with whatever they buy, I highly recommend The Fifth Quarter: An Offal Cookbook by Anissa Helou. I don’t think it is 100% primal but substitutions would be quite simple. It is an exhaustive cookbook for offal with every bit of an animal you can imagine. Give it a try!

  46. While reading this post I was imagining Mark’s kitchen piling up higher and higher with all the ‘nasty bits.’

    Might look like a crazy killer was on the loose.

  47. I’m Peruvian, so I’ve eaten my share of tasty offal. My favourite is beef liver, followed by beef heart (we marinate and grill them in skewers, they’re called anticuchos and are delicious). For some weird reason I stopped liking tripe a while ago but your post has reminded me that I should give it another go. Now that I live in Sydney is not that easy to find offal but once in a while I come across some tasty bits.

  48. Wow – I’m sure these are all fine but I haven’t the primal fortitude yet to manage some these interesting bits. And I know it’s due to my totally sheltered experience of buying neatly sliced and packaged meats. I made a purchase of meats online and I believe I mistakenly ordered chicken necks…still don’t have any idea what to do with them so this post is pretty “inspiring”. Thanks for keeping it interesting and for keep it real! 🙂

    1. It is usually made into soup or gravy, there is a lot of connective tissue.

  49. I spent the past Saturday at an Asian supermarket and a Greek butcher shop. my haul was sheep heart, liver and kidneys and the omental fat around these organs. (I rendered the fat for cooking). Beef tripe, beef sweet breads (thymus?). I plan on eating offal once per week. I passed on the whole rabbit and sheep heads , just not enough room in the freezer.

  50. I grew up eating tripe, tongue, oxtails, beef and pig feet, pig ears, pig snouts, blood, intestines, gallbladder contents, lamb eyeballs, cheeks, heart, pig stomach, lungs, sweetbreads, brain, etc.
    I would eat tripe and oxtails as my last meal on earth 🙂
    The animals that I are the offal from were freshly butchered by my dad 🙂

  51. I love haggis — I just hope the benefit of eating stomach, heart, liver and lungs outweighs the cost of eating the oatmeal that it contains.

  52. We had cold (beef) tongue on our big ass salad for lunch. Cut them out of the heads myself last time we killed a couple of steers at home… yummm.

  53. Yeah, I’m good!!! Gonna stick to the lean. This reads like an episode of Fear Factor…lol.

  54. I really want to eat the nasty bits, but have a tough time getting past the taste and texture. While I try to acquire the taste, I take my offal in pill form – Uniliver has freeze-dried grass-fed beef liver, and Dr. Ron’s [http://www.drrons.com/] has this stuff called Organ Delight, which is miscellaneous grass-fed organs. I hope to be able to bring myself to eat it for dinner someday, but at least I am getting the nutrient value right now.

  55. Blood = black pudding. YUM!
    (and yes, you can make it without the flour)

  56. This is perhaps the first post on this website that’s not for me. I can’t imagine eating most of these bits! I’m sure they’re delicious and beneficial and all that, and if they’re nice cooked and presented I may try some, but I can’t imagine cooking any of this!

  57. There’s a delicacy we make every winter that’s somewhat similar to head cheese: get some pork ears, tails, feet and skin and cook it long and slow with some veggies to make a stock. Then strain and pour that stock into a bread pan or a similar mold and let it cool down. When cool slice it up and serve with some lemon juice, garlic and pepper and maybe a boiled egg if its for breakfast.

  58. I grew up eating pretty much all this stuff…before I even knew what paleo was…

    that’s the good part of growing up in an ethnic first generation American family… 🙂

    So of course since I’ve gone paleo it’s been, in part, reclaiming my childhood…kinda a nice thing for me in many instances…

    the first time I made bone broth it felt like I was going home…mmmm…

  59. In Japan, they eat cartilage. Now, I don’t mean they’ll eat a chicken breast, and not cut off the cartilage, and eat the cartilage along with the rest of the meat. What I mean is that a bunch of people will go to a bar, and they’ll order drinks and cartilage. And then the waiter will come out with pieces of cartilage skewered on sticks. And everybody will say, “Yum! Cartilage!” and eat the cartilage.

