Take heart, Anonymous, maybe you’ll learn to love skewered bovine heart muscle — pumping iron long before it became popular — roasted over charcoal.
Q: I really want to like organ meats, but I think most of them taste like shit. Am I missing something? [name withheld by request]
A: You should ask yourself, Anonymous, why it is you want to like organ meats. If it’s because they currently seem cool — well, plenty of other foodstuffs are cool, too. I’m the first to admit offal isn’t for everyone, and you can’t teach yourself to like it if you don’t already. I, for example, love tripe, and will eat it wherever I find it. Brains, however, give me the shivers and, as far as I’m concerned, you might as well be gorging on human brains.
But that’s my little peccadillo. You’re right — some organs literally do taste like shit, and those are the large intestines of cows, pigs, and sheep. Pork big intestine is the skankiest of all, and you can get it at nearly any good southern Chinese restaurant. Cow tripe can be skanky in a more stomach-acidy way, unless it’s very carefully cleaned in several changes of water. But some like it skanky and don’t wash it quite as well.
Kidneys often taste like piss, but then so do shark steaks — as a result of the same chemical. If you like kidneys, maybe that’s what you like about them. Once again, carefully cleaned, kidneys can be completely free of urinary scent. Are people showing their sexual proclivities by the organ they choose to eat? I’m not answering that one.
Anyway, the upshot of this is that you should try various organs, and stick with the ones you like. They’re all completely different in texture and odor. My faves are tripe, liver, marrow, and feet — er, maybe I mean trotters and hooves. But yours are likely to be completely different. As with sex, experimentation is key to finding out what you’re into.
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Other organs you might enjoy, as cooked by Fergus Henderson