Variety Meats, the Most Valuable- Yet Undervalued- Parts of an Animal
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
If you are like me, you think of the phrase 'tongue to tail eating' as a great aspiration you hope to achieve some day. I mean, after all, if we want to be truly sustainable eaters, and minimize waste in our food supply chain we will have to eat every possible part of the animals we harvest. Right? Right! I had this thought the other day, as I often do, when I was helping my friends at Balzan Beef in Wheatland, butcher a grass-finished steer. The animal was beautiful, and the meat was dark and gorgeous-looking and even delicious-smelling.
You know an animal was raised right if processing them makes you hungry...
The Balzans saved the head and the hide to create beautiful pieces of home décor (like we do with our animals too), but nobody wanted to claim the organ meats. So I did. I have eaten organ meats before. In fact, there is nothing better to break up the Wyoming-mid-winter slump of low-nutrients and minimal sunlight-on-the-skin than nutrient dense organ meats.
I thoroughly enjoy a Lamb Heart Omelet, or a Pork Liver Topped Homemade Pizza, or fresh Rocky Mountain Oysters battered in egg and panko and lightly seared in tallow or olive oil, any day of the week. But one thing I have never tried- oddly enough- is beef tongue.
If you have ever held a beef tongue in your hands, you would recall that it is quite the cut of meat. I wouldn't say it looks appetizing until you know just what amazing potential lies within that thick, scratchy exterior.
I decided to make beef tongue enchiladas, because I remember my Mom talking about the way a slow-cooked beef tongue tasted when her Mother would prepare it. I wanted to sort of resurrect a family tradition I guess... I was curious, and felt called to not let this large, beautiful, spotted, longhorn tongue go to waste! This tongue provided nourishment for the steer who's meat would provide nourishment for the Balzan family, and it would lastly provide me nourishment too, which would in tern give me the energy to raise more nourishment for others like you. The thought of that was pretty cool, but the recipe ended up even cooler!
Here it is! My recipe for simultaneous beef tongue enchiladas and beef bone broth:
You HAVE to try these enchiladas. They were unbelievable!
I have never had better ones; this meat was PERFECT for this dish, and the bone broth turned out DELIGHTFUL too! I don't know why I have waited this long to try this, but I sure hope you don't have to go any longer without realizing the utter perfection that is slow-cooked-beef-tongue, along with other organ meats that our culture generally discards.
Why is it that we discard the most nutritious parts of the animal? The more I learn about food, the more I am baffled at American eating habits. No wonder approximately one-half of American adults have at least one preventable chronic disease! (https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview) Organ meats provide a significantly higher amount of Vitamin B12 (up to 1386% of the daily needed amount!!!), Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin B6, than any other meat found on the animal. That's better than the average multi-vitamin! All of the nutrients I just listed tend to be under consumed in America according to the Oregon State study I linked to above. Personally, I find they help me and several of our customers vary our diets nutritionally so that when we just can't get enough fresh produce in the winter time- we can just FEEL better. Steaks/roasts and potatoes can only get you so far in the long, dark, depths of winter- especially when you are trying to eat locally. There isn't much for locally-grown produce in Wyoming in February...
So, my friend, are you brave enough to try out some variety meats?
Maybe start out with a tongue, and see where the culinary journey for ethical, resourceful, and flavorful eatery takes you! Reply to this email to order your variety/organ meats for Tuesday or Friday Delivery this week. We have beef, pork, and chicken organ meats in stock now! Ready to jump in and try it all? Try our pre-packaged Variety Meat Box which includes sliced liver, fileted heart, tongue, and bones for making delicious and nutritious broth. What are you waiting for? Prime pasture-finished nutrition and flavor are waiting to be delivered right to your door. I can't wait for you to try these underrated meats and change the trends of wanton waste and poor health in our country! -BJ and the Taste of the Wind Crew