    It was at this point that I realized that I was indeed a stranger in a strange land.

    It doesn’t taste bad, really, it’s just crunchier than food made from animal parts has any business being.

  60. I had my first experience with Pho soup at a Vietnamese restaurant a couple of months ago. It had tendons, tripe, some other unknown body part meat substance I can’t remember, and “beef balls”–which I thought would be meatballs but in hindsight I’m pretty sure they were not ground up meat. And I have to admit I went back 2 nights later and had the same meal. Good stuff.

  61. I like liver and bacon a lot and we eat it once a week.
    Fry the bacon with sliced onions till brownish and almost crispy, then sloosh some medium sherry or any other sweetish wine to clean out the pan. Keep warm while you fry slices of liver in butter. When cooked add to onions and bacon and enjoy!

  62. You haven’t lived until you’ve actually cut into a raw cow tongue–you instantly sympathize with the cow, and stick your own tongue out in response.

    I bought one frozen, hoping to use it in a batch of homemade cat food. After some tough cutting, I got it in there.

    THEN, after going to the web to find out how to properly use the darned thing, I learned you can cook it and peel it to make the cutting easier.

    Tongue meat is supposed to be the tastiest, tenderest cut of the cow, but I have yet to find out for myself: alas, I haven’t been able to get ahold of another tongue (giggle).

    When I do, the next one’s FOR ME–screw the cats! Let ’em eat liver, kidney, and heart.

    Brain is on my Christmas wish list–the edible kind, not the social kind (and not a zombie anywhere). Out here on the East Coast, organs are in high demand, so getting them is hit-and-miss.

    1. Once you boil the tongue for about 40 minutes or so and peel it, you can press it into a bowl or loaf pan and when it cools you can slice it easily, dress up the surrounds and serve it at a party. Don’t tell anyone what it is…

  63. Does black pudding count as blood?
    http://listas.terra.com.ar/system/items/000/000/221/medium/morcilla.jpg?1256591422

    “Chinchulines” and “molleja” slowly roasted on a BBQ are delicious. I’d much rather eat them than meat, even though we have excellent meat here.

    here you have some photos of chinchulines
    http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=es&biw=1181&bih=890&tbm=isch&oq=chinchulines+&aq=f&aqi=&gs_upl=16772l17938l0l18151l7l6l0l0l0l0l341l341l3-1l1l0&safe=on&q=chinchulines

    and here some mollejas…. my mouth is watering already.

    http://www.saboresdelsur-web.com.ar/index_archivos/mollejas_ternera_cocidas.jpg

    http://listas.terra.com.ar/system/items/000/000/226/medium/mollejas.jpg?1256591424

  64. Speaking of barbacoa, I lived in Corpus Christi, TX, where my across-the-street neighbor would put a skinned cow head (minus the eyes) on his BBQ grill. It looked really weird with smoke billowing from its eye sockets…almost like it hit super-sonic speed, lost all its skin and eyes, and came to a smoking stop on this guy’s grill.

    He’d do this weekly. I (thankfully) was on his wife’s homemade tamale gift list, and one son’s hunting carcass share list.

    Ever has an entire deer leg in your freezer–from hip joint to hoof? Talk about waste not!

  65. there is no way in hell I’d eat feet- I find my own feet gross- lol.. shivers- some of the others- maybe but the feet- I’d have to be starving/ in the middle of the Apocalypse.. just saying

  66. I haven’t tried any of these yet, although I have seen tripe, pig’s feet and cow tail at my local meat dealer. By the way, I want to thank you Mark for turning me on to beef heart, (chicken) liver and home-made bone stock. I’ve been making all three after your post on offal a while back and I love all three. Lemon juice with some pepper and salt in it makes for an excellent dip (for heart or liver), by the way.

  67. Chicken gizzards are popular in Korea. Stir fry them with peppers, garlics, onions, salt and spices.

  68. I recently went home to a family feast and had beaver feet and tail, porcupine and whale. I ate it all, but a bit rich for my stomach. The beaver and whale, especially had very high fat content.

