• Tripe with tomato and fennel. (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel
Often overlooked and underloved, cuts like neck, shin, trotters and offal are not just more economical, but offer huge flavour benefits.
3 Jul 2018 - 12:03 PM  UPDATED 14 Feb 2019 - 4:49 PM

1. Crumbed lamb’s brains with horseradish mayonnaise

If you want to ease yourself into eating a new ingredient, think of rolling it in breadcrumbs, frying it, and serving it with a creamy sauce kind of like training wheels—it helps with accessibility, before you take on anything more challenging. Lamb's brains work particularly well cooked in this way as they're tender and sweet, which contrasts well with the crisp crumbed shell. 

2. Seared chicken livers, sage and Golden Delicious

Earthy chicken livers are cooked up with a sweet, salty, aromatic assortment of flavours. Pair the livers and apples with crusty bread for an elegant entree. 

3. Grilled beef heart kebabs

Treat these hearts with some searing hot stove-top love to keep them tender.  

4. Crunchy pig's ear and morcilla with quail eggs and jamón

If you're not sure about the idea of eating pig's ears, just think of them as meaty-tasting chips. In this case, fancy meaty-tasting chips, as they're served with almond puree, caramelised onion, and a few other ingredients signature of the Andalucian region of Spain. 

5. Japanese pancake with crispy trotters (okonomiyaki)

Pork belly, not trotters, are traditionally used in okonomiyaki, but trotters are cheap and novel, nose-to-tail alternative. They're simmered for a few hours to become tender, then the picked meat is fried in oil before being added to the pancake batter.

6. Beef shin with smoked dulse

Beef shin is generally regarded as a lesser cut because of the high amounts of connective tissue. But what this means is it just needs to be cooked low and slow to break down the fibres. The result is a dreamily rich, tender and moist meat dish. 

7. Beef tongue tacos (tacos de lengua)

Beef tongue is a flavourful cut similar to steak meat, and is popular in many cuisines. In Japan, there's entire "gyutan" (beef tongue) specialty shops. In Mexico, tacos de lengua are a classic way to serve tongue. The tongue is simmered until soft, then grilled until is crisp and dished up with signature Mexican condiments like salsa, lime, avocado and coriander. 

8. Pork neck soup (gamjatang)

A good long and slow cook gives pork neck the time it needs to transform from a muscley, fatty cut to one with a deliciously melting texture. The fragrant and spicy traditional Korean soup, gamjatang, is a perfect way to do just that.

8. Pig’s head terrine with brains, yabbies, shallots and parsley

Ok this might not be an everyday dish - you’ll need to source an entire pigs head - but it’s one that gives you serious nose-to-tail kudos. Pig’s head is loved by chefs because it's full of different porky flavours and textures. 

10. Tripe with tomato and fennel

Like many great dishes and ingredients, tripe was once a dish regarded as the food of paupers and working class, but is now served on the menus of upmarket restaurants. Tripe is like a flavour sponge, soaking up whatever stock it's cooked in; here, it's a bright-tasting brew of tomato, fennel, saffron and chilli.  

11. Orecchiette with duck livers, celery, apple and hazelnuts

A crunchy, creamy and light autumnal meal that's ready in 20 minutes. Orecchiette – “pigs ears” (referring to the shape of the pasta, nothing to do with the ingredients!) – seems like a fitting choice for an offcuts pasta dish. 

More prime cuts
Braised beef cheeks with ginger and lemongrass

This low and slow stew suits Sadie's palate for Asian spices and Matthew's love of European food.

Corned veal tongue with crispy capers and mayonnaise

This is inspired by the flavours of that classic Italian dish, vitello tonnato - veal, tuna, capers, anchovies, bound together with a rich mayonnaise.

Albanian pan-fried liver with potato and herbs (arnavut ciğeri)

Albanians have a fierce reputation in Turkey for their butchery skills, especially in using offal cuts - that’s why this dish is called Albanian liver. It is a very common dish in all meyhanes (bars) around Turkey as the protein-rich liver is ideal to accompany raki, the national drink of Turkey.

Sizzling pig’s ears (sisig)

One of the Philippines' more decadent beer accompaniments, sisig is a spicy mix of braised and charred pig's ears, pork belly and chicken liver, all topped with a little crispy pork crackling.

Porto-style tripe and white bean stew (tripas a moda do porto)

This dish is said to have originated in the 14th century, when supposedly all meat except for offal was shipped out of Porto to feed Portuguese troops in Africa, leaving Porto’s residents to make the most of tripe. It has since become one of the city’s most famous dishes. You will need to soak the beans overnight.