Variety Meat Terms & Definitions

Variety meats, or 'offal', are the internal organs and external parts of the animal that are edible. Variety meats is a term used often in the US and offal is used in the UK. The Larousse Gastronomique, 1988 edition, uses two categories for variety meats: white offal or abat blanc (marrow, brain, feet, stomach, sweetbreads and testicles) and red offal or abat rouge (heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, tongue and lungs). Two professional cooking books, The New Professional Chef and Professional Cooking, divide offal by glandular or organ meats, and muscle meats. Terms and definitions for variety meats or offal are sometimes location defined, for example animelles are testicles in French, but they are known as 'fries' or 'oysters' in the US. Modern cookbooks have relatively little information and recipes for these animal parts, but looking back to books such as The Epicurean, the cookbook from the venerable Delmonico's restaurant, and a 1960's edition of Larousse Gastronomique has lots of recipes for these under-utilized parts of the animal. Depending on culture and the animal, the variety meat parts that are used in culinary applications include: the whole head, cock's combs, brains, ears, eyes, the muzzle, snout and palates, cheeks, tongue, sweetbreads and other glands, belly (including stomaches, intestines, mesentery), blood, bone and spinal marrow, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, speen, testicles, tails and feet. Many of these terms are described below. Cooking some variety meats requires sometimes planning ahead combined with long, slow methods, while others are to be handled and cooked á la minute. One variety meat coming from different animals will yield oftentimes very different results in taste but the cooking method can be similar. For example, veal heart is milder in flavor than a lamb's, but lamb and calves feet can be prepared in much the same way. Here are some basics for preparing the popular types of variety meats:
1. Liver: If whole, remove outer skin. Fresh poultry livers with gall bladders

must be carefully removed before preparing. Liver should not be prepared in advance. Can be prepared and served alone or chopped and used in recipes. This meat is lean and tough. Can be chopped and added to other chopped meats, or left whole prepared. grilled, or broiled.

2. Heart: Remove the veins along with attached tissues. Wipe any clots way.

3. Kidneys: Remove fat and membranes and veins present. Can be sautéed, 4. Sweetbreads: Soak overnight in water set in cooler or in several changes of

fresh cold water to remove blood, which can darken the meat. Meat is ready when water is clear. Blanch in water, lightly simmering for up to 10 minutes depending on animal. Place in cold water and peel off the membranes and fat that surround the meat. Place the sweetbreads on a sheet pan lined with cheesecloth, and set a weight over it (like another sheet pan with weights set on top like cans of food). Doing this helps to firm the sweetbreads. They will firm up after a couple of hours. They are often served sautéed or pan fried.

5. Brains: Fragile in nature. As with sweetbreads, soak in several changes of

fresh, cold water until water is clear. Remove membranes. Most recipes require them to be poached in court boullion before preparation.
6. Tongue: Available fresh or cured, also smoked. Simmer in water with

onions, carrots and desired flavorings, allow to cool then trim gristle, bones if attached, and excess fat. Lastly peel off the skin.

7. Fries: When fresh, look for ones that are plump and firm. Remove skin

and as with sweetbreads, soak in several changes of water until water is clear. Softly simmer in lightly salted water to firm them and to remove excess scum.
8. Gizzards: Trim surrounding fat and connective tissues. Fresh poultry

gizzards may contain a gravel sac that needs to be removed.
9. Oxtails: Remove excess fat. If disjointing is need, be careful to cut at the

sections as the bones can splinter. Below are terms, foreign words used and definitions for many variety meats. All terminology listed in alphabetical order. Amourette: Spinal marrow (usually in the case of beef or veal) Animelles: Testicles Bath Chaps: Pig's cheek (smoked), used as like smoked bacon Caul Fat: Membrane from intestines (pig or sheep) with a netting look to it Chap: Cheek or lower jaw, usually in the case of pork, see 'bath chaps' Chitterlings: Pig's large intestines Cock's Comb (Cockscomb): Fleshy part of the tops of heads of gallinaceans (birds including turkey, chicken, quails, pheasants) Crow: See 'mesentery' Fry or "Fries": Testicles—beef, veal, pork, lamb Foie Gras: Enlarged livers from force-fed geese Giblets: Poultry innards: gizzards, heart and liver Gizzards: Stomach of a bird Hog's Maw: Stomach of a pig Kernels: Fat covered gland, found in veal shoulder Lights: Lungs Marrow: The soft center of animal bones, mostly in beef legs, as 'marrowbone' Melt: spleen—pig or calf Mesentery: Membrane holding together the intestines, usually in the case of calves Miltz: Beef spleen from Kosher butchers

Museau de Boeuf: Beef muzzle (French) Oreilles: Ears (French) Ox: Not to be confused with the actual ox animal, ox is a term given to less choice cuts or parts of beef, for example 'oxtail' comes from beef not from an actual ox. Oxtails: Beef tails, also 'ox-tails' Palais de Boeuf: Beef Palate (French) Prairie Oysters: Testicles—beef or veal Rocky Mountain Oysters: Testicles—beef or veal Sow's Maw: Stomach of a pig Sweetbreads: Thymus gland of lamb or calf (veal), (disappears when animals mature) Tripe: Stomach: Cow, calf or lamb Blanket Tripe: first stomach of beef or lamb, has smooth appearance Honeycomb Tripe: second stomach of beef or lamb, has honeycomb appearance Trotters: Feet Vessie: Animal's bladder (French)

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