Chitterlings, affectionately known as chitlins, is not a dish for the faint of heart. The mild taste of this quintessential soul food is hard to describe, and it’s nothing like it smells when cooking. The finished product is oh so good, especially when you serve it with vinegar and hot sauce next to collard greens, fried chicken, and cornbread.
Not everyone gets excited at the thought of eating pig intestines. But that’s not the way it is at my house. And I was astounded to find out that it’s a trendy New Year’s Eve dish.
Now you know we can’t claim the prize for being the first to learn how to cook this delicacy. African, European, and Asian versions outdate the typical soul food version. In fact, some of the best I’ve eaten were in a Chinese restaurant. But people have been fighting to overcome adversity for millenniums, so here is another example of ingenious ways to use what rich people won’t eat.
Get yourself a stool if needed and make yourself comfortable because this will take about 20-30 minutes.
Second wash: Fill the sink with fresh cool water (no baking soda this time), and go through the same process. Drain the chitterlings and put them in a bowl. Your water should look cleaner on the second wash. Discard the dirty water and rinse the sink or tub.
Third wash: Repeat the second wash. Your water should be clearer than before when done. If you think your water could be even cleaner, go ahead and do it a fourth time.
Fresh Cilantro and Garlic Will Dilute Chitlins’ Smell
To eliminate the smell of chitlins, some home cooks cut cilantro and place it inside a cheesecloth before adding the item to the crockpot. It is best to buy fresh cilantro on the day you are planning to prepare the dish.
Discard the cheesecloth after you have drained the pot. The entire process may take a half-hour before the smell is absorbed. Add the chopped onions to the mix and let them boil for 10 minutes.
Others will add cloves of garlic to the crockpot. Relax, your taste buds will not be overwhelmed with the taste of garlic after you take your first spoonful of chitlins from the pot.
Afterward, you can place vegetables in the boiling mix to temper the smell of the garlic.
Cooking Chitlins is a Thorough Process
Remember to re-clean the prep area, colander and sink before beginning the cooking process.
Cut the chitlins into small ( 1/2 to an inch long) pieces before placing them into the crockpot.
Next, you can pour water about an inch high over the chitlins. Add seasonings, chopped onions, sliced green peppers and garlic on top of the chitlins.
Stir all of the ingredients before securing the crockpot’s lid in place. Set the heat setting to high for ten minutes before changing the setting to medium for approximately four hours or until the dish is fully cooked.
Cleaning and Handling Raw Chitterlings:
Soak chitterlings in cold water throughout the cleaning stage. Each chitterling should be examined and run under cold water and all foreign materials should be removed and discarded. Chitterlings should retain some fat, so be careful to leave some on. After each chitterling has been cleaned, soak in two cold water baths for a few minutes. The second water bath should be clearer. If not, soak in one more bath.
Be sure to wash any surfaces with a bleach-based sanitizer and your hands thoroughly with soap to avoid contamination while handling raw chitterlings.
How do you know when chitlins are done?
How long does it take chitlins to cook in a pressure cooker?
Why are my chitterlings mushy?