  69. I am fascinated by everyone’s comments. I was not raised with any offal, save liver and did NOT like it as a kid. Just got some from my grass fed beef guys and will give it an honest try. Probably mixed into a meatloaf. I’m going to stretch my tastebuds this next year. Proud of myself for having beef tongue at a Basque restaurant last week.

  70. When I was a kid we ate chicken hearts & gizzards a lot! I love to boil them a bit and then either toss right away with melted butter or saute with butter and garlic.
    We raise our own chicken and turkeys, but a friend slaughters. The first group came back and I said “Hey where are all the hearts & gizzards?”. He did not think I looked like the “type” to want them. LOL!
    He actually gets good money selling the feet.

  71. Liver cooks quickly. When over-cooked, it becomes tough and almost inedible – this is the usual reason for hating liver.

    1. Good to know.. my mom admitted to me as an adult she was a terrible cook, now I know why I couldn’t stand the liver and could barely chew it!! She just overcooked the stuff!

  72. For those of you that want to branch out a bit, but are leery of diving in head first, I recommend smoked turkey tails if you can find them.
    Being smoked, they’re obviously pre-cooked and only require being heated up. In my opinion, they’re the most delicious part of the turkey. They’re rich, and fatty, but certainly not too fatty. It’s about 90% edible meat (with the remainder being the tail itself). I’ve seen them priced between $1.99-$2.99/lb, which for minimal bone loss, is quite good.
    They require no sauce. Please, try these! You can thank me (and Mark) later.

    Cheers,
    Nick

  73. Offal’s kind of like a staple at our house. I grew up on tripe, gizzards, and feet. Yum! :9

  74. I absolutely love this post. So many great ideas on how to cook offal. I haven’t tried all of these animal parts yet, but I now know how to cook them if I ever find some of the more ‘hard-ti-find’ items. Definitely need to be making friends with local butchers.

    I am surprised by how many long-live former vegans and vegetarians visited this post. That’s pretty bave of you guys:) I’m proud of ya!

    Next month I’m planning on starting elimination diet and I will be making and eating a lot of bone broth’s and trying to get as much fatty parts of meat in it as I can. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. One thing I’m most excited to try is ox-tail. I imagine it’s going to be so tender, sticky and flavorful that I will die and go to heaven after I eat it.

    1. Thanks for the praise! I was just thinking the same thing as you. This post has been a delight to read, well when I want retching HA!

  75. We love turkey tails, but we call them pooters. “Hey, pass me one of those pooters, please.”

  76. I have eaten weird items at my Mexican neighbors house, and really it wasn’t bad at all, but for me I am going to at least branch out and buy some beef trim at my local grass fed farm, I would really like to learn to make my own nutritious broth at home, whether it is using chicken parts or beef… this really interests me. My mouth gets weak looking at the other stuff, whenever I pass chicken feet at a grocery it makes me queasy.. hopefully one day I will give it a try. 🙂

  77. I’ve wanted to try lots of offal and whatnot for a while, particularly brain(I’ve eaten it from crayfish and a lobster but I couldn’t really taste a difference from the rest of the meat).
    I’ve had liver a number of times and think its ok. It’s nutrititous and cheap and makes a decent meal slow-cooked with onions.
    A few months ago I was living on the street and ran out of protein so I “caught” and ate some clam-like creatures(I thought they were clams, my friend said oysters, I looked up both and I don’t know what they were.. they look like dark brown, oval clams) from a river a few times and they made interesting meals. I boiled them and at first opened them up and bit right into them, a couple times ending up with a mouthful of pungent, mushy, greenish-brown stuff that I think must have been the filter part containing partially digested plant matter or algae. It was gross so I ended up just eating the outside flaps and discarding most of the body, but I used some of the broth for a soup on the side with raw fresh tomatoes, olive oil, spices, and olives, which was alright. The flaps tasted decent and seemed to be a good, rich protein source. They were tough and chewy.
    When I lived with a few cats they used to bring their dead rodents back to the house and sometimes just leave them and I wish I had tried cooking some. I didn’t consider it until recently but I bet there would be some benefit, if only that it’s a free meal.
    This summer I’ll probably do a lot of fishing and maybe some hunting and trapping because I want to try to live off the land more (I’ve really just scratched the surface) and eat a varied, natural diet.

