What Are Pork Chitterlings? - VeryMeaty (2023)

Chitlins (or chitterlings, if you’re fancy) are pig intestines that have been cooked. While swine intestines make up the great bulk of chitlins, other animals’ intestines (especially cows) are occasionally used.

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Chitterlings come from what portion of a pig?

On this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, we eat some dubious foods that others would shun, such as pickled pigs’ feet, boiled peanuts, hog’s head cheese, and gator meat, but nothing is quite as truly Southern as chitlins. Chitlins are boiled pig intestines that are fried and served with apple cider vinegar and spicy sauce. This one-of-a-kind delicacy exemplifies one of Southern cooking’s fundamental principles: use what you’ve got.

Is there poop in chitlins?

The feces had been scraped out already. It was now only a matter of peeling away the fatty skin.

Lynn Davis sat on a stool near the sink, holding a strand of pig intestines under a cold-water tap, tugging it apart, then dumping the halves into two separate, mushy mounds, one of which was destined for someone’s dinner table.

“They taste excellent,” the 64-year-old stated, “but everyone has their own taste.”

They are, nonetheless, good in my opinion. From the stench, kids look at them and say, “Oh no, I ain’t doing that.” It’s just the smell. They’re OK otherwise. They are, indeed.

What is the flavor of pork chitterlings?

Chitterlings have an amazing flavor. Their mild flavor, which is unlike any other, appears to be defined by how they are seasoned. They are more tender than bacon and are known as “wrinkle steaks” in some areas. Before I was old enough to grasp what they were, I enjoyed eating chitterlings.

Why should you avoid eating chitterlings?

Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacteria that can cause yersiniosis, a diarrheal illness, can be found in chitterlings. Other foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli, can also be present, thus proper food handling is essential to avoid illness.

(Video) Pig Feet and Chitterlings

Why do chitlins smell so bad?

Chitlinshog big intestines are famed for their unpleasant odor, which is indicative of the waste particles that originally filled the gut, according to Yasuyoshi Hayata and colleagues. Many individuals, however, like the flavor of this southern delicacy. Chitlins are especially popular in the United States during the winter holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, when they are boiled or fried. However, hog large intestine is a year-round staple in Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisines.

Is it healthy to eat chitterlings?

  • Yersinia pestis is a bacteria that can be found in chitlins.
  • Young children are the most vulnerable to Yersinia, but the bacterium can infect anyone. When making chitlins, keep children out of the kitchen.
  • Before, during, and after cooking chitlins, take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
  • After cooking raw chitlins, wash your hands well, especially before touching children or items they may touch or put in their mouth.
  • Raw, uncooked chitlins are not as safe as pre-cooked chitlins.

What does it smell like to eat chitlins?

Annie Marie Murphy, my 82-year-old grandma from Los Angeles, came to see me a few weeks ago. It took a lot of effort to get her on a plane, and much of her visit was spent showing her around the new South.

My grandmother is from Shreveport, Louisiana, but she fled during the Great Migration, as did many other African-Americans. Her family moved from Louisiana to California when she was a tiny child, but her recollections, which are generally associated with food, are still vivid. With the exception of chitlins, many of the things I grew up eating were the same as hers.

Pigs’ tiny intestines are known as chitlins or chitterlings. Chitlins are a soul food delicacy that are typically cooked in a huge pot with onions, peppers, vinegar, and numerous seasonings. However, they aren’t for everyone.

To begin with, they have a decaying corpse odor. Furthermore, the cleaning procedure is a hassle. Consider what is contained within an intestine. Chitlins have a texture similar to boiled soft rubber once cooked. Despite this, they have a large following among Southerners of all stripes.

My grandmother used to come to our house for the holidays and make some of my favorite delicacies, such as sweet potato pie and collard greens, when I was a small child. But the smell in the house would eventually shift from sweet and familiar to revolting, and that’s when I realized she’d started frying chitlins. I’d bolt from the house, literally gagging (yes, they stink that horrible), and refuse to return until the stench had passed. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why my family would crowd around the chitlin pot like children anxious to get their hands on a bowl.

Who in their right mind would want to eat something that smelled so bad? Year after year, I refused to try despite my mother and grandmother’s requests. Strong and direct, “Thank you, but no thank you was always my response.

