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Something Offal

By Marcus | In Nutrition | on January 24, 2011

I’m a big fan of the concept of respecting and knowing the food that you eat. Those of us following a paleo diet tend to be more curious about what our animals eat and how they were treated (free range, grass-fed, etc.) As part of showing respect to the animal, I try to make use of more of the animal than the average American would. Some people only have an anonymous relationship with their food. To them, beef is nothing more than shrink-wrapped steaks and chickens are composed of only breast meat. I previously touched on this in my previous post, Eggs in One Basket.

When I was growing up, my dad introduced me to chicken livers, hearts and gizzards and I loved them. The best part was, my mom and sister wanted no part — more for us! Unfortunately, many people have had overcooked liver at some time in their life and they are forever turned off to the rubbery texture. Proper cooking technique makes all the difference when preparing organ meats to ensure they end up appetizing.

I’ve found that other cultures follow the creed of using more of the animal and this introduced me to even more delicacies. Thanks to Mexican food, I had tried cabeza (cheeks meat), lengua (tongue) and higado encebollado (liver w/ onions). With Chinese dim sum, I found chicken feet and tripe, with Vietnamese cuisine I met pork blood, beef tendon, and ham hocks and oxtail with Filipino food. I’m sure there are others along the way I have forgotten, but once I started experimenting I was hooked.

Currently on my wish list for Amazon, I have the book The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating to work on further expanding my repertoire. For preparation techniques and recipe ideas I also visit the website Offal Good. (Offal is another term for the organ meats that are often discarded when an animal is butchered.) From what I’ve read, the evidence of bone remnants show that paleolithic hunters would often go for these organ meats first so there’s not much more “paleo” than eating these various goodies. They are nutrient-dense and as such, can have strong flavors that you might not be used to at first.

When I was perusing the nearby 99 Ranch Market, I found some fresh beef tongue and decided to make my recipe for lengua guisada. In addition, they had some beef tendon so I’m experimenting this time by adding that to the mix. Tongue, marrow and tendon… maybe I should rename it TMT stew. Step outside your comfort zone and try something new in your meals this week — whether it’s an organ meat or a vegetable you’ve never tried. You might even find a new favorite!

WOD 1.24.11

Back Squat 1-1-1-1-1
Bench Press 1-1-1-1-1

15 Comments to "Something Offal"

  • Tamme says:

    January 24, 2011 at 7:04 AM -

    OMG Marcus, it’s too early for my stomach to digest this blog.

    You are a caveman!!!!!

  • melissa says:

    January 24, 2011 at 7:12 AM -

    no lie, i LOVE chicken livers. i’d be willing to eat some beef tongue…

  • Anna says:

    January 24, 2011 at 7:19 AM -

    Yay max day!!! :)

  • Nick says:

    January 24, 2011 at 9:17 AM -

    Are we having a moment of silence in that picture?

  • Alia says:

    January 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM -

    No Nick, Y’all are getting in the zone!

    Listen Marcus, I’m pretty much an Chinese girl with a super tan and even I won’t touch tongue, feel, paw or liver. But Ox tail is pretty much the s**t, no pun intended =). I love your food posts!

  • Pooja says:

    January 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM -

    may i request a vegetarian paleo recipe once?

    sub back squats for….? knee still effed.

    1. ruth says:

      January 24, 2011 at 1:59 PM -

      Pooja, ain’t no such thing! Kidding…kinda. I’m sure Marcus can whip something up?

      I must say my upbringing has helped break the offal ice with chicken feet, tripe, pig ears, and chicken hearts so it made the transition to lengua and bison liver a lot easier!

      For those of you non-believers, I think you just need to book a Tasting Tour Day with Marcuspedia, who will properly intro you to the finer offal cuisines!!! I’d sign up for sure!!

    2. Marcus says:

      January 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM -

      @Pooja – Once? So you’re saying we’ve never ran a recipe that omits animal proteins other than milk/egg? Obviously you must have missed the following posts with the “Recipe” tag:

      “No Churn” Ice Cream
      Eggs and Sausage Hash (omit the sausage)
      Ripe for Harvesting
      Pomegranate Goat Cheese Salad
      Pumpkin Muffins
      Primal Banana Cream Pie
      Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread
      Dressing It Up
      Rest Day! (Bacon Quiche – omit bacon)
      Parmesan Encrusted “Fried” Zucchini
      Almond Banana Pancakes
      Caveman “Granola”

      Out of 35 recipes posted, that’s 13 that either have egg/milk only or can be easily modified. I’m sure there were one or two more that I missed. Perhaps your burpee debt should increase for doing the legwork for you. 😉 Of course, these are more primal than paleo due to the inclusion of dairy… but that’s what you’ve told me you eat anyway.

  • Holley says:

    January 24, 2011 at 2:16 PM -

    I would probably give it all a try… but I might have to be blindfolded and no one should tell me what I am eating.

  • Michael H says:

    January 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM -

    Mmmmm! Let’s do Koreann BBQ soon!

  • Jason T says:

    January 24, 2011 at 2:54 PM -

    Eating Offal is a cheap way to get grassfed meat. I eat heart / tongue / kidney etc on a regular basis (had beef heart for lunch). You can order beef offal online from US Wellness Meats for something like $4 pound (depending on the cut). Compare that to choice cuts of grassfed meat at Whole Paycheck (which are like $20/lb+).

    1. ruth says:

      January 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM -

      Thanks for the info Jason! Care to share some of your recipes?!

  • Jason T says:

    January 24, 2011 at 4:05 PM -

    My recipes are pretty simple. Try this one straight out of Fergus Henderson’s book (just omit the bread). Roasted Bone Marrow:

    Food Orgasm good! I still have dreams about it. (Am I allowed to say that?) You can get nice little inch high marrow bones from Lindner Grass Fed Bison at the Crenshaw Farmers Market on Saturdays.

    1. ruth says:

      January 24, 2011 at 6:06 PM -

      Niice Jason! We know Ken from Lindner Bison quite well! Did a post on them a while back. Marcus also shares your love of marrow!!

  • CrossFit Intrepid » Pork & Liver Kilawin says:

    January 30, 2011 at 7:17 AM -

    […] up Marcus’ queue for Something Offal, here’s a traditional Filipino recipe that I’ve grown up with and love!  The […]

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