Fall in love with Offal Recipes with these 15 delicious ideas using organ meats. Whether you're a seasoned offal enthusiast or a curious beginner, these organ meat recipes will inspire you to embrace the full potential of every part of the animal and revolutionize your approach to traditional cooking. Go beyond the popular muscle meats and explore the rich flavors and nutrition of beef offal, chicken offal, and much more!
If you've been sticking to the tried-and-true world of muscle meats for all your meals, now is the time to shake things up and jump into the world of deeply flavorful (and nutritious) dishes made with organs.
Chances are, if you've made bone broth before, you've probably already used organ meats unknowingly. That's because the best bone broths derive their rich flavor and nutritional benefits from simmering bones that are often considered organ meats.
For example, good chicken broth comes from using chicken feet, backs, and necks. In order to make beef bone broth, you would need to roast the bones, exposing bone marrow. And even in the case of fish stock, you often use the whole fish, including heads and tails.
But beyond this liquid gold, organ meats have so much more to offer. Keep reading to learn why we should all be consuming more organ meats and ways to enjoy these humble and underappreciated cuts of meat.
Reasons to Make More Offal Recipes
- Nose-to-tail eating: Make the most of the whole animal, reducing waste, and honoring the traditional practice of using every part for sustenance.
- Nutrient-dense cuts: Compared to muscle meats, offal is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin B12, and zinc, providing a powerhouse of nutrients that contribute to overall well-being.
- More cost effective: A budget-friendly cut of meat that is often considered a discard, organ meats are much more affordable than prime cuts.
- Considered a delicacy: Offal dishes are now gaining recognition as a delicacy in many culinary circles, celebrated for their unique flavors and textures.
💭Make it Nutrient-Dense: For maximum nutrition, source organ meats from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals, as they tend to be richer in essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
What is Offal?
Offal meats refer to the internal organs of an animal that cultures typically consume as food. This includes organs such as liver, kidneys, heart, tongue, tripe (stomach lining), and various other parts that are not considered muscle meat.
In many culinary traditions, people revere offal as a delicacy and use them in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to sausages and pâtés. Check out some of the more common organ meats used in traditional dishes based on animals:
- Cow: beef offal includes beef cheeks, beef heart, beef tongue, beef kidneys, bone marrow (though technically not an organ cut), oxtail, beef kidneys, beef sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas glands), beef or ox spleen
- Sheep: lamb kidneys, lamb liver, lamb brains, lamb kidneys
- Poultry: any chicken offal like livers, kidneys, or other gizzards, turkey giblets, duck gizzards, chicken feet and necks
- Pork: pork belly, pork liver, pork trotters, pork intestines (many sausages often use pork intestines for casings)
💭Pro tip: Some of the more familiar organ meats are beef tongue, chicken livers, pork belly, and oxtail. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of preparing offal dishes, start with these common ones and incorporate other traditional practices and nourshing foods.
Tips for Cooking Organ Meat Recipes
- Start with fresh organ meats. Purchase organ meats from reputable local farms practicing sustainable animal husbandry for the freshest and highest quality offal. You'll learn that quality beef offal is easier to come by than chicken offal and I recommend sourcing pork organs from local farms only.
- Trim connective tissue. Some raw offal like beef hearts, chicken hearts, and liver have connective tissue or membrane that makes them too chewy. It's a good idea to trim that for smoother texture and flavor.
- Clean well. While you can get away with skipping rinsing the meat, I recommend thoroughly cleaning organ meats before cooking to remove residual blood and impurities.
- Know the cooking method. Organ meats vary in texture and flavor, so it's important to choose the appropriate cooking method. For example, you can quickly pan-fry liver while tougher cuts like tripe and tongue require slow cooking to become tender.
- Pair with bold flavors. Offal meats have distinct flavors that stand up well to bold pairings like robust sauces and tangy condiments like spicy sauerkraut.
- Season well. Some worcestershire sauce, red wine, or white wine is a great way to tone down the gaminess of beef offal. Or add a pinch of cayenne pepper to give your chicken offal some heat. You can also incorporate some creaminess into your organ meats by adding sour cream or coconut milk to cut through some of that deep flavor.
Best Offal Recipes with Liver
You can easily transform livers into a delicious spread called liver pâté. But there are other ways to enjoy them. And don't underestimate the power of grinding up livers to add to any ground meat recipe for a boost of nutrition.
Organ Recipes with Beef Tongue
Cow tongue is a hard-working muscle that requires a little TLC to achieve the best flavor and texture. But not to worry - once you nail down how to cook beef tongue properly for tender meat, you can take this beef offal to new heights with these tasty recipes.
Other Offal Recipes
Though technically, these recipes aren't made with internal organ meats, they are still made traditionally and ancestrally using whole parts of the animal, which inadvertently includes organ meats (looking at you fish head).
This is highly subjective, but some offal cuts are generally prized for their rich flavor. If you're looking for the most mild in meatiness and delicate in texture, I would suggest starting off with calf's liver or chicken livers. Pork belly may be more familiar as it's very similar to bacon.
Classic offal recipes include bone marrow custard, pork liver mouse, pâté made with poultry livers like duck, chicken, or goose liver. You'll also find kidney pies, braised beef tongue, as well as grilled hearts.
Enhance the flavor by marinating them in dairy like cultured kefir or milk, herbs, spices or citrus juice before cooking. You can also saute with onions, garlic, and flavorful fats like butter or bacon grease to add depth of flavor.
Looking for more healthy roundups? Here are some ideas: