The Cheap Cuts And Offal Thread

johnliu_gwJune 29, 2014

I promised to start this thread a while ago, but travel and life got in the way and then I plain forgot. Until I had a dream last night, described below, that reminded me of this topic. Not literally, thank goodness.

The topic is using cheap cuts and offal, instead of the traditional parts of the cow, pig, chicken, lamb, salmon, or parakeet. In a future world where the ribeye, loin, leg and filet become scarcer and more costly, how to cook interesting and tasty dishes?

That future world is, I think, coming. Gradually and in our lifetimes. The colliding forces of rising global living standards and climate change's disruption of agriculture, along with the unforgiving reality that 20 pounds of pasture and feed yield just 1 pound of traditional meat cuts after butchering, will continue to drive protein prices higher.

So, what of it? We are cooks, and much of the fun of cooking is the challenge. We can make delicious dishes from parts of the animal that others pass by or throw away. Never forget that much of classic French cookery is devoted to turning sow's ears into silk purses.

Here is the challenge I propose. Take a part of any animal - whether land, air or sea - that most people don't cook, and make something terrific. It doesn't have to be sow's ears, but push out of your comfort zone. Make something with livers, giblets, spleens, necks, shanks; even feet, hearts, and heads if you like.

Let's have fun! I'm headed off to the Asian market today to see what I find.

Oh, the dream.

We were having a dinner party. I was supposed to cook a special dish of rats. I bought a fat grey rat and found another one in the pantry. They weren't very clean. Eww, I was grossed out. I decided to put on latex gloves and use my boning knife to skin and debone the rats. But my father had re-organized my knife block and all my knives were missing. I searched through the house, room after room, carrying the dead rats, looking for my boning knife. Guests kept crowding into the house, asking when dinner would be. Servers started appearing, dressed like 1960s airline hostesses, ready to serve my rat dish. I couldn't find the knife. The room began to flood. My grandmother (dead in real life, alive and younger here) hugged me.

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I was considering not even opening this thread since I am not really much of a cook and am mainly here for useful information, and suspect that the ideas here would probably fall well within my discomfort zone. However, Your Dream fell right into my wheelhouse and I couldn't resist a response.

For many years, I worked with rats in a medical research lab. We occasionally wished to determine the weight of bone to subtract it from the weight of the rat. We did this by boiling the skinned rat parts in a beaker on the lab bench. The odor was similar to turkey soup, and one time I checked and the boiled rat, with a little added salt, tasted like turkey as well. FYI, we sometimes worked with two pounder's so one could imagine a useful quantity could be obtained. Find that knife!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Too many choices at the market!

I decided to buy the cheapest pieces of pig. This meant neck ($1.29/lb), spleen ($1.49/lb), and heart ($1.89/lb). Interestingly, significantly weirder (to me) parts of the pig were a fair bit more expensive. Like ear and, um, uterus. I guess someone out there just adores pork uterus?

Lots of interesting cow, chicken and fish parts too, but today was piggy time.

Now to figure out how to cook this.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:15PM
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With a $10 meat budget each week, I probably do more calculating cost per serving than most people. I have my meat chart in my Price Book for guidance. I try to keep to $2/pound or less for boneless and $1 per pound or less for bone-in. But no more than $10 total no matter what price per pound. If I can't find a "bargain", I'll save my $10 for another week when I DO find a bargain. The freezer has a large assortment of meat, as well as canned and freeze-dried meat in storage, so there are many choices.

When I was growing up, we raised much of our meat, so we consumed everything but the squawk, oink and moo. Scrapple or Pon Haus was a huge treat. Braised tongue was sliced for sandwiches. My mother, who grew-up in the bush country of Northern Ontario, Canada, lived on a self-sufficient farm, including their own grain mill, and she would talk fondly about her mother making creamed sweet breads in ramekins or beef heart stuffed with vegetables.

I do love using shanks (Beef Shanks and Cabbage Stew). Pork belly is another cut that is overlooked. When beef roasts got expensive, I would purchase boneless beef ribs instead, at half the price per pound, and get the same good flavor.

I'm better at plant-based substitutes and could easily do well with even less meat. Before going gluten-free, "wheat meat" (aka seitan, gluten) was my go-to plant-based meat substitute or meat extender. I even made high-protein "cereal" with wheat meat.......

At least where I live, I could see more people raising back-yard chickens, rabbits and pigeons, much like they did during WWI and WWII. Many cuts they just don't have available anymore that were considered "cheap" cuts. They probably get put in things people DO consume like bologna and cold-cuts.

There are currently a large number of break-ins on a regular basis here, where people rob the meat from freezers in garages and the little Health Food Coop has been robbed of the meat several times this year. Cattle rustling is getting to be more common as prices continue to go up, especially after calving season (easier to catch and butcher).


This post was edited by grainlady on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 6:40

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Pork belly is an overlooked cut?! As a reader of food magazines, forums and blogs I consider it practically impossible to avoid, starting at least five years ago. And I wish beef shanks were still a budget cut. Around here at least, that ship sailed years ago.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Beef shank is about $4.30/lb and pork belly is about the same, at my little Asian market. Glad for that store, because pork belly is substantially higher at the standard grocery store. It has joined flank steak, skirt steak, and oxtail on the formerly-cheap-now-trendy list.

The pork neck was delicious. Browned the pieces, bones and all, then pressure cooked for 15 min on high pressure with diced onion, celery, carrot, jalapeño pepper, taco seasoning, garlic, white wine (cerveza would have been better, but someone seems to have drunk all the beer) and water. Then release pressure, strain out the veg and pressure cook just the pork and liquid for 30 to 45 min on high. Release pressure, shake the meat off the bones, chop the meat up - don't use a nice knife, because you will discover some overlooked bits of bone and you don't want to damage a good blade - and add back to the pot with all the veg plus some rice. Incredibly, I didn't have any normal rice in the house - the shame! - and somehow sushi rice or black rice didn't seem right, so I cubed some tofu and added that. Really inauthentic but there you are. Something has to soak up all that yummy liquid. Simmer for a while, salt, pepper, cilantro, chives and eat.

Okay, now what to do with a pork spleen?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 9:09PM
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Chas, I admire you for tasting the rat soup. How can you say that this thread is out of your comfort zone? I mean, a comfort zone that includes boiled rat seems like a pretty adventuresome zone.

Grainlady, I thought about including meat substitutes in this thread, but decided it would get too confusing. I'm with you about being able to eat less meat. My latest meat substitute - which for me basically means meatless protein source - is black bean soup. Lots of protein.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 9:19PM
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"Cattle wrestling". Teeheee. OK, grainlady, I KNOW you meant "rustling" and that Spell Check probably did its auto change thing, but I couldn't help it, I could only see myself grabbing Bossy Cow around her neck and trying to wrestle all 1500 pounds of her. (grin) Yeah, I know, I have a strange sense of humor.

OK, I've already made stock and soup with the chicken feet and necks, that's old news. I've made Ruthanna's chicken livers and rice, it was yummy. Elery and I even went to "Joe's Gizzard City" on our honeymoon and had deep fried gizzards, thanks to "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives". I've had mountain oysters, aka testicles and Grandma used to make head cheese and pickled pigs feet. I've even had porcupine stewed in a crock pot, which tasted much like dark meat turkey, much like Chas' rats. I've made a beef shank and sausage ragu thanks to Bon Appetit magazine, so I don't think beef shanks are overlooked any more if they are mainstream enough for Bon Appetit. Unfortunately. (sigh)

Spleen? Well, there's German Milzsuppe (Spleen Soup), and you could always cook it and turn it into a kind of pate', although that seems relative common. I have seen a recipe where the spleen, after removing the membrane, was topped with slices of bacon and fresh sage leaves, rolled up like a roulade and simmered in chicken stock.

I admit that spleen is not my favorite organ meat, but now I may have to try that again. No brains or lungs though, sorry, I just can't (including Haggis, thanks), no matter how many people tell me how delicious brains are mixed with their scrambled eggs or how Andrew Zimmern says lungs are like "elegant potroast". Um.....yeah.

John, you made good use of those neck bones. We used to have them smoked along with the hams and bacon and then add them to bean soup or greens.