Years went by without a chitlin incident until I enrolled in culinary school at The New School of Cooking. We studied cuisines from several countries as part of the curriculum, including pt and terrines from France, grilled chicken livers and gizzards from Southeast Asia, and Italian-inspired sweetbreads. I learned to not only appreciate but also to rejoice in these delicacies. I went so far as to start ordering these dishes whenever I saw them in different restaurants. Which got me thinking: if I could appreciate offal in other cultures, why was it so difficult for me to do so in my own?


I asked my grandmother to prepare chitlins when she came to my front door this fall. After years of refusing to eat hers, her answer was, of course, surprising. “She looked at me with a mixture of incredulity and bemusement as she inquired, “What do you want me to do, baby?” I reassured her that I did, in fact, want her to cook a pot of chitlins in my small condo, which would, of course, make my entire home smell terrible.

We set out for the market in search of a tub of pork innards, which we discovered frozen at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. The real effort began when we had gathered all of the other ingredients and defrosted the chitlins.

Cleaning chitlins is not only time-consuming, but it’s also disgusting. The intestines are slick as expected, and while their packaging claims that they are pre-cleaned guts, there is still a lot of work to be done.

At this point, watching my grandmother in the kitchen is like watching a maestro at work. She spends at least an hour bending over my kitchen sink, carefully peeling the stiff membrane-like outer layer away from the intestines, and then she starts rinsing the contents with cool water until everything is clear.

I’m not going to lie, the smell in here was already unbearable, and it only got worse when the chitlins were combined with peppers from my garden, onions, vinegar, bay leaves, and black peppercorns in a huge stock pot. It smelled precisely how I recalled it from my childhood, and I really questioned whether I had made a grave error for over two hours.

Outside our front door, on the balcony, and down the stairs, the home reeked to high heaven. The aroma of what we were making followed me wherever I went. I half expected my neighbors to file a complaint or show up at my door enraged, demanding to know what I was cooking. Thankfully, the stench dissipated after three hours (or we were accustomed to it), and it was soon time for my grandma to ladle a generous portion of chitlins into a tiny bowl.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that smell, taste, and texture are inextricably linked for me. On every level, chitlins test my palette.

I wish I could tell you that eating this batch of chitlins made me change my opinion, but I can’t. They are simply unappealing to me. I do, however, respect them. Because of chitlins, I have a cultural connection to fellow African-Americans that I would not have otherwise. More immediately, I’m grateful that chitlins are the reason my grandma is in my kitchen, sharing childhood stories and teaching me (however reluctantly) how to cook a soul food staple.

(Video) Porkintestine Pork Chitterlings 🥓🍠🍲 #shorts

Is there a difference between menudo and chitlins?

That’s how my partner describes his decade of eating chitlins, which he quit doing when he was 12 years old. That was the point at which he realized he needed to question his family what he had been consuming all these years.

“My mama and grandparents started laughing,” he says.

‘That’s the pig guts,’ my mother explained. The guts of a pig.’ ‘You’ve been eating them all these years,’ my grandmother remarked. You’re going to be alright.’ But no, I was finished.

There were heaping tables of food in practically every room of the home the first time I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family, making egress routes impossible. “Did you grab some chitlins?” his mother said as I navigated the vast buffet.

I hadn’t done so. I had to disclose right then and there to her that I had never tried them before. My Norwegian great-grandmother set the table with oyster stew on the holiday table, not collards, when I was a multiracial lady born and reared in Minnesota. There will be no chitlins in this pale, pungent stew cooked in a Crock-Pot. I put on my best poker face and claimed I was up for the challenge.

Chitterlings (also known as chitlins) are a delicacy in several countries, such as menudo in Mexico and andouillette in France. Regardless of whether you’ve eaten, intend to eat, or flatly refuse to eat pig’s tiny intestines, the dish is strongly associated with African-American culture, owed in large part to slavery’s legacy: Slaves in Africa were given pig intestines after their masters had dined “high on the hog,” a phrase derived from the notion that the “higher section of the pig’s body you were eating from, the better off you were economically.”

“They didn’t want all that stuffthe guts, the cow stomach,” my boyfriend’s mother, Maudessa Rich-Harris, recalls. She, on the other hand, grew up adoring chitlins, even though she despised the time-consuming (and undeniably stinky) task of scrubbing trash out of them.

According to Kimberly Barnes, presenter of the black vegan podcast Do Fries Come With That Convo?, “the conversation was about the scent.” She claims that chitlins were such a staple on her family’s holiday table that she doesn’t recall ever having a talk about them, aside from their distinct odor.



