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Pork FAQs

What are offalls? (pictured - pork chitterlings)

By Bob Oros

Offall is a culinary term used to refer to the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of organs, but includes most internal organs other than muscles or bones. People in some cultures shy away from offal as food, while others use it as everyday food, or even in delicacies that command a high price.

For example, "hog maw" is the stomach of a pig. More specifically, it is the lining of the stomach, it is very muscular and contains no fat, if cleaned properly. It can be found in soul food, Chinese, Pennsylvania Dutch, Scottish, and Italian dishes. In addition, it can be prepared in various ways including stewed, fried, baked, and broiled.

Another example, "chitterlings or chit'lins" are the intestines of young pigs, cleaned and stewed and then frequently battered and fried.

Chitlin's are considered a delicacy (a special and desirable food) in South Carolina and other parts of the South. But chitterlings must be prepared carefully. They must be soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several changes of cool water, and repeatedly picked clean, by hand, of extra fat and specks. They are then boiled and simmered until tender.

Chitlin's can be prepared different ways. Standard recipes call for simmering the chitlin's for three to five hours in water seasoned with salt, black pepper, and perhaps hot peppers, along with vinegar and an onion. But everyone has a different recipe.