Chitterlings are the severed part of a pig’s small intestines. They are one of the popular Southern specialties that are also known as chitlins. In this review, we have elaborated the entire cleaning procedure that has to be followed for preparing chitterlings in a hygienic way.
- Purchase Fresh Chitterlings
Always buy chitterlings from a busy meat shop that supplies freshly butchered animal parts. You can find such outlets at supermarkets or meat markets.
- If you want to prepare 3 pounds of chitterlings you need to buy at least 5 pounds. This is because unlike other meat products chitterlings tend to shrink when they are boiled or fried.
- Most of the meat shops claim to sell pre-cleaned chitterlings. However, you should never compromise on your cleaning process. Even if you buy processed chitterlings you should clean it thoroughly.
- Keep Out of Children’s Reach
Chitterlings are made of small intestines of a pig. Hence, they may have a high degree of contaminants stuck to their surfaces. This includes bacteria and microbes that are invisible to naked eyes.
- When you bring chitterlings home, make sure that kids are kept away from the cleaning area.
- While handling and cleaning chitterlings do not touch any other food containers or baby food.
- After cleaning chitterlings, sanitize the sink and countertop that have come in direct contact with chitterlings. Keep your kids away until you clean and sanitize your hands and kitchen.
- Wash the Chitterlings
Cleaning and preparing chitterlings require lots of patients as there are several stages in this process.
- Wash the chitterlings thoroughly under running tap water. Place them in a bowl filled with warm water.
- Add a tablespoon of salt to the water and mix with hand until the salt particles dissolve. Salt is an excellent antimicrobial agent that can kill most of the common bacteria.
- Cut a lemon into half and squeeze out the entire juice into the bowl. Leave the chitterlings in this solution for half an hour. This would not only clean out all the impurities but also reduce the unpleasant smell of raw meat.
- Boil for 5 Minutes
One of the easiest ways to clean and disinfect your chitterlings is to boil them in water. You should never skip this step even if you are buying cleaned and processed chitterlings.
- Heat water in a large pot and add all the chitterlings pieces. Once the water starts to boil you can add a teaspoon of salt. Adding salt at this stage can make your chitterlings mildly salty. So you can skip this step if you want to avoid the saltiness.
- After boiling for 5 minutes, you can cut the flame. Allow the water to cool before removing all chitterlings from the water.
- While you wait for the water to cool make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly using an antiseptic soap.
- Clean Your Kitchen
Now that you have boiled your chitterlings, you can consider them to be fairly free from all sorts of dangerous bacteria and parasites.
- At this stage, you have to sanitize your kitchen and sink using a kitchen cleaning solution or a safe floor cleaner that works well on microbes.
- Note that, floor cleaners are not suitable for countertop areas that are often used for handling food items. For cleaning such spaces, you can prepare a mixture of bleach and water and wipe the area using a cloth.
- Examine the Chitterlings
Even after boiling the insides of your chitterlings may contain certain unwanted debris like fecal matter, hair, or dead worms.
- Drain all the water content from your chitterlings using a colander. Now examine every piece of your chitterlings by turning them inside out.
- After cleaning all the debris, rinse the chitterlings using cold water. Keep rinsing until they look absolutely clean.
- Chop the Chitterlings
In order to cook your favorite dish using chitterlings, you need to chop them into small pieces. This makes it easier to cook as well as refrigerate for later use.
- Ideally, you can cut the chitterlings into small 1-inch pieces. This makes it a perfect size for preparing soups.
- After cutting, clean the cutting board and knife used for chopping the chitterlings. Also, wash your hands thoroughly before you proceed with the cooking.
- Marinate in Vinegar
Vinegar is an excellent antifungal and antibacterial agent. It is an important ingredient often used for cleaning and flavoring various types of meats.
- Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar in a bowl of water and immerse the pieces of chitterlings for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Drain the water and rinse the pieces again and you would notice a considerable improvement in the way they smell.
- Assemble All the Ingredients
For cooking chitterlings, you need several ingredients based on the type of recipe you are working on.
- Before you arrange the vegetables and other essential ingredients, make sure that you clean the kitchen space that has been used for washing and chopping the chitterlings.
- For preparing a spicy soup out of your chitterlings, you need ingredients like onions, garlic, vinegar, lemon pepper, ginger, soy sauce, lemon juice, etc.
- Boil for 3 Hours
One of the unusual things about preparing chitterlings is that they require a very long cooking time.
- Add all the ingredients to a pot of water along with chitterlings. Allow the mixture to boil and lower the flame to medium.
- Cover the pot with a lid and let the contents boil for nearly 3 hours. Make sure that you check every 20 minutes and add water as per requirement.
- After cooking the chitterlings for 2 to 3 hours, you can fry the pieces by coating them in a batter of eggs and cracker crumbs.
Instead of soup, you can roast the cooked chitterlings along with fried onions, red chilies, celery, and jalapeno peppers.