Chitterlings (Chitlins) (2024)

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Are you ready to dive into a Southern classic that’s the epitome of comfort? Today, we’re talkin’ Chitlins, or as they’re officially known, Chitterlings. And let me tell you, this ain’t just any recipe; this is my daddy’s chitlins, a simple yet mouth-watering dish that’s been passed down through generations in my family. Trust me, when you take a bite of this melt-in-your-mouth goodness, you’ll understand why it’s worth every minute spent in the kitchen! Pair with these hog maws for a soul food meal.

Chitterlings (Chitlins) (1)

Now, if you’re not familiar with chitlins, they’re a soul food staple, especially popular around the holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day. My daddy is from Mississippi, where serving up a pot of chitlins is as common as sweet tea at a summer picnic. As for the taste? Imagine a tender, not-too-chewy delight that’s subtly porky and mild, soaking up all the flavors you throw at it. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Head to your kitchen and let’s dive right into this special recipe!

Table of Contents

Why you’ll love these chitlins

  • Deep Cultural Roots: This recipe is steeped in rich Southern and soul food culture. It’s a passed-down family classic from my daddy’s kitchen in Mississippi. When savor it, you’re not just tasting food, but history and heart as well!
  • Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tender: If you’ve got concerns about chitlins being chewy or tough, worry no more! These chitterlings cook low and slow to perfection, becoming so tender they practically melt in your mouth.
  • Customizable Flavor: This recipe starts off simple, letting you adjust the seasonings to your heart’s content. Wanna kick it up a notch? Add some more red pepper flakes! Prefer it milder? Stick with just the seasoned salt, garlic, and pepper. The chitlins absorb whatever flavors you throw at them!
  • Spicy Heaven: Let’s not forget about that hot sauce! My daddy’s recipe encourages to drizzle a little —or a lot—over your chitterlings to really bring the dish to life. It’s like the cherry on top of a sundae!

Ingredients to make chitterlings

  • Chitterlings: Chitlins can sometimes play hard-to-get. They might not be in your local supermarket, but a trip to a Latin or Asian market could lead you straight to them. Also, if you buy them pre-cleaned, you’ll want to clean them thoroughly again.
  • Yellow Onion: Opt for a large, fresh onion; it’ll break down over the long cook, infusing the chitlins with its delightful flavors.
  • Green Bell Pepper: This crunchy veggie has a mild, slightly tangy flavor. When it simmers with the chitterlings, it offers a subtle freshness and color contrast.
  • Seasoned Salt (like Lawry’s): More than just salt, this seasoning blends various herbs and spices to enhance the overall taste. Lawry’s, for instance, is a popular (and great) choice!
  • Garlic Powder: A staple in many kitchens, garlic powder brings a robust garlicky aroma without the fuss of peeling and mincing fresh cloves.
  • Black Pepper: A dash of black pepper adds a little kick. Freshly ground is always best, but pre-ground will do the trick in a pinch!
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional): For those who like a bit more kick! Adjust according to your heat tolerance; remember, it’s easier to add more later than to take it away.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (optional): This one’s optional, but it brings a tart, zesty edge to the dish. Plus, it can help mellow out the strong scent of the chitterlings while they cook.
  • Hot Sauce (for serving): This is where you make it your own! A classic like Tabasco or a Southern specialty like Crystal Hot Sauce brings a fiery touch that takes these chitterlings to the next level.
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How to make chitterlings

You should always start by cleaning the chitlins. This step is the most crucial and, if not done properly, can make you and others very sick. Below you will find two methods the first is how my Daddy does it, the second is how a Grandbaby Cakes follower, Mr. Pickett cleans his. Both are good methods! You should pick whichever one is easier for you.

Cleaning the Chitterlings:

  1. Prepare