beef offal – intro
Organ meat? Yuck. Bwerck. Barf.
Those are just a few responses one hears when saying what’s for dinner.
And yet, organ meat is just as nutritious – if not more – than the body muscles.
- Head meat is one of those lesser known cuts.
- Calf’s head used to be an extremely popular dish a century ago in the US, with dozens of recipes in every cookbook. Nowadays, it seems nearly impossible to find a whole head.
- Look in the frozen meat section if it is not available fresh.
Head meat is used to make head cheeses, soups and sausages. It has a lot of connective tissue and requires long moist cooking to become tender, and by then it tastes pretty much like a rump stew.
- I've bought it a few times, backed away from it because it seems all they put in there nowadays are the saliva glands. I use pure beef tongue now.
- Heart and tongue are both pure muscle, but very different in texture and flavor.
- Heart is extra lean and a slightly chewy. It is often sold already sliced, but you can ask for a whole one for stuffing and roasting.
- The tongue is fatty and butter-soft. It comes either whole or cut in two or more large pieces.
Pan-fry, roast or stew heart. Always boil or slow-cook the tongue.
- Liver is a strange one. Some people love it. Even more hate it.
It is sold thinly sliced. Sear it like a thin steak for best flavor. Don’t overcook this one.
- Blood: see under meat soups, although it is also used to make sausages and other dishes.
- Brain: tastes creamy and delicious. Poach and deep- or pan-fry.
Unfortunately, brains are no longer readily available because of mad cow disease.
- Fat: can be rendered and used for deep-frying. It can be salted and used for food preservation.
- Intestines: can be used to make sausages. In other dishes they can be boiled, grilled, pan-fried.
- Kidneys: Very high in cholesterol and uric acid. Boil, sauté after boiling.
- Lungs: boil, sauté
- Skin: cook in fat to make cracklings
- Sweetbreads = pancreas and thymus: poach and deep- or pan-fry.
Very similar to brains in appearance and texture.
- Testicles: aka Rocky Mountain oysters. Boil, grill, fry. Chewy.
- Tendons & ligaments: boil in soup for added flavor. Not particularly edible.
- Tripe / stomach: menudo a.o. dishes. Boil and fry after boiling.