I've noticed, though, that some "cheap" parts are now more expensive than the more common parts. Chicken gizzards were $1.69 a pound while thighs were 99 cents a pound. Ox Tail is $7.99 a pound but I can get chuck for $3.99 a pound. Beef tongue is running about $10 a pound here, but I can buy burger for $2.99. It's crazy.

This is a great thread, though, since I have all the parts of an animal to use and don't want to waste any of it. There's always sausage, I suppose.


This post was edited by annie1992 on Sun, Jun 29, 14 at 23:28

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:03PM
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Here, the ears go into a pork pot au feu - vile - they always float!
My father loved pig's trotters and would shlurp away on the bones for hours.
A treat for us as kids was sweet breads - Mum used to breadcrumb them and fry them. Here, a neighbour serves them in the most delicious creamy, mushroon sauce.
So many cheap cuts of meat become fashionable and expensive. It's not only meat. Here, razor clams have become all the rage so they're really expensive. A couple of years ago you could get them for nothing.
I love a liver and bacon casserole. Slow cooked so that the bacon disappears into the rich sauce.
Dcarch - last year I was served sous vide duck gizzards that were sublime in a salad.
Good luck with your spleen!!!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:59AM
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Thanks for the correction Annie (LOL)! Engage brain before moving fingers...........

As an aside, ever figure the price of canned tuna per pound? A cheap-o (more like cat food) 69-cent 5-oz. can = $2.21 per pound. Solid white tuna - 5-oz. can from Aldi - $1.15 = $3.68 per pound. I always mix tuna with a low-costing protein (usually eggs, beans, high-protein almond flour or coconut flour bread crumbs) as an extender to get more servings and lower the cost per serving.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 6:58AM
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I think I'm going to use the spleen in a pate. I have a big sage plant in the herb garden, bought a pound of chestnuts, and I am envisioning some combination of the flavours of pate, roast chestnut, and sage pesto.

This post was edited by johnliu on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 11:34

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:50AM
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Coming from a PA Dutch cooking background where wasted food is frowned upon, this is a topic where I have lots of experience. My roommate and I ate our way through college on chicken livers, our kids munched on sliced chicken hearts like others ate Cheerios, and I can stuff and sew up a hog maw (pig stomach) in ten minutes or less.

Unfortunately, as meat prices continue to rise, restauranteurs have been searching for the next chicken wings - an inexpensive source of protein that people will like enough to pay inflated prices to chow down on. Beef cheeks, oxtails, pork belly, beef tendons, and now beef heart, tongue and veal breast are just some of the meats that have been elevated out of the offal price range and cost too much for the purpose of this thread.

There's some confusion on what my favorite cheap cut is named. I'd call it a fresh pork hock but then people think it's the smoked ham hock next to the foot used for making broth. It's from the rear pig leg between the ham and hock next to the foot. They're not smoked or cured, weigh approx. 2 lbs. and usually cost about $1.49 - $1.79/lb. at a butcher, although I don't know if they're carried in grocery stores but if you see them, grab one.

Anyway, they look like this and come with a tough skin that I remove and throw in a bag in the freezer for later use.

My cooking method is braising. I brown them and then put in a casserole or Dutch oven with par cooked beans, chopped celery, carrots and leeks, whatever type of broth I have on hand, a bit of molasses and sometimes white wine, herbs and seasonings, cover and bake at 250 degrees for about 5 hours. Here it's ready for the oven.

Done. The meat is tender and lean and does not contain as many tendons as cuts below it.

Annie, the U.S. is producing a generation who believes that poultry meat is white and boneless so bone-in thighs and legs should remain in the bargain category for a while. It's funny to see nearly every chicken recipe from 50 years ago to begin with "one chicken, cut up".

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:53AM
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bone-in thighs and legs should remain in the bargain category for a while.

Alas, not around here (S FL). The last time I looked for chicken thighs they were $3.99 a lb, now that they've gotten a reputation as a good "bargain" cut.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Ruthanna, out here we call that a pork shank. I love the "cheap cuts and offal", but it is a whole lot easier for me to just go to a restaurant and order it. Here, too, the cheaper cuts have gone way up in price, everything from shank to cheeks to tails/ears. Even headcheese is making a comeback on menus!

