We’ve had a P.S. post this week, now we’re going to have a B.S. post. Well, maybe I’ll need to keep working on that category.. I meant to say it’s a post courtesy of my brother. Roger has always had a lot of interesting hobbies that included smoking meats he’s killed (game), bodybuilding (he won lots of trophies), parachuting from planes, and eating bugs. We won’t go into the bug thing, but it was recent. We will go into chitterlings. That was his latest fascination.
When Roger first texted me and asked if I’d ever done anything with chitterlings, I was confused by the bag in the picture into thinking the bag was full of skins. I didn’t really think about the words. I thought he was going to make pork rinds. Although I understand those, I just would never eat them. As fond as I am of pork in its many forms, I won’t eat piggy skin.
Ironically, when I went down to breakfast that day, my P.S. (Pancake Supplier/hubby) had the day off and had breakfast ready for us: blueberry pancakes and bacon. Oh no. Bacon. I’d been thinking pig skins were wrong, and now I was going to eat pig belly for breakfast. Normally thrilled, I was rethinking the bacon thing. I mentioned to my P.S. that Roger was making chitterlings today and he laughed. He said “Good for him, he’s working from ass to snout through the inside!”
I frowned and asked if I was wrong, they were pig skin, right? P.S. laughed and said “Uh no, chitterlings would be intestines!” The bacon I’d just eaten protested by rolling around in my stomach. Wow, I had to rethink this. Roger was braver than I’d thought. I didn’t know anyone who’d ever eaten them, let alone made them. What. In. The. Hell.
I texted Roger back and said I was confused, I’d thought they were something else, but I was impressed and would he send me pictures and the recipe with comments so that I could blog it? He agreed and did a great job of photographing his process. Almost too good; it looks a bit too “real” for me. But I’m all about checking out new recipes, even if they’re from a brother who is going to eat the part of the pig that the feces comes out. Let’s just call it like it is.
Roger commented that he was taking great comfort in the fact that the bag declared they were “double washed”. I wondered at who had such a job, and hoped they were well-paid with a lot of good benefits as well. My second thought was to wonder if some bags are sold after just a single wash. Then mostly I was trying not to think of anything that involved washing pig poop chutes. I was just going to get through breakfast and to my normal job where I don’t have to wash anything.
His next text reported his first step was to put the chitterlings into a pan and then said, “What’s next…dunno…for now cleaning and soaking with some red wine vinegar…definitely a barnyard smell at this point… I am plowing ahead..” I silently rooted him on from my breakfast table a little under 300 miles away. Not even my sensitive nose can smell that far. Thank goodness.
After soaking them for awhile, my next text from Roger was more graphic, “Peeling the membrane off… easy to do… little smelly… oh what the hell am I doing….” I was laughing and choking. I could just imagine my brother’s face and nose all wrinkled up, his arms in water up to his elbows, peeling the pig tubes. The picture he sent showed his work.
Awhile later he was done peeling the membranes from what I assume is the “meat” of the matter. He sent a photo update showing the membranes and meat now in separate bowls and frankly they looked the same. Gross.
Awhile later he sent another text. With his new picture, he showed the ingredients that went into his adapted recipe. I mentioned earlier that he did a great job on the photos. He’s got the “assemble the ingredients and photograph them” down well! He’s maybe a natural at blogging!
Roger’s text said, “Well this is what I came up with, based on checking around on the internet. About 4 lbs of chitterlings, two whole onions, some red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic, seasoned salt and sriracha… going on high in the crock… in the garage… more later”. I laughed that the crockpot was banished to the garage, but thought that was actually a great idea. All along he’d stressed how it smelled so much like a barnyard, and outside was probably best. Uff da, crazy brother!
When I asked if he could give me a recipe with measurements he said he really didn’t measure. (That is a family trait; Linda says that about her creations too). He did offer that “the potato is supposed to absorb the barnyard-y odor… not sure it worked 100%”. Again I gulped and had memories of the only pig farm I’ve been to, which was in Iowa about 1979. That smell sticks with you a long time.
Hours later I was home from the office and done with dinner when I got Roger’s text. He reported his final assessment: “The end result… I did add a couple of carrots, a whole onion (not eaten) and some ginger paste… well you can tell where they come from. After 6 hours in the crockpot they were tender…. good? Well if I grew up eating them, maybe. At least I can say I tried them”.
He didn’t say they were awful, or inedible. I really am impressed he gave a pretty positive spin to something that is so negative in my mind. I agree with Roger, however, that sometimes there are things we grow up eating that nobody could understand unless they’ve learned to accept it; it becomes their comfort food. Although we are half Norwegian, we still can’t understand my Dad’s obsession with eating lutefisk the month of December every year. He is full-blooded
lutefisk Norwegian, and we know it is the comfort food of his childhood. Speaking of bad smells… that one is.
Somewhere out there are probably many people who know exactly how to make chitterlings and can’t wait to make their next batch. That is not Roger anymore, his curiosity is sated. I will tattle and say he also made chicken for dinner as a backup and his wife appreciated that.
I can’t resist saying I have often jokingly said something “tastes like ass”. I never meant to actually check that out, and I appreciate that Roger did it for me. I’ll take his word on it. And I also thank him for now having the category on my blog, “Chitterlings”. That’s something I never would have expected.