The true carnivore makes use of the entire animal. However, it isn’t just carnivores who benefit from nose-to-tail eating. Organ meats are some of the most nutritious, low-fat and inexpensive cuts available. Also, making use of organ meats means each animal can provide more food, which makes animal husbandry more efficient and sustainable. Therefore, organ meats benefit both the farmer and the diner. A win all around!
When researching this article we found so much useful info on organ meats we decided to write two blog posts. This one profiles each of the most commonly available of these inexpensive cuts. Its sequel will describe easy ways to prepare these nutritious proteins, and tips on how best to turn these healthy cuts into tasty dishes.
Most of what we think of as ‘meat’ rather than organs is made of muscle. So is the heart, which gives it a familiar texture. Also, while a heart may have some fat around it, its meat is actually very lean, and rich in vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, copper, zinc, and iron. Therefore it’s a good place to start exploring organ meats. Like other lean cuts it’s best cooked either very fast and hot or very low and slow.
Kidneys: Nutritious But Challenging
On the other hand, kidneys are not for beginners. Their smell and taste have been described as “assertive” and “strong”. However, they are a protein-rich inexpensive cut with a surprise bonus. In addition to high levels of B vitamins and selenium, kidneys have a pleasantly springy texture. Also, they work well with strong flavors, making for healthy tasty dishes when cooked the right way. The British were on to something with their curried kidneys for breakfast!
Liver: Go Small For The Win
Grim tales of overcooked liver and onions aside, liver is astonishingly nutritious with great potential for deliciousness. It just needs to avoid being overcooked, at which the Cinder Grill excels. Also, the smaller and younger the source animal, the more finely textured and creamier their liver. So if you’re new to liver try lamb liver or even chicken livers, which are a very inexpensive cut with a rich flavor and lush texture -- as long as they’re not overcooked!
Sweetbreads: Complex and Delicious
Sweetbreads seem somewhat mysterious, from their name onwards. They’re neither sweet nor bready in any way. What they do have is a creamy texture, rich yet light flavor, and high levels of Vitamin C as well as other nutrients. They require some time to prepare, but the reward is a nutritious and unusual delicacy. They’re very much worth trying!
Tongue: The Best Kept Secret
Every rule has its exception, including the rule that organ meats are lean. Tongue is rich and delicious, boasting a deep beefy flavor and enough fat to crisp itself when seared. Also it’s a muscle, which provides it with a more familiar taste and texture. However, tongue requires some hands-on preparation, including peeling. In truth, it’s not as terrible as it sounds. If you can peel a fruit you can peel a tongue, and once it’s sliced it just looks like meat. Nutritious, delicious meat.
There are other organ meats, including tripe, casings, and so on, but the above are the most likely to be found in a well stocked butchery or from a farmer. They’re also self-contained and relatively easy to handle. All organ meats are quite nutritious, healthy, and inexpensive cuts. With the Cinder Grill to help you cook them to perfection, give them a try!