Chitterlings are cleaned, prepared and cooked pigs' intestines.
The intestines are turned inside out, scraped and cleaned, then cut into lengths or braided. They are then sometimes brined overnight.
The intestines are then cooked in boiling salted water for 30 minutes (giving off a very pronounced, pungent smell.)
Chitterlings can be sold by the length braided, or sold by weight, or made into slabs in a jelly of the liquid from their cooking. Sometimes weight or slab options will include some pig stomach (maw.)
The ready-to-sell product will be off-white to grey to pink, and be ready to eat.
You can eat cold with mustard or vinegar on them. They can be boiled or fried. Heat them by frying in grease, or by simmering.
They can also be stuffed.
Pigs' intestines can be used as sausage skins.
Chitterlings are popular in the southern United States, where they were traditionally a food for poor whites and blacks.
In France, they are fried and served with vinegar and parsley.
Chitterlings are also popular in South-West England. Down Derry in England is chopped up and sautéed chitterlings mixed with mashed potato and formed into dumplings
"Item No. 728 - Pork Chitterlings - Chitterlings are comprised of the hog's large intestine and may include the bung. Chitterlings may be slit or whole (as specified), free of holes and a pinkish beige color. Purchasers may request chitterlings to be cut into specified lengths." -- USDA Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (1993)
Literature & Lore
The word "Chitterling" dates back to at least the 1200s in English
Aka Chitlins in the American South.
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