4

votes

Please rank your offal preferences, according to taste

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 27, 2011 at 4:52 AM

I'm an offal newbie, and plan to very slowly work my way down the list after the liver pate phase. What offal have you tried, in what form, and what does your offal ranking list look like?

Also, do you eat offal because it's healthy or because you just love the taste so much?

2564c814ad9931c834ae092e1ef069fb

(231)

on August 04, 2013
at 09:53 PM

For liver, I suggest barely cooking it. It tastes way better rare and I absolutely cannot eat it if it's not pink inside. Add onions, of course. You can add bacon too. And fry it in something tasty like coconut oil or lard. If you eat carbs i imagine you can mash it up and spread it on some toast or cracker.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:19 PM

theyre more like scrambled eggs than pudding. really not bad at all, i ate them as a child with no problems, but my Mom made them *with* actual scrambled eggs and so it was a very monotone meal. I want to try them again. If you like bone marrow, you may LOVe brains done right, I mean, come on, its all fat.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:17 PM

ok well thanks anyways, i bought some beef spleen once, thawd it and realized it was GIGANTIC and i had no idea what to do with it. ASked around, but no one seemed to know.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:15 PM

oh come on. i bet Amelie could eat it. i bet Amelie DID eat kidneys.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 10:02 PM

you can also soak liver and kidneys and such in milk for a bit, that also reduces the farmyard taste.

1bc18852894dad9d6dddfb3dfed49ab3

(341)

on May 04, 2011
at 07:00 PM

i'm sorry i don't have any spleen recipes, i eat organs raw, i only eat cooked brains, eyes, and testicles. raw spleen tastes very bloody. beef spleen and deer spleen have very different taste.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:28 PM

keep in mind this food can be absolutely delicious, like a *real* treat.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Paul, have you made it to the Bristol yet?

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:15 PM

http://www.offalgood.com/blog/recipes/recipe-for-beef-heart

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:00 PM

agreed on the newbie tongue and heart suggestion and the marrow bit, but the definition of offal here seems to be a bit broad. How do you prepare spleen, btw?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Wow, you went through all the organs! Well, except for the uterus. Good answer. I'll see you and sherpamelissa at dinner...

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Well, I'm not a very good cook. My girlfriend on the other hand .... Tonight we're having a whole red snapper (as a side dish). We'll see you at 9 ....

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I am very interested in starting to eat offal, but a little afraid of learning what to buy/cook. I think you should just have me over for dinner. ;)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:38 AM

I think Matthew is right. I don't think I've ever seen brain referred to as sweetbread. It's usually thymus in my experience. It's getting kind of trendy in restaurants ...

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Yes, the only way I can make liver palatable is to cook it with lots of mushrooms, onion, butter, and sherry...then it's ok, but there is so little liver in there that I need to eat several portions a day to get a decent amount :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 27, 2011
at 10:21 PM

To avoid blowing chunks, I guess I should stay away from kidneys for a while.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 27, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Sweetbreads are brains......

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 27, 2011
at 03:58 PM

Sweetbreads are the thymus glands and/or pancreas.

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on March 27, 2011
at 02:56 PM

i always thought sweetbreads were brains

Medium avatar

(3029)

on March 27, 2011
at 08:20 AM

Eating liver pate with onion jam as I read this. Onion jam is a great counterpoint to the liver taste.

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15 Answers

4
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:02 AM

There seems to be some kind of anti-liver bias on our website. What's going on here everybody? [Teasing.]

I love, love, love beef liver. In fact, I generally make myself eat it less than I otherwise would because I was influenced by a Stephan post from a while back. He compares liver to other foods in terms of copper content and after finding that it pretty much exceeds the others by a factor of ten, he concludes:

Note that beef liver is off the chart at 488 percent of the USDA recommended daily allowance. I don't know if you'd want to sit down and eat a quarter pound of beef liver, but you get the picture. Beef liver is nature's multivitamin: hands down the Most Nutritious Food in the World. That's because it acts as a storage depot for a number of important micronutrients, as well as being a biochemical factory that requires a large amount of B vitamins to function. You can see that muscle tissue isn't a great source of copper compared to other organs, and this holds true for other micronutrients as well.

Beef liver is so full of micronutrients, it shouldn't be eaten every day. Think of it in terms of the composition of a cow's body. The edible carcass is mostly muscle, but a significant portion is liver. I think it makes sense to eat some form of liver about once per week.

I even eat my beef liver straight up, just fried in butter or tallow, and still raw/rare in the center.

Rest of my answer: I also like kidney, but beef kidney I find so-so and lamb kidney a lot tastier. Could have been some sampling error there.

Tongue I don't really consider an organ meat. As "aaa" pointed out below, it's really just another muscle, which makes me wonder if there's really anything in there that's not in other muscle cuts of meat (again, see my Stephan quote).

Sweetbreads are delicious, and I don't think it's just because they're usually fried in something delicious. I really think that the thymus gland does taste a little bit sweet, and that that's the origin of the name.

Bone marrow, of course, but there is the dispute about whether that counts.

Most of the other ones I guess I've never tried. But I would try anything and wouldn't be surprised if I get the chance soon; organ meats are all the rage at Chicago restaurants right now. (I assume it's just following some New York trend, but there might also be some genuine Chicago roots in there too, since we are the city of meat.) I'm especially interested in brains because of all the speculation about them in the paleo narrative.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Well, I'm not a very good cook. My girlfriend on the other hand .... Tonight we're having a whole red snapper (as a side dish). We'll see you at 9 ....

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I am very interested in starting to eat offal, but a little afraid of learning what to buy/cook. I think you should just have me over for dinner. ;)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Wow, you went through all the organs! Well, except for the uterus. Good answer. I'll see you and sherpamelissa at dinner...

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Paul, have you made it to the Bristol yet?

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

My top 3 are probably calve's liver, chicken livers, and properly prepared tripe. If tongue and bone marrow count, I'd add those. I like heart too (venison, beef, or pig), but it is really just a tough muscle so isn't really offal.

A trick for liver is to soak it in lemon juice for about 30 minutes before cooking it, this cuts out many of the "off" flavors and also helps to expel any residual toxins that might be present. Fried in bacon grease or lard and left medium-pink in the middle it is delicious.

I agree with what the previous poster said about liver being nature's multi-vitamin. I get liver cravings at least a few times a year, and it is the only dish that, about halfway through a portion, I feel that "kapow" of satiety, I just feel that my body is rapidly absorbing the nutrients.

Chicken livers are so absurdly easy to prepare, and cheap, that they should be in the heavy rotation. You can make a pate in literally a few minutes by sauteeing them with onions, garlic, a bay leaf, maybe some other spices, and giving it a whirl in the food pro. This goes particularly well with raspberry jelly (unsweetened of course).

Tripe when it is well prepared is one of my all time favorite foods, if done right it tastes like perfectly al dente noodles (but without the yucky starches). When not so well done, it tastes like rubber. Preparing and cooking it is both labor intensive and stinky, so I try to find it when I go out. Of course ethnic restaurants are the only way to go because lame Americans don't eat it.

I like kidneys well enough but even with perfect preparation they smell and taste faintly of urine.

I was in Chinatown recently and ordered something billed as "crispy pig intestine". I was hoping for something along the lines of cracklins, but it turns out it was the (too-) briefly fried LOWER intestine of the pig. Yep, it smelled and tasted faintly of pig poop, and was chewy and rubbery to boot. Don't think I'll be ordering that one again.

If you're a fan of the offal you have to check out this blog, she has some great preparations of brain, kidney, sweetbreads and pig face (yep, pig face):

http://wildernesschilde.blogspot.com/2011/03/brain-teasers.html

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 10:02 PM

you can also soak liver and kidneys and such in milk for a bit, that also reduces the farmyard taste.

2
Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:59 PM

in order of like from most to least:

bone marrow with sea salt, pates, heart (seared rare), trotters (hard to find but great if well made.. the definition of unctuous), crispy pig's tail, headcheese, lamb or veal kidneys, mexican style tripe soup (menudo) with lime (my Mom always made tripe soup and I was never a fan until i had a good Mexican style version), chicken livers sauteed with shallots and parsley deglazed with a splash of brandy (yum!), sweetbreads, brains (they're ok, i want to give them another shot), beef liver, other kinds of kidneys.