Love oxtails, but there's a Filipino restaurant that's opened up a mile away and they regularly offer them in a great braise, for sale by the pound. I really can't make it at home any cheaper.

We've always liked liver, and I periodically make chicken liver Bolognese for my DH, who adores it. Otherwise, I buy prime rib or filet mignon. Chuck roast only for (again) Bolognese; so much better than just ground beef. For burgers I mix organic ground beef with equal amount ground bison, which gets those burgers up into the filet mignon price range!

I do use a lot of turkey necks, not because they're cheap (altho they are) but because we prefer dark meat to light. I use them to make stock, so simmer them until tender, strip the meat off to eat in various dishes, toss the stripped bones back in the pot and simmer some more. Adding the bones from a chinese roast duck gives a lot of tasty ooomph! DH loves it when I make Chinese dumpling soup with a duck/turkey broth.

One of the local Chinese restaurants is making a 5-spice braised pork shoulder dish, which is really a shank. If you enjoy 5-spice it's very tasty. Any Chinese cookbook with a "red cooking" recipe will have the details.

Last week we went to one of the new French brasseries in San Francisco. A chef we have been following from restaurant to restaurant ended up there, and he did a couple of lamb dishes that were sensational. We like gamey meat so the return to full-flavored lamb wins our vote.

From my review:
" Ris d'Agneau: Lamb sweetbreads, English pea blini, trumpet royale mushrooms, hazelnut butter. DH ordered this for his starter. He liked it; I loved it. We have never had lamb sweetbreads before. The flavor of the lamb sweetbreads is fairly strong and gamey, which I liked more than he did. He did like the blini very much, but didn't care for the trumpet royale mushroom, and was indifferent to the chopped roasted hazelnuts. I love any kind of mushroom, and almost any kind of nut, so this dish was much more up my alley than his.

Agneau Grille: Grilled lamb, crepinette sausage, shelling bean ragout, tomato confit, fava pistou. It's interesting that a year ago we were complaining the lamb was so mild it was barely distinguishable from beef. Now it seems the head-to-tail movement has started to swing the other way. This is great for us, maybe not so much for the many people we know who just don't care for gamey, strong-tasting meat. This was Lamb, assuredly capitalized. The grilled boneless loin had a fine flavor; not too gamey, rubbed very lightly with a whiff of cumin and cinnamon. But the sausage was "yowza!" Lamb lovers-only territory! This crepinette was merguez, one of our favorite sausages. It was gamey and spicy and altogether wonderful.

The shelling beans were the cannellini, the long oval white beans often used in cassoulet. The fava pistou was in lieu of a sauce, and the tomato confit had DH raving about it. This was, essentially, a deconstructed lamb cassoulet, Moroccan style. It was outstanding, a beautifully executed dish for lamb lovers. "

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Just after I posted, I read this on Food Republic website. The ultimate in turning cheap offal into a national dish:

Here is a link that might be useful: Will the ban on haggis be lifted?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I'm a little disappointed in the pork spleen. Its flavor is very mild, almost boring. I had to put a lot of stuff in my pate to get any sort of interesting flavour. In went butter, onion, garlic, amaretto, Dijon mustard, red wine, dill, salt and pepper. It is a pleasant, agreeable pate that I could serve to anyone - like SWMBO, without telling her - but not really exciting. I should have put capers or sage or a little hot pepper in it for some bite.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:42PM
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John, spleen IS relatively mild, it's the texture that puts me off. Still, made into pate', it could be very palatable. Capers, yes, I think that would be a nice addition.

Ruthanna, I know I've mentioned that Elery has a couple of kids who don't like any meat with bones in it, and they are both in their late 20s! And now, of course, we have another whole group of childen who only know chicken in the form of nuggets. I remember when I was a kid there were two legs and three children at the table, we all wanted the "drumstick". Now none of the kids want it, they all want chicken nuggets. (sigh)

jkom, I'm still just not going to eat haggis, not even on Robert Burns' birthday!


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I remember my grandma always eating lungs, which she called lights, cow brains and boiling chicken feet for the broth. This was in the early to mid '40's.
I love pork neck bones......add them when I make spaghetti meat sauce or just roast them with garden herbs and root vegetables.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Funny, my kids used to wail when served chicken with bones, "we want real chicken" aka nuggets.

