How to Enjoy Offal

Offal is the joy of many a diner; cooked well and with the proper accompaniments, it can be delicious. It is also a considerate means for ensuring that all of an animal is used - what could resonate more with today's new consciousness of ensuring we do not waste?


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    Know what offal is. Offal means "off all", which is the pieces that "fall off" when an animal is butchered. The innards include the heart, lungs and liver (collectively called "the pluck"), kidneys, head and feet pieces, testicles, brains, tongue and intestines.
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    Enjoy kidneys. Steak and kidney pie and grilled kidneys are two common ways to consume kidneys.
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    Try calves' liver. Fry it swiftly (about 3 minutes), turn halfway through frying. Delicious served with fried onions and bacon and mashed potato.
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    Try pig offal varieties. Pigs provide many choices, including pâté, small intestine sausages (chitterlings) and black pudding (blood filled digestive tract). A jelly is also made from head and ears known as brawn.
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    Try cattle offal. Cattle tongue can be boiled or pickled, intestines and tripe and brains are other parts of the cattle used for culinary purposes.
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    Try livers. The livers of lambs and calves are considered to be the best to consume. If you are using the liver of pigs, soak it in milk first as it tastes quite strong.
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    Enjoy oxtail. This is a tradition in the soup area.
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    Enjoy brains. Lambs' brains are delicate and calves' brains are best in pie.
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    Try sweetbreads. Sweetbreads are the thymus gland and pancreas of calves and lambs. Soak before blanching and frying in breadcrumbs.
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    Give tripe a try. Not a lot of people can stomach tripe (no pun intended) as its texture is well, rather unusual. But if you've a cast iron stomach, maybe give it a go.


  • Offal is also referred to as "dainty meats".
  • When BSE (mad cow disease) scares occur, consumption of offal plummets. Probably understandable.
  • Europeans tend to be less squeamish about offal than other parts of the world.

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Categories: Appreciation of Food