Are chitterlings considered a meat? ›

Eaten all year long, chitterlings are especially popular during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's holidays. They are one of the meat products inspected by United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

What kind of meat is chitlins? ›

Chitlins, also called chitterlings, are the large intestines of swine (hogs) but can also come from calf or veal. Chitlins are typically either slow-cooked or fried, but because they are labor-intensive to clean and prepare, chitlins are often reserved for special occasions.

What is the texture of chitlins? ›

Their texture is similar to calamari (squid). After lengthy boiling, chitlins sometimes are battered and fried and commonly are served with cider vinegar and hot sauce as condiments.

Do they make beef chitterlings? ›

Chitterlings (/ˈtʃɪt(ə)lɪŋz/), sometimes spelled chitlins or chittlins, are the small intestines of domestic animals. They are usually made from pigs' intestines. They may also be filled with a forcemeat to make sausage. Intestine from other animals, such as beef, lamb, and goat is also used for making chitterling.

Why do people eat chitterlings? ›

The history of chitterlings in Southern culinary traditions began when, at hog butchering time, slaves were given the leftovers by their slavers, and had to make do with neck bones, snouts, feet and other less desirable parts. The slaves used the intestines to make a dish that became a staple in soul food cooking.

What is intestine meat called? ›

Beef intestines, also known as tripe, are not common in mainstream American cooking, but they are a dietary staple in other cultures, including Latin America and China. Often served braised, stewed or in a soup, tripe is an inexpensive source of protein.

Why are pork chitlins so high? ›

McClain told us it's because of labor shortages at meat processing plants. He says processing the pig intestines that become chitlins is labor intensive and is one of the least desirable jobs at the plant.

What race eats chitterlings? ›

While many people know of Chitlin's from the Black Southern Palate, a form of Chitlin's are actually prepared in most cultures including Europe, Asia and South America.

Are chitlins chewy? ›

A food made popular in the southern U.S. that is made from the small intestines of hogs. The intestines are slow cooked over several hours in an attempt to tenderize the meat and reduce the chewy texture of this organ.

Are chitlins tasty? ›

The taste of chitterlings is indescribable. Their mild flavor, comparable to nothing else, seems to be defined by how they are seasoned. They are more tender than bacon and in some parts are called "wrinkle steaks." I liked to eat chitterlings as a child, before I was old enough to understand what they were.

Do chitlins smell when cooked? ›

Typically braised in a large pot with onions, peppers, vinegar and various seasonings, chitlins are a soul food delicacy. But they're not for everyone. First of all, they smell like a rotting corpse.

What is chitlin loaf made of? ›

Chitlin Loaf is probably the easiest and best way to try them. Printable recipe included. Whether you call them Chitlins, or Chitterlings, they are still hog intestines.

What part of the pig is hog maws? ›

Hog maw is the stomach of a pig. More specifically, it is the exterior muscular wall of the stomach organ (with interior, lining mucosa removed) which contains no fat if cleaned properly.

What is the difference between hog maws and chitterlings? ›

For those of you that do not know what chitterlings or hog maws are I'm here to let you in on what they are. Chitterlings are the pig's intestine and hog maws are part of the cow's stomach. Now, the smell is not very pleasant, but the taste is very well worth it.

What part of the pig did slaves eat? ›

Slaves were forced to eat the animal parts their masters threw away. They cleaned and cooked pig intestines and called them "chitterlings." They took the butts of oxen and christened them "ox tails." Same thing for pigs' tails, pigs' feet, chicken necks, smoked neck bones, hog jowls and gizzards.

What food did African slaves eat? ›

Maize, rice, peanuts, yams and dried beans were found as important staples of slaves on some plantations in West Africa before and after European contact. Keeping the traditional “stew” cooking could have been a form of subtle resistance to the owner's control.

Do Mexicans eat chitterlings? ›

Tripas, in Mexican cuisine (known as chitterlings in English-speaking countries), are the small intestines of farm animals that have been cleaned, boiled and grilled. Tripas are used as filling for tacos, and then dressed with condiments such as cilantro, chopped onions, and chile sauce.

Is eating pig intestines healthy? ›

Chitlins, which are pork intestines and sometimes called chitterlings, can be contaminated with Yersinia enterocolitica and other harmful germs that can make you sick. That's why you should take precautions when you're making chitlins or another dish that uses pork intestines – or any time you handle raw pork.

What do butchers do with intestines? ›

The intestines are washed and cleaned to serve as natural casings for sausage products. The carcasses are then split down the centre of the backbone into two “sides,” which are placed in a cooler (called a “hot box”) for approximately 24 hours before fabrication into meat cuts.

What is it called when intestines eat each other? ›

Intussusception is a rare, serious disorder in which one part of the intestine slides inside an adjacent part. Intussusception (in-tuh-suh-SEP-shun) is a serious condition in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine.

What are the cleanest chitterlings? ›

Aunt Bessie's hand cleaned pork chitterlings are the cleanest chitterlings currently available for purchase in the U.S. marketplace. These chitterlings are so clean that you truly only need to rinse, cook and enjoy.

What do you put in chitterlings to cut the smell? ›

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2010 — With chitlins about to make their annual appearance on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day menus, scientists have good news for millions of people who love that delicacy of down-home southern cooking, but hate the smell.

Can I get chitterlings shipped? ›

Available for you and your family's special holiday dinners is our hand cleaned Hog Maws. Hand cleaned and cooked chitterlings an maws ready to heat and eat. Now shipping in our newly developed leak proof, tamper proof containers. Hand cleaned and cooked chitterlings ready to heat and eat.

What foods did slaves invent? ›

"Dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, pepper pot, the method of cooking greens — Hoppin' John (a dish made with greens and pork)," Kelley Deetz, director of programming at Stratford Hall, told VOA via email.

What state is known for chitterlings? ›

History of Chitterlings/Chitlins:

In 1966, the town of Salley, South Carolina, inaugurated the annual Chitlin' Strut. The first festival attracted about a hundred people. Today the festival draws about 70,000 people.

Who started cooking chitterlings? ›

Enslaved people had to sustain themselves using meat scraps—which they transformed into savory, satisfying dishes—from their enslavers' butchered livestock. One such piece of offal was chitlins, or pig intestines. But chitlins came to represent more than sustenance. During the era of Jim Crow laws, they were a code.

Is chitterlings good for diabetics? ›

Conclusions: The preparation or consumption of chitterlings by diabetic patients and other chronically ill persons can result in potentially life-threatening infectious complications.

Are chitlins and menudo the same thing? ›

Chitterlings (also known as chitlins) are both a peasant food and a delicacy the world over, like menudo in Mexico and andouillette in France.

Do Walmart have chitterlings? ›

IBP Trusted Excellence Pork Chitterlings, 10 lb (Frozen) - Walmart.com.

Why do you put a potato in chitterlings? ›

Use potatoes to absorb the smell of the chitterlings while cooking. 10 Lbs Chitterlings1 Large Onion 2 Medium Carrots2 Medium Stalks of Celery5 Medium Potatoes2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes1 tsp SaltServe Chitterlings with Hot Sauce and Bird Peppers that have been canned in vinegar.

Can you deep fry chitlins? ›

Deep-fried chitterlings are a decadent dish that is common during the holidays, served alongside hog maws—pork stomach—cornbread, rice, hot sauces, vinegar, collard greens, and fried chicken. Not for the faint of heart!

How do you know when chitterlings are done? ›

Place cleaned chitterlings in a 6-quart pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil; add onion and season with salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until chitterlings are clear to white in color and reach desired tenderness, 3 to 4 hours.

Why is it called chitlin? ›

In Middle English, the term chitte refers to a young animal. Chitling is used in the southern United States to describe the smallest pig in a litter. The word chitlin is probably a regional pronunciation of the more proper chitterling.

Are chitlins cleaned? ›

So even after a machine removes the feces, chitlins have to be thoroughly washed and boiled for hours before they can be eaten, and any surfaces they came into contact with need to be cleaned with chlorine or bleach.

Are chitlins like pork rinds? ›

Chitlins might look similar to our favorite pork products, but be warned - these are made from the intestines of pigs, so if you're easily grossed out, maybe go find another snack...and go into another room, because these babies have a strong smell.

Does hog meat have worms? ›

Three parasites pose a public health risk from the ingestion of raw or undercooked pork, namely: Trichinella spiralis, Taenia solium and Toxoplasma gondii.

Is hog meat better than pig meat? ›

Wild boar is very lean and much lower in cholesterol and calories than pork, while containing higher levels of protein. Because they are wild animals, wild boar enjoy a robust nature and are far less prone to illness and disease than domesticated pigs.

