December 05, 2011
Pig Throat Anyone? Eating the Offal Bits
By David Draper
In the town near where I goose hunt, there’s a little taquería that serves the best burritos for just $3. You can get them filled with just about any traditional Mexican meat you can imagine—from abodaba to tripe—with my favorite being la lengua, or tongue. Favorite, that is, until last week when I saw a new ingredient listed—buche, which was explained to me in broken English as being part of the pig’s stomach. Well, come to find out, it’s actually esophagus, but I was intrigued enough to try it, and let me tell you, it was delicious. So much so that I’m more excited for my next buche burrito than I am for the actual goose hunting.
As I devoured the burrito on the drive back home, I got to thinking about all the other parts of wild game that are probably edible, but that we don’t think to keep. If a pig’s throat is so tasty, shouldn’t the same be true of a deer’s? And what about the rest of its internal organs? I know a lot of people—especially among the older generation of hunters—value the heart and liver above any other part of the deer. I have a heart in my freezer that needs to be enjoyed, but I tend to reach for the other tastier, and let’s face it, more familiar steaks and chops when I’m digging dinner out of there. And I still harbor a great fear of liver from being force-fed it as a child.
I know nose-to-tail eating is all the rage among the cool kids who are using what’s known as the offal—an animal’s organs and entrails—to create some inspired and interesting dishes. Duck tongue hash, anyone?
So maybe we should hitch our horses to this bandwagon. Or maybe there are some Wild Chef readers that are already cooking and eating this way. Surely some of you bird hunters keep the hearts, livers, and gizzards? If you’re an offal eater, I’d like to hear about it.