Now Daughter-San has just spice rubbed and cooked chicken for 200 on the flattop at camp, so she has definitely graduated from the nuggets. Son - sigh, he still likes nuggets.

When I was a kid, I liked the chicken bones, or rather their marrow, and also the chicken cartilage.

Flash: son had the spleen pate and really liked it! I even told him what it was.

Anyway, on to pork heart. With beef heart, I usually slice it thin and fry it with plenty of oil and salt. Pork heart might want a more creative treatment. I'm thinking stuffing and slow cooking?

This post was edited by johnliu on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 1:09

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Haggis is vile. If I were American, I would be voting to keep the ban! But, there's nothing "foodie" about the Scots eating it. They've been doing that for long time! That said, I love all the ceremony that goes with the Haggis.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:07AM
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Chicken liver and heart pate.Swoon...
Chicken livers wrapped in bacon basted with a soy based sauce.
Still can get chicken backs reasonably priced. I steam them, harvest the meat for chicken salad or a casserole then brown the bones for stock.

Stuffed veal breast - Bone and stuff with your favorite stuffing. Save the bones for stock or spaghetti sauce.
Love sweetbreads! Simmer, remove membrane, shake in seasoned flour then a saute in butter or garlic butter. Yum!

Used to be lamb shanks were inexpensive and I loved them braised.
Still love lamb riblets when I can get them.

We used to make head cheese with pig heads until we discovered pork cheeks. Now I harvest the cheeks, toss the brain (just can't do it), toss the eyes, brown the head well and make stock.
Don't forget to save the intestines for sausage casings....

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Yum, lamb! Not much cheap/offal lamb cuts in the stores I go to, perhaps I need to find some halal or middle eastern butchers.

I have a question about stuffed pork hearts. Am thinking about some combination of apple, chestnut, shallot, bacon, spinach, etc and cooking it in apple cider and white wine. I think the heart needs long cooking (unless thinly sliced which it won't be). I worry all that cooking will turn the stuffing to mush. So I'm thinking I should first cook the heart alone, then stuff it, then cook some more with the stuffing, then finally brown it. Make sense, or unnecesssary? I'll be pressure cooking.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:46AM
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On another forum, there is a discussion on pork rectums.

It seems that many countries (France, Italy, and Asian countries) use that part of pigs, and you may have had it a few times.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:41AM
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I enjoy watching Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods just for this reason. I think he must be the champion offal eater of all time, LOL. I remember one episode where even the butcher looked at him funny when Zimmern ate the still-beating heart of a rabbit, exclaiming how wonderfully tender it was....

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:10PM
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Hmm. Pork heart, cooked as described above, is tender (cut with fork), with a homogeneous, grainless texture, and rather bland. The sauce is nice. It is a little sweet; tastes of apples and white wine. Dish has promise but to be honest all the flavor is from the sauce. My son thought it was okay.

I need to make another trip to the Asian grocery. I've run out of offal!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:05PM
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John, try Mediterranean and Middle Eastern groceries too, I've found lamb shanks relatively inexpensively (less than $2 per pound), as well as rabbit, goat, ground lamb, various organ meats, tahini at half the price of my local Meijer and jars of roasted red peppers and ajvar. So, if your Asian market doesn't have it, they might, and mine is quite inexpensive.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:48AM
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I have tried pork blood from an Asian store. Pretty tasty.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Looks like I need to get acquainted with some more ethnic markets in Portland. Here is a list - hmm, this might take awhile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Portland world markets

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Asians like to use blood and blood cubes (congealed blood) in soups. Too much gives a liver-y taste I don't care for, but we had a family dinner last night at a Taiwanese restaurant/karaoke bar that used a small amount of beef blood in their beef noodle soup. Really gave the broth that extra oomph it needed; tender meat, soft fresh noodles - everybody loved it. A cloudy broth but very tasty.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Some years back, when Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels were all the rage, someone published a cookbook entitled 'Lobscouse and Spotted Dog', recipes which were allegedly authentic for a Napoleonic era sailing ship.

One of the recipes was for 'millers'--large rats. I have the book somewhere, but I can't find it or I'd print the recipe.

