How to start eating organ meats.
Organ meats are the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids. In Eastern cultures they are known and widely used for years. Many traditional cultures and their medicine men—including Native Americans—believe that eating the organs from a healthy animal supports the organs of the eater. Unfortunately organ meats are not very popular in the West and most of us don’t eat any organ meat.
We should consider incorporate organ meat into our diet at least twice per week. In fact, the more organ meat in your diet, the better, especially if it’s grass-fed. However, I advise against eating organ meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The diets, veterinary drugs and living conditions of such animals are not likely to result in healthy organs, so be sure to find out where the organs came from, should you decide to pick some up at your local butcher or from farmers market.
Organ meats are not only they are better value than muscle meat, but also compared to the muscle meat, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and the very important vitamin B12. Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source. Organ meats also contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, including arachidonic acid and the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
Because the flavour can be challenging for some and because cooking organ meat can be daunting here some advices of how to start eating organ meats.
Because tongue is still technically muscle meat, the nutritional profile is similar to that of other beef muscle meats. It’s a good source of iron, zinc, choline, vitamin B12, other B vitamins, and trace minerals. Tongue is a fatty cut of meat, with about 70% of its calories coming from fat, making it one of the most tender cuts of beef you can find.
Surprisingly, one of tongue’s biggest claims to fame is the taste. It’s also one of the easiest organ meats to cook. Once people get over the fact that it’s a tongue, they often find they like it better than other, more ‘normal’ meats! If you’re venturing into the world of organ meats for the first time, tongue is a great starting point. It will probably take a couple tries to get completely over the ‘ick’ factor (after all, it looks like a tongue), but the ease of cooking and the agreeable taste should make that process easier. Further, it should prepare you mentally for other organ meats.
Here are some tongue recipes to try:
Once you’re comfortable eating tongue, heart can be a good next step. As with tongue, many people are pleasantly surprised when they taste heart, because despite its somewhat threatening outward appearance, its taste and texture have been compared to that of steak or brisket.
Like other red meat, heart is a good source of iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins, but where heart really shines is its CoQ10 content. CoQ10 is vital for energy production and prevention of oxidative stress, and people with chronic health conditions are often deficient. There are also some genetic factors that can impede the biosynthesis of CoQ10, making it more important for those people to have a source of pre-formed CoQ10 in their diet.
While tongue and heart are both excellent choices and great introductions to organ meat consumption, liver is by far the most important organ meat you should be eating. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, and contains many nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the taste of liver can take some getting used to. You can always start out by grinding it up and adding it to ground meat. Personally liver is my favourite from all organ meat. On the picture you can see lamb liver which I prepared and it was totally delicious. I’ve soaked it over night in full fat coconut milk to get rid of the strong flavour and to make the meat more tender. First I kept it outside in a room temperature than left in a fridge for few more hours. I added some garlic and spices to the coconut milk to add flavour to the liver. I fried it on the pan on coconut oil. I must try BBQ liver from Cobb, I can imagine it will taste amazing.
Once you’ve started eating liver regularly, maybe you’ll be interested in trying other unorthodox cuts of meat and less popular parts of the animal. Mark Sissonhas written before about eating heads, feet, tails, and everything in between. Perhaps you’ll give tripe a try, or attempt a kidney recipe. Maybe you’ll even get the guts to try some of the more adventurous animal parts, such as “sweetbreads” (pancreas), blood, or maybe even “oysters” (testicles). In fact, Chowstalker even has a whole list of offal recipes to get creative with. No excuses… and no fear!