What is Cajun Ponce? ›

The southern Louisiana Ponce is a kind of sausage made by fresh pork, spices, rice, and vegetables sewn up inside a pig's stomach and baked or steamed for several hours. As the stomach contracts, the mixture becomes taut like a sausage and it is sliced and eaten cold or reheated.

Do Piggly Wiggly have pork chitterlings? ›

Pork Chitterlings | Specialty Cuts | Wade's Piggly Wiggly.

What kind of meat is hog maw? ›

The "hog maw" to which Andy, one of the country's best meat chefs, refers to is pork stomach, a thing so gnarly that it's rarely seen even on the pork-centric menus of Southern lardcore restaurants.

Does Aldi sell pork chitterlings? ›

ALDI 11/16, Southern Chef Pork Chitterlings $5.99 For 5-lbs.

Do you put bleach in chitterlings? ›

After your chitterlings are thoroughly cleaned, douse them up and down in clean water. I put a little bleach in my first go round of dousing water, about ¼ c to 3 gallons of water. I douse them about 5 minutes then empty the water and repeat twice without the bleach, to remove all traces of bleach.

Are pig intestines considered meat? ›

Organ meats, also known as “offal,” are the consumable organs of animals. Organ meats include livers, hearts, brains, and intestines, to name a few.

What are the healthiest organ meats? ›

Beef liver is the most nutrient-dense organ meat. It's a powerful source of copper, vitamin B12, B6, and vitamin A, which takes care of your eye health and reduces diseases that cause inflammation, Alzheimer's, and arthritis.

What is chitlins slang for? ›

[US black/Southern pron. of SE chitterlings, the intestines, usu. of pigs] (US, Southern) the bowels.

Is pig intestine healthy? ›

Relatively rich in vitamins and minerals (5.8%/cal) - a good source of Zinc. Contains a low amount of risky components that may include sodium (0%/oz). Good source of proteins (28% of DV/100g).

What part of the pig are hot dogs made of? ›

“The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products like hot dogs are muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other slaughter by-products.”

What part of the pig is meat? ›

There are five sections of the pig that yield edible cuts: pork shoulder, pork belly, pork loin, pork butt (or ham), and the head. From those sections, the butcher can offer sausage, bacon, spare ribs, brisket, ribs, steaks, pork chops, pork cutlets, coppa, presa, secreto, and tenderloin.

What are the best animal organs to eat? ›

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.

What is the cleanest healthiest meat? ›

Liver. Liver, particularly beef liver, is one of the most nutritious meats you can eat. It's a great source of high-quality protein; vitamins A, B12, B6; folic acid; iron; zinc; and essential amino acids.

What are the tastiest organs? ›

A List of the Best Organ Meats to Eat
  • Heart.
  • Kidney.
  • Liver.
  • Sweetbread.
  • Tongue.
  • Tripe.

Are gizzards good for you? ›

Chicken gizzards are one of the healthiest portions of chicken. Rich in protein, they are also great for digestion and are a high source of vitamins. If you're wondering what a “gizzard” is, it is the stomach of birds. Here lie all the nutrients that your body needs.

What nationality eats chitlins? ›

While many people know of Chitlin's from the Black Southern Palate, a form of Chitlin's are actually prepared in most cultures including Europe, Asia and South America.

What do Mexicans call chitlins? ›

TRIPAS,in Mexican cuisine (known as chitterlings are the small intestines that have been cleaned,boiled and grilled. Beef tripas tacos at Armando's...

Are chitlins gross? ›

Prepared, as you may know, from the intestines of a pig, chitlins have the distinct reputation of smelling pervasively foul before, during, and after cooking. Some even leave the house, relying on those with stronger stomachs to finish the job.

What medicine is in pig intestine? ›

Defibrotide is a complex mixture of short DNA fragments – purified from the cells of pig intestines. It's currently used to treat blockages in the liver's blood vessels after stem cell transplantation.

Is eating organ meat good for you? ›

Organ Meats Are Highly Nutritious

In fact, most are more nutrient-dense than muscle meat. They are particularly rich in B-vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folate. They are also rich in minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, and important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K.

Is Liverwurst good for you? ›

Liverwurst's nutritional value

Liverwurst can be a good source of healthy fats, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, including Vitamin A and B12. The offal-nature also brings good amounts of iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.


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