Red meat often gets a bad rap.
Some have sworn it off because of its connection to heart disease, while others talk about environmental issues.
But there’s an alternative to traditional forms of red meat consumption. One that is much healthier and much more friendly to our ecosystem.
There is a part of animals we call offal. Not awful (though, they are pronounced the same).
This type of meat is part of the internal organs that can be cooked and eaten. Again, NOT awful. Offal dishes have extensive benefits and are a great alternative to a traditional hamburger or steak.
A Great Source of Essential Vitamins
First, let’s look at a few of these offal dishes and why they are so beneficial. Some of these edible organs include:
- Tripe (the lining of the stomach)
According to Healthline, here’s the nutritional information for a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of cooked beef liver:
- 175 Calories
- 3.7 grams of fat
- 27 grams of protein
- B12 Vitamin: 1,386% of the RDI (reference daily intake)
- Copper 730% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 522% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 201% of the RDI
- Niacin: 87% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 51% of the RDI
- Selenium: 47% of the RDI
- Zinc: 35% of the RDI
- Iron: 34% of the RDI
That’s a whole lot of nutrition in one piece of meat. And if you’re looking at the calorie and fat count, it’s almost comparable to a piece of salmon.
- For a 3-ounce serving of tongue you get
- 240 Calories
- 19 grams of fat
- 16 grams of protein
- 40% of the RDI of Zinc
- Vitamin B12: 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
So tongue may not be our first choice for red meat, but it certainly provides a lot of B12. And no doubt it would be a unique experience to try it in your next dish of tacos. A staple of Hispanic cuisine, this Beef Tongue Tacos recipe is the perfect way to experiment with this type of meat.
Speaking of unique, let’s look at something most of us have probably never tried, let alone heard of. Tripe is the name for meat that comes from the stomach lining of an animal. But let’s look at everything you get with a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving:
- Calories: 89
- Fat: 3.8 grams
- Protein: 12.6 grams
- Calcium: 72 mg
- Potassium 70 mg
- Zinc: 1.48 mg
- Phosphorus: 67 mg
- Magnesium: 14 mg
If you’re at a loss on how to prepare tripe, try this delicious, easy to make Tripas Tacos recipe.
Finally, heart. Ahhh, if only there was a more delicate word to make this sound less like a gothic indulgence. But here you are. The incredibly nutritious and delicious cow heart.
- Calories: 127
- Fat: 4.5 grams
- Protein: 20 grams
- Vitamin B12: 161% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Selenium: 35% of the RDI
- Zinc: 13% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 24% of the RDI
- Iron: 27% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
These various, uncommon meats are among some of the most nutritious meats you can consume, yet remain obscure and undervalued by most consumers. They also go great with vegetables and support healthy eating habits.
Easy on the Wallet
Offal meats are some of the cheapest red meats on the market. A piece of liver will run you about $2 per pound.
While tripe is slightly more expensive at around $4 per pound, just remember the amazing amount of vitamins and minerals you’re amassing. Beef heart and tongue run similarly in cost. Yet, all of these meats are going to be cheaper than a traditional steak or roast, simply because there is a lack of demand for them.
Sustainable: Beneficial for the Ecosystem
So, not only are offal meat healthy and inexpensive, they also contribute to a more sustainable ecosystem. As human population continues to increase, so does the growth of red meat consumption.
As cattle are being reared for their fattier meats, the internal organs often go unused and are discarded.
Finding useful ways to use these products helps cut back on waste. As we promote the consumption of offal meats, we are helping to promote a more sustainable future where we are making the most of our resources.
So consider one of the lucky few. You now hold one of the universe’s greatest secrets. Offal meats are rare to eat, yet have many benefits.
And maybe one day, consuming such meats will be a revelation for the rest of the world. But you will be well ahead of the times.