I used to watch 'No Reservations' and occasionally envy Anthony Bourdain, since he got to fly all over the world eating great cuisines--until the episode where he visited the Kalahari Bushmen and was offered a prized morsel: barbecued wart-hog rectum. I said, well, thanks, but Anthony can keep his job.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:23PM
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That was one strange dream.

I barely eat meat with the bone in. I am a big baby about eating non-traditional parts of the animal. One exception is scrapple. I do eat scrapple. Please don't anyone tell me what's in it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:03PM
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We don't have that here and I looked at some recipes and many look very bland and boring but this one looks tasty and nothing in it!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Scrapple

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:46AM
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Hmm, I always avoid the ingredients list on it. I figured it was made of all the scraps -- what no one really wants to eat if they know what it is. Ruthanna would know.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Let us not forget....snails. Up and down the West Coast, our gardens are full of the very delights that Gallic cooks love to saute. They don't always need to be drowned in butter and garlic, either.

And the lab in SF that's creating eggs from vegetable extracts and protein (it's cheaper, and works fine in scrambles and custards).

Eating insects is all the coming thing, according to's 2012 special on The Future of Food:

Here is a link that might be useful: The Future of Food: articles

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:59PM
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(deleted - I realized this went OT. Sorry!)

This post was edited by jkom51 on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 2:58

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Just been watching Andrew Zimmern in San Diego and he was eating the Pilipino stew dinuguan. This is a blood & meat stew of meat and/or offal (typically lungs, kidneys, intestines, ears, heart and snout) simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili (most often siling mahaba), and vinegar, according to Wiki.

It reminded me that we recently ate at a Taiwanese restaurant that offered a very good beef stew noodle. A few chunks of tender beef, fresh noodles, and the soup broth was slightly thickened with beef blood. They had just the right amount: not so much that it tasted liver-y, but enough that it gave a nice depth to the broth. I've had Chinese blood soups, but they often use pig's blood which I don't like as much.

My husband is very fond of the French blanc noir sausage, the delicate soft dark blood sausage served in many classic bistros. I love liver, but I find it so rich I can never eat very much of it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:56AM
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Am I the only one who could hardly get through this thread? Pork rectums, blood cubes, rat juice - ugh. I eat less and less red meat all the time.

My father taught me: if you can find beef neck bones, put them in a pressure cooker, remove the bones, and you have a most tasty base for soup, stew or whatever.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:10PM
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In Chile they serve a mixed grill that includes sweetbreads, liver, large and small intestine, blood sausage, and cow udder. I don't much care for the taste or texture of the udder. Once a waitress told me they had run out of udder and would it be OK to serve a double portion of sweetbreads instead? Well, of course! I have never seen udder for sale here. And, it has been a long time since I last saw lamb tongues and hearts.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:44PM
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I spent some early years in NYC and loved deli food- lox and bagels, herring, etc. And I love chopped liver.
Here in Texas where I live chicken livers are available in pint containers for cheap, so I buy them and make my own chopped liver. Not as good as Zabars in NYC, but a treat nevertheless.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I have some duck confit gizzards that we will have in a salad for lunch tomorrow. Love those.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:49AM
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" chopped liver ------Not as good as Zabars in NYC, but a treat nevertheless.---"

Buy some chopped liver and fresh bread from Zabars. A short walk across the street and have a nice picnic in Central Park.

Then, another short walk to The Metropolitan Museum and spend the day there.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:32AM
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The Taiwanese restaurant we went to - I mentioned it in a posting about blood used in beef noodle soup, above - also had a stir-fry of hearts and gizzards.

One either loves crunchy gizzards and tongue, or hates them and wants them soft and tender. These gizzards were crunchy, so only my sister and niece ate them. My niece once told me she grew up eating crunchy gizzards, and that's why she likes them that way.

I have explained to her that my sister's gizzards were crunchy because she never really learned to cook - out of all of us, my food-obsessed mother and four kids, my sister was the only one who was never really interested in cooking. She once told me she viewed cooking as a chemistry experiment - and this was many decades before molecular gastronomy, LOL!

One memorable occasion she made us dinner and afterwards my DH asked, "What **was** that meat she served us?"

