Beef - Variety Meats

Variety Meats

Variety meats include some of the organs and extremities. Some variety meats are readily available in food stores and most are available from a butcher or specialty meat market, but may require special ordering. They are very perishable, so if they are not going to be used within 24 hours of purchasing, they should be frozen immediately.


Beef liver has a rich, intense flavor, but is high in cholesterol.


The heart has a rich flavor and is best prepared with braising or stewing because of the toughness of the meat.


Beef kidneys are tough and have a slightly bitter flavor. They are also as high in cholesterol as liver.


Tripe is the edible lining of the stomach. It is most often obtained from the first three of the four stomachs of beef cattle: rumen, reticulum, and omasum. The fourth stomach, the abomasum, is also used, but much less often. The rumen is known as flat, smooth, or blanket tripe; the reticulum is known as honeycomb or pocket tripe; and the omasum is known as book, Bible, or leaf tripe.

Before it is sold, tripe is thoroughly washed and it is often bleached. It is also sometimes sold partially cooked to save time for the home cook because tripe is extremely tough and requires lengthy periods of slow cooking to tenderize it. Tripe can be cooked as is and served as a main dish or it can be added to casseroles and stews.


Tongue is often poached or braised and can be ground or sliced and served in sandwiches. It is available fresh, cured, or smoked.


The oxtail has an intense flavor and is often used to enhance soups and stews.

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