|December 5, 2023

Why You Should Eat Organ Meat (And How To Make It Taste Good)

By Austin Lozano
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

Why You Should Eat Organ Meat (And How To Make It Taste Good)

  • Offal refers to animal organs and tissues. When it comes to nutrition, offal is a home run because it’s high in a variety of nutrients.
  • Why isn’t everyone eating offal? Well, if you’re not used to eating organ meat, preparing and cooking it can take some planning.
  • There’s plenty of reasons to add offal to your diet. Find out how to mix it into foods you already enjoy.

Superfoods are “super” because they’re packed with nutrients people don’t normally get from other foods. You might think about green tea and pomegranates, but superfoods aren’t always so black-and-white (or green and red, in this case). Here’s one nutrient-dense superfood that you probably aren’t eating enough of: offal.

Also called “variety meats,” offal is the meat of animal organs as well as other animal tissues. Think liver, tripe and bone marrow, among other edible parts. Sure, it sounds odd, but don’t completely rule it out. Offal isn’t commonly eaten in North America. However, in many other countries, it’s integrated into a variety of delicious dishes.

If the flavors and textures of organ meats are foreign to you, think of offal as an opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and find new recipes that you enjoy. Keep reading to learn more about this nutritional powerhouse and find out how to get it in your diet.

What is offal?

Eating bowl of pho with chopsticks

Offal consists of animal organs and other tissues. There are many different types of offal that can be consumed, some of which you might know—and others which might surprise you. Here are a few examples:

  • Bone Marrow
  • Liver
  • Tripe
  • Blood
  • Brain
  • Heart

Some of these meats are used in your favorite dishes and cuisines. Offal is commonly used in Mexican, Indian and Chinese restaurants, from menudo to dim sum.

Not only is offal a versatile and cheap food, many organ meats are also packed with health benefits:

  • Organ meats tend to be more nutrient-dense than muscle meats, and they’re excellent sources of nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin B12 and vitamin A, among others.
  • Heart, kidney and liver meats are loaded with iron. Your body needs this mineral for tons of vital functions, including energy production and immune health.
  • Liver is a great source of choline, an essential nutrient for brain, muscle and liver health.

Many organ meats are more affordable than ground beef or steak, and they have more nutrients than you’d expect. Eating them once or twice a week gives you more benefits than a plain steak or burger would.

How to get more offal in your diet

Offal can be a great addition to your diet, but here’s an important caveat: Some organ meats can have particular flavors and textures that some may not immediately enjoy.

So, how do you get more of it into your diet? Read on for ideas to get more organ meat into your diet (and start reaping all those nutritional benefits).

Mix it into ground beef

Skillet filled with ground meat

One of the easiest ways to add more organ meat to your diet is to add it in small amounts to ground beef.

Liver, kidney, tongue, and heart all mix into ground beef well. Experiment with the ratio of organ meat to ground beef (try 30% organ meat to 70% ground beef). You’ll barely notice a change in flavor, but you’ll boost the value of your food considerably.

To make your meal more delicious and nutrient-dense, look for grass-fed ground beef with a higher fat content (75% lean is a good option). Naturally, spices and seasonings will help elevate the flavors of your dish and mask the sometimes-aggressive flavors of organ meats. Beefing up your burger night is a great place to start.

Add it to curry, sauce or stew

A plate of slow-cooked beef stew with cauliflower rice

Remember, dishes with lots of spices are offal-friendly. Here are a few dishes that mesh well with variety meats:

  • The flavor of a rich tomato sauce will outshine just about any organ meat, especially heart or tongue. (Avoid if you’re sensitive to nightshades.)
  • Indian and Thai curries made with coconut milk are often rich and well-spiced. Indian curries hold organ meat especially well.
  • The other good choice is Vietnamese pho. It traditionally includes cuts like tripe, tendon, beef knuckle and sometimes tongue.
  • Chili is also thick and savory enough to hide organ meat flavor. Spice up your bowl by adding offal to this delicious No-Bean Keto Chili recipe.

Buy sausages made with organ meats

Sausages in a skillet

Who doesn’t love a juicy sausage paired with zingy mustard? Thankfully, grass-fed organ sausage tastes amazing. It’s also versatile and pairs especially well with eggs and avocado for a Bulletproof breakfast. You can use it pretty much anywhere you’d use normal sausage. Three good options are:

  • Braunschweiger: A traditional German sausage made from beef trim and beef liver.
  • Headcheese: A combination of beef trim, heart and tongue, plus a combination of bright spices. You’ll just have to get past the name.
  • Liverwurst: A mix of trim, liver, heart and kidney.

Need more recipe ideas? Try removing the sausage from its casing and crumbling it into a keto-friendly stuffing.

Freeze it into pills

Capsules spilling out of container

Can’t stomach the flavor, but still want the benefits? Chop cooked organ meat into swallowable chunks and stick it into the freezer. You’ll end up with natural multivitamins that go down easy with a glass of water. Note: If you eat too much liver, you can overdose on vitamin A. People who are not deficient in vitamin A should take just one to two servings per week, max.

If you don’t want to spend time in the kitchen, you can also purchase desiccated liver capsules. These are convenient, but make sure you use high-quality organ meat capsules sourced from grass-fed animals.

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This article has been updated with new content.