I told him it was a pork chop, and he replied, "Are you SURE? It didn't taste like any pork chop I've ever eaten!"

My sister did finally turn into a good cook, but it took about thirty years before my spouse stopped shuddering every time I mentioned she was bringing something to a family potluck.

We've often observed this with young chefs, especially nowadays. They often lack a good knowledge of the basic techniques, and the "why" of specific step-by-step recipes.

Because of this, we've been given some awful combinations of sweetbreads or livers in restaurants. Many chefs seem to believe they need to be either drowned in sour vinaigrettes, or slathered with fruit sauces sweet enough to be ice cream sundae toppings. Ugh!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:45PM
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LOL, jkom, at least your husband still ATE the "pork chop" or whatever that was. (grin)

dedtired, that's the beauty of making your own scrapple, you can control what's in it, and if you don't want to eat the snout or the cheeks or whatever, well, you don't have to...

I have no trouble at all getting through this thread, although I don't care for blood sausage and related items. I've never eaten rectum, but I use intestines for sausage, as has nearly everyone who has ever eaten a hot dog or sausage or brat with "natural casings".

I still just can't learn to enjoy haggis, though. Sorry, Mr. Burns. And yes, some here may remember that Elery and I actually made it once, although we couldn't get a stomach, so we tied the ingredients up in cheesecloth.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Some things are just so bloody good, : ).
I do make my own scrapple and sent out 'kits' one x-mas with a recipe to family that misses it from our youth. (our favorite home town brand is Rappa)
It is just polenta with spices heavy in sage...and pork.
Like a southern dirty rice, Louisiana, or Boudin that uses rice.

Offal in the NYC area can get pricey. My local international store went bankrupt... : (
Bags of goat were a bit expensive. Trotters, guinea pigs, (rats, lol) were way over what i would spend. Fresh pizzels were $9 a lb.

Simmering cod britches, (roe), sent DH out the door for fresh air. I love it, he hates it.
I grew up on scrapple, he did not. And he loves it. A friend not familiar hates it.

I do keep chicken paws in the freezer and marrow bones and beef neck bones for stock and dog treats. Just one chick paw, snipped nails, is so good in a veggie stock. (obviously not for a vegetarian), but makes a good veg stock without a strong chick or meat flavor.

I've sampled a bit over the years from travel...goat heads in Greece...and a good friend wants the cod eyes after grilling..."you go girl !"...but not for me.

I take shrimp tails from everyones plate and pop them back on the grill, skewered, for a bit of crisp and eat them like pop corn...where did that come from?...
I love it and i've never met anyone else that does that. My love of soft-shelled crabs?
(sooo much flavor wasted!)

When we lived in the city, our sunday out was a favorite sushi place in the east village. Dh ordered a special....looked like a delicate tiny noodle....I pointed out, after a good taste or two that each tiny noodle had two eyes on one end and were alive and wiggling. haha

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Here's a few ideas for cheap cuts from an EaterSF column on the "15 Iconic Meat Dishes in SF". Most of the list isn't cheap, but there are some that qualify, and just the title might spur some creative juices (if that was a pun, it was unintentional!):

The ones I saw were:
#7: Pad Kra Prow Moo Krob at Lers Ros Thai
(Pork Belly)

#9 - Jerk-Spiced Duck Hearts at The Alembic

#13 - Coffee-Rubbed Pork Shoulder at Range
Pork shoulder often goes on sale in markets for $1.49/lb bone-in.

Here is a link that might be useful: EaterSF: Iconic Meat Dishes of SF

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:52PM
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My goodness, offal is everywhere all of a sudden in my food newsletters. Chris Cosentino, one of our celebrated young local chefs who adores offal, has listed his six favorite restaurant dishes using offal. If anyone's visiting SF soon, you might want to make a note of his favs at the link below.

When you're at the EaterSF page, there might be a link to another article (the featured articles rotate, so what I see may not be what you see). Salumerias are another very hot trend here, and the article "Central Kitchen's Travis Day On The Snout-to-Tail Approach and More" talks about making artisanal salame using all the parts, from brains to tail.

Here is a link that might be useful: EaterSF: Chris Cosentino's Favorite SF Offal Dishes

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:16PM
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