Number 70: Chitterlings

8 Mar

My initial thought when I read number 70 on the list was, “what on earth are chitterlings?”  After about 6 seconds of research, I learned that chitterlings are what us un-fancy people call “chitlins!”  Which led me to think, “who on earth actually calls them chitterlings?”  Probably British people.  As they sip tea out of solid gold teacups.  Because that’s what all British people do.

As a Northerner, I have never had the pleasure of trying chitlins, nor have I ever seen them or even read their name on a menu.  This was an issue, as I had no idea where to get them.  Luckily, my buddies at Dorfler’s came through for me and got me a pound of ’em.  And when they told me that the chitlins were already cleaned, I nearly jumped for joy.  Because chitlins are pig intestines, they need to be cleaned meticulously.  If you don’t clean them properly, you basically end up with poop in your food…which ends up with you being bedridden.  Sorry to just come out with it like that, but it’s the truth.  I didn’t feel like I had the expertise to successfully de-poop the chitlins, so I was pumped to learn that somebody had already done it for me!

Although I knew that chitlins were intestines, I didn’t expect them to look like intestines.  And that’s exactly what they looked like.  They were thin, white, rubbery tubes of meat and, to be honest, they were horrifying.  I started the cooking process by boiling and re-boiling the chitlins a few times, just to make sure they were sparkling clean.  They let off a thick white froth when they boiled, which was a little scary, and after boiling a couple times, they had shrunk down to less than half of what they were.

After that, I added some water, onions, bell peppers, garlic powder, and Cajun seasoning (this was kind of an amalgam of all the different recipes I looked at).  I slowly cooked the chitlins for about 3 hours until they were fork-tender and ready to go.  I put the chitlins on a bed of white rice, mainly because I had no idea how else to serve them.

I think the texture of chitlins is easier to describe than the flavor.  They were very tender, soft, thin, and stretchy…pretty much how you’d imagine intestines.  I don’t think a lot of people would love them.  They didn’t really have a distinct punch-you-in-the-face kind of flavor; they just seemed to take on the flavors of the ingredients I had cooked them with.

I don’t know if they were “meh” because I cooked them wrong or just because they’re a “meh” kind of food.  Once I started eating them, though, I didn’t stop, which says something.  Dan spat his out before he even started chewing, which also says something.  Overall, I think they were pretty underwhelming, but I think I need to try some real down-home Southern chitlins (made by someone who isn’t as clueless as me) before I make a final judgment.

P.S. Forgive me for subjecting you to these hideous photos.  They’re awful and I’m well aware of that!


4 Responses to “Number 70: Chitterlings”

  1. IntenseGuy March 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    If its the same to everyone else, I’d just as soon have my “chitlins” wrapped around a saugage.


  2. Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic March 9, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    The way of the South I believe is .. When in doubt, deep fry the hell out of it. I believe most people down here in Alabama if they eat them, eat them deep fried and served with collard greens and lots of hot sauce.

  3. Laura in Cancun March 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m from the south and have never had chitlins… maybe it’s more of a Deep South kinda thing.

    They look nice when they’re cooked. But raw, ew!

  4. Cathy March 30, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    I don’t think I could do it. Any of it. I couldn’t handle them, or cook them or eat them. You are much braver than I.

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