  78. Besides pâté, my favorite preparation of liver is Lebanese style. I recommend it to anyone who wants to give liver a try for the first time. It’s basically sautéed chicken liver that has been marinating in garlic, lime and mint the previous night. The lime kills the “liver flavour” for newbies.

    And as for pâté, not all pâtés are created equal. There are dozens of varieties and styles. I love pâté, but have also had a lot of bad ones. Hint: it shouldn’t taste metallic or bloody. Don’t let one bad experience ruin it for you. Try again.

  79. Awesome post…I live in madrid where there are local butchers in a market, and then there are the “odd bit” guys that sell only that. All of the above is easily come by. Haven’t tried it all, but mostly for lack of experience in how to handle. One of my favorites: roasted, crunchy chicken tails…delicious, delicious chicken crispy fat.

  80. I’m surprised, with all this talk about offal, that no one has mentioned chitterlings (pork intestine). Or maybe they have and I just missed it. Thoroughly cleaned, slow cooked with spices, onion and lots of apple cider vinegar and hot sauce. Also putting ham hocks in my greens and a big slab of ribs, it’s my New Years meal! I used to limit this to once a year (yearly indulgence) But now I am actually looking forward to having this throughout the year!

  81. I’m also surprised. Cow’s intestines (“Chinchulines”) are great. Cow’s salival glands (“mollejas”) such a delicacy that you can get hooked on them. They are quite fatty and have a very delicate taste, nothing like you imagine.

    You can google both terms and find links to uruguayan and argentinian pages and photos. They are served in restaurants and cooked at home in our BBQs.

    Grok would be proud!

  82. I used to cook with blood regularly until I moved on campus at uni.
    They thought I was strange for eating my steak bleu. I’d hate to think what they would have said if i’d continued cooking with blood.

  83. stew pig feet is a Chinese dish.

    they also make amazing broth (lot’s of gel).

  84. My favorite offal at the moment is book tripe, the omasum. I buy it at the Asian Market for 2.75/lb, cleaned, partially cooked. There is no odor to this at all. I slice it thin like noodles. After boiling in salted water for 5-8 minutes, I rinse it to cool it. Mixed with veggies as a cold salad, it’s hard to tell it’s tripe. It has a crunchiness that is more like vegetable and even looks more like a veg. No strong taste or odor. Great source of protein. Great with any type of dressing or sauce. Thinking about using this tripe in place of pasta for marinara. Also would be good in stir fry.

    The other tripe, the rumen, I use for other more typical tripe dishes. I don’t care for honeycomb tripe at all.

  85. I am having trouble finding most of these items from grass-fed sources. 🙁
    I have tried calling various butchers, but have been told that USDA inspected facilities are not allowed to sell most of these items.

    Where do you buy them?! I am dying to try beef feet and tripe. The tendon also looks awesome for soup…

  86. for the bison tails (uncut) do we HAVE to cut them up? or can we crockpot them whole?

  87. My grandparents ate cow brains with scrambled eggs and cow tongue and had chicken feet to make for soup “~

  88. Just made my first batch of chicken stock with feet — Oh wow! Incredible depth of flavor! So rich and velvety! I’ll never make stock without them again.

  89. It’s a very good article…reading all those part came with nutritional explanation. I’m Indonesian, which is very familiar with those you’ve written above. But we just ate them without thinking about the nutrition, only the joy of eating the taste when they are turning into a tasty meal. We use it all, from head to toe (including tail) in our cooking. From fish to cow. Even the skin from fish & cow, we can turn into chips for snack 🙂 We have so many recipes that turns them into a tasty food

  90. I’d like to know what nutritional value – if any – eating tendon could provide?

  91. Pickled chicken feet and duck feet prepared in pressure cooker with vinegar, seasonings and salt. You end up with lots of gelatinous collagen too. Great with a cold brew and they really creep people out if they’re not into eating weird stuff. That’s ok. More for me!!! LOL

  92. Makes me hungry. These are all available at asia. Usually at night markets…or at random streets.

  93. For those with damaged hips and other joints (and for your pet dogs -cats?) eat ligaments/tendons daily. However, there is a catch.
    We’ve both been eating bone broth with cooked ligaments/tendons with some admirable improvement to our hip joints. Then I began giving the things raw to my elderly dog and within days she could walk longer and could get up and down stairs as well as in her younger days. I haven’t had to carry her home once in three months now nor have to carry her up and down stairs.

    So I took a chance and began eating the things raw myself. I butcher them quite thin with my cleaver for quicker ingestion (taking care not to slip and cut my fingers) and then I just gulp about an inch or so’s worth down twice a day. They have no taste. It’s like eating elastic bands.

    Amazingly within three or four days the pain in my hip disappeared. I always have some pain there and sharp pain when I am not careful in walking; at night, when I turned in bed, I was often woken by the sharp pain. I have had no such pain in going on two months, no wakeful nights either. Then last week I was negligent and didn’t take any for three or four days. The pain began to return. Won’t be doing that again. These rubbery guys are lifers.

    There must be something in the natural glucosamine or whatever is in this food when it is not cooked that is healing our hip joints or at least extinguishing pain. Thirty + years of suffering seems over, and though I still walk with a limp, it seems less so, though I have to have that verified from another’s point of view.

    An curious aside: I was told in ’98 that I’d have to have a complete hip replacement within five years. I’d just finished trying Dr Ornish’s diet for four months. I’d gained forty pounds (I am stubborn; he claimed weight gain might be a problem but then it would come down but there was ups but no downs, Dr O.) and my specs had gone through the roof—triglycerides were at the high danger level. That is when I tried the Atkins’ like diet of D’Adamo’s “O” type. I tend to use my body as my laboratory.

    Also, I can’t have wheat. I found that out on Dr D’Adamo’s diet for O blood fifteen years ago. I lost about 80% of the excruciating pain avoiding wheat completely.

  94. After being a non-meat eater for 26 years (though enthusiastic fish/shellfish eater), I started wanting liver last year, which I used to love. Have just moved to France, which has plenty of offal; gizzards everywhere, though I haven’t tried them yet. Feet of all kinds, beef heart, pig throat (?), you name it. If you don’t like liver, I suggest soaking it for a little while in milk first, as my mum used to do, then patting it dry before shallow frying. When I lived in Italy we used to have it sliced wafer-thin, dredged in seasoned flour, and flash-fried in a little olive oil, finished off with a dash of dry sherry and a squeeze of lemon juice. Crunchy and delicious morsels, yum. Now I don’t use flour, but it still works without. It works without the sherry, too! Don’t overcook liver, or you might as well be eating shoe-leather. I suggest always slicing it thin, as a chunk of it will tend to overcook round the edges and undercook in the middle, a nasty combo. I hope people are still reading all these posts about offal, though the thread started in 2011. Lots of goodies to be had!

  95. One thing about living in France is that although the beef seems to be mostly grass fed, the packaging doesn’t say so (maybe that’s just assumed?), and also I can’t find out how their pigs are raised. I hate any kind of battery farming, plus all processed pig products (in every country) seem to have loads of additives, so I avoid pig. If anyone has info about pig-rearing in France, please share! In the UK, Tesco had outdoor-raised pork, but again, I didn’t know what the animals ate – grass? Grains? America may have diet problems, but it also seems to have plenty of information about this kind of thing, and even if it’s expensive, you can, apparently, source grass-fed animals.

  96. Beefs tails are a blast! One of my favorite slow-cooking dishes ever. Mostly for cold winters nights. They take several hours to cook properly, but then the meat is perfectly delicious and the marrow! Oh my, I would cook it just for the marrow.

    I usually cook them with some red wine and cubed vegetables (leek, carrot, parsnips, onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, …). When ready to serve I blend the veggies and there you have a brothy, tasty thick sauce. Drizzle the whole thing with chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic and serve as is or with mash. The marrow is also good smeared on toasted bread and sprinkled with a bit of salt to taste.