If you want to try kidneys, i'd recommend starting with lamb and you could try a deviled kidney recipe. Lamb kidneys are mild in flavor and I like them very much, but the deviled recipe will make them more beginner friendly.

edit: i can say almost all offal I eat it because I genuinely think it's delicious (i have eaten some that I got for free that isn't top of my list, like pork kidneys or beef liver). But then again, I'm a pretty decent cook and I know what to do with it. That makes a big, big difference. Chris Cosentino's blog "Offal Good" is a great resource. Amazing recipe for heart and he shows you how to trim it properly in a video, which is nice.

2
Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on March 27, 2011
at 05:12 PM

Newbies should start with muscle organs, tongue and heart, those are very similar to meat. Then try liver, it is the most tolerated non-muscle organ. If you can stomach liver then you can try kidneys, spleen, brains. I don't consider marrow an organ, more like fat source.

Testicles taste good but it's a mental thing.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:00 PM

agreed on the newbie tongue and heart suggestion and the marrow bit, but the definition of offal here seems to be a bit broad. How do you prepare spleen, btw?

1bc18852894dad9d6dddfb3dfed49ab3

(341)

on May 04, 2011
at 07:00 PM

i'm sorry i don't have any spleen recipes, i eat organs raw, i only eat cooked brains, eyes, and testicles. raw spleen tastes very bloody. beef spleen and deer spleen have very different taste.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:17 PM

ok well thanks anyways, i bought some beef spleen once, thawd it and realized it was GIGANTIC and i had no idea what to do with it. ASked around, but no one seemed to know.

2
C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on March 27, 2011
at 02:02 PM

In order, my favorites:

Chicken liver mousse

beef or lamb heart fried in bacon grease

lamb or pork tongue

pork spleen wrapped in bacon

bone marrow

I would eat all these things even if not healthy, they are delicious. I force myself to eat beef liver occasionally. I'm still searching for that magical way to eat liver and make it palatable. Chicken liver is a whole different story, I love em. Bone marrow is extra delicious, but it's at the bottom of my list b/c it's not the same without some sourdough toast points or french bread to counter that gooey fatty goodness. I'll add it to soups sometimes, but it's not the same.

Heart has possibly the least organy flavor of all, you can pan fry it like steak and it's quite good.

I brought home some goat organs not too long ago from a friend's farm, including the kidneys, thought I'd give it a try. The stuff smelled like a public men's room, there was no way it was happening!

2564c814ad9931c834ae092e1ef069fb

(231)

on August 04, 2013
at 09:53 PM

For liver, I suggest barely cooking it. It tastes way better rare and I absolutely cannot eat it if it's not pink inside. Add onions, of course. You can add bacon too. And fry it in something tasty like coconut oil or lard. If you eat carbs i imagine you can mash it up and spread it on some toast or cracker.

2
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 27, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Liver pate is ok. I dilute it a lot. Kidneys are gross, not even worth it. Heart is ok, I cooked a curry which was good because it disguised the taste a bit. Bone marrow, if it counts, is amazing. So so good. Tongue is good as long as you don't know what it is beforehand :).

I will never, ever try brains. They are apparently soft and pudding like.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:19 PM

theyre more like scrambled eggs than pudding. really not bad at all, i ate them as a child with no problems, but my Mom made them *with* actual scrambled eggs and so it was a very monotone meal. I want to try them again. If you like bone marrow, you may LOVe brains done right, I mean, come on, its all fat.

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on March 27, 2011
at 06:31 PM

In my experience so far, marrow is great and sucks up the flavor of whatever you cook it in. I just had calves liver yesterday and it was surprisingly sweet and subtle. Still tasted of liver so you have to be able to get over that.

I'm of scottish heritage so I'm used to the taste of offal like kidney, but it really is something you have to acclimate yourself to. You're not going to be able to overnight eat it that's for sure.

