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How to Prepare Offal Meats
Today I have a guest post for you from Beth Smith via Rumba Meats. It just so happened that when Beth contacted me about submitting a post on; “How to Prepare Offal Meats Delicious and Unique Recipes,” I had just made for the very first time, Beef Tongue in the crock-pot. I didn’t know until I did some research, that Beef Tongue is used to make Tacos de Lengua. A popular breakfast dish served in Cuba, Mexico and Latin American cuisines.
Beautiful, Delectable Beef Organs
Beautiful, delectable beef organs. That may not be the first thought you had when you woke up this morning. Or even the first item you put on your weekly grocery list. However, a look at historic cookbooks will reveal an abundance of offal meat recipes (offal is simply the name for organ and entrail meat, and can also be referred to as variety meat). And they are definitely making a comeback.
Preventing Food Waste, Expanding Culinary Horizons
Never before has food waste been so prevalent. Waste practices affects every cuisine category. In the protein industry, for example, a good percentage of meat is discarded before its cut and sold to consumers. This includes perfectly good – and nutritious – meat such as organs and tail. However, these animal parts are becoming more and more popular for consumption, and are even considered a delicacy among some groups.
Other places, these types of meat never went out of style. Take Hispanic cuisine, for example. Tripe and oxtail have been consistently used in traditional dishes, especially those used for special occasions. Let’s take a look at some of these and discuss how to prepare these kinds of meats.
Oxtail: Tender to the Max
Oxtails are exactly like what they sound like. Traditionally the tail of an ox, it can really come from any animal. Tails have a lot of bones and fat. There’s a relatively small amount of meat on the tail. But once it is extracted, it has the potential for some of the best meat you’ve ever had. Oxtail has an incredibly tender, rich flavor when prepared the right way. Collagen, connective tissue from muscle to bones, make oxtail extremely tough and chewy.
But when cooked slowly, the collagen breaks down to become gelatin-like and turns it extremely tender and juicy. Oxtails have a very rich flavor. The best way to prepare the tail is, first, cut away the excess fat. Then cook the meat by braising it. To braise, sear the meat then slow cook it on the stove or in a crock pot, like in this Slow Cooker Oxtail Stew. Or try this traditional Hispanic Southern Oxtail Stew recipe.
Nutritious Tripe with 2 Varieties
Tripe is another type of offal meat. This one comes from the stomach lining of different animals. While it may initially sound off putting, tripe is an excellent lean meat that provides many nutritional benefits. There are two main types of tripe, smooth and honeycomb. These vary based on the part of the stomach they come from. Tripe is typically very muscular and can be rubbery unless cooked properly. But before you can cook it, you first have to think about cleaning it.
Because it comes from the animal’s stomach, the meat must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any potential germs that might remain from their previous meals. Therefore, it is often soaked in chlorine to remove germs, giving it a pale almost white color. If you don’t want your food to smell or taste like bleach, you’ll have to soak it and clean it thoroughly first. The best way to do this is to rinse in cold water. Then cook it in salty water by itself.
Tripe must be thoroughly cooked, so at this point it’s best to go ahead and either boil it for a couple hours or simmer it for up to 10 hours. Now it should be ready to go. Once it’s been properly cleaned, you can use tripe a multitude of different ways. With its mild flavor, tripe has all kinds of possibilities. Try these tripas tacos or this menudo recipe. Menudo is a delicious, traditional Hispanic dish known for ability to help with hangovers.
Tongue: Packed with Flavor
Beef tongue’s unique appearance ensures no one mistakes it for anything else. Once you get past the idea, tongue is a delicious meat. Tongue is another surprising meat with a tender and delicious flavor. To prepare tongue, you must first cut away the excess fat. Like our other non-traditional meats, tongue must be slow-cooked to get the desired tenderness. After a long slow simmer, peel away the tough outer layer. Then you can cut the meat and fry it for some authentic beef tongue tacos.
Offal Meats Offer Something for Everyone
It’s clear that variety meats have a lot to offer, including reducing food waste, nutrition and amazing flavor. Many stay away from these types of meat because they’re unfamiliar. But armed with the right information, anyone can cook a delicious offal meal. And, by doing so, contribute to a more sustainable ecosystem, a healthier lifestyle, and a broader culinary sphere.
Written by Beth Smith