1
Medium avatar

on March 27, 2011
at 06:13 PM

I eat 1/4lb of lamb liver 2x a week and had to douse it in hot sauce or mustard at first, but now I just eat it straight. On non-liver days, I usually eat 1-2 lamb kidneys, and I really must say that they smell like piss. I guess that shouldn't surprise me. The taste is fine, but if you smell it...yikes.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 27, 2011
at 10:21 PM

To avoid blowing chunks, I guess I should stay away from kidneys for a while.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:15 PM

oh come on. i bet Amelie could eat it. i bet Amelie DID eat kidneys.

1
91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

on March 27, 2011
at 04:48 PM

In order of preference? Bone marrow, beef liver, chicken liver. I've eaten linguas (beef tongue) in tacos in the past and liked it; I have two beef tongues in my freezer that I'm going to cook soon (some day? LOL). I've also eaten menudo, a Mexican stew made with beef tripe and hominy. I could take or leave the tripe - it tastes all right, I suppose, but has the texture of rubber bands.

Haven't eaten heart or kidney, but since I've got them in my freezer, I will. Eventually. :P

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:15 PM

http://www.offalgood.com/blog/recipes/recipe-for-beef-heart

1
2cdd1c775683f760390d80cdb984fc13

on March 27, 2011
at 03:55 PM

Bone marrow is AMAZING! Find a good recipe for Osso Bucco (veal or beef cross-cut shanks) and make it in the crockpot all day. Serve it over spaghetti squash. One of my favorite meals.

Sweetbreads are also great. Preparation should be kept simple- coat with egg and a little almond flour and lightly saute in butter.

For most offal, I would suggest finding a very authentic Mexican restaurant (not a chain). These restaurants often serve street-style tacos with tongue (Lengua) and you can often find brain, kidney, liver and heart as well. You can just eliminate the tortilla, and they are in small portions so if you don't like something it's no big deal.

1
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on March 27, 2011
at 02:42 PM

@ Kamal, in a previous question I read you are from India. I have spent many years there, Throughout India there is a tradition to eat goat offal in curry. It is very delicious. The focus is on brain,liver, kidneys and testicles. If you have family or friends from there who know traditional cooking and if you like curry - that may be a great place to start.

1
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 27, 2011
at 01:14 PM

Bone marrow.

Fatty, delicious, have to get it out of the crevices of the bone, how could I have lived without it all my life?! - bone marrow.

1
5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 27, 2011
at 07:51 AM

Like a lot, no specific order: intestines, lungs, bone marrow, tongue, tripe (I rarely eat the first two and only in restaurants)

Like somehow: kidneys, heart, brain (rarely and only in restaurants)

Dislike but eat: liver (only cooked by myself, as I need to work very hard to disguise the taste. Ironically, the offal I eat more often)

Medium avatar

(3029)

on March 27, 2011
at 08:20 AM

Eating liver pate with onion jam as I read this. Onion jam is a great counterpoint to the liver taste.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Yes, the only way I can make liver palatable is to cook it with lots of mushrooms, onion, butter, and sherry...then it's ok, but there is so little liver in there that I need to eat several portions a day to get a decent amount :)

1
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on March 27, 2011
at 05:34 AM

Bone marrow and tongue are great, heart is good. I can??t stand liver, though. I like sweetbreads, but never tried brains or kidney.

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on March 27, 2011
at 02:56 PM

i always thought sweetbreads were brains

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 27, 2011
at 03:58 PM

Sweetbreads are the thymus glands and/or pancreas.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:38 AM

I think Matthew is right. I don't think I've ever seen brain referred to as sweetbread. It's usually thymus in my experience. It's getting kind of trendy in restaurants ...

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 27, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Sweetbreads are brains......

0
E35d651e011b3ad72d22decf79537749

(143)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:48 PM

Wow, I did not think I would be squeamish about this! I read this post cause my meat share comes with an offal bucket option - but I wasn't feeling so good by the time I read through all the answers. Guess I need to man up and start slow :)

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:28 PM

keep in mind this food can be absolutely delicious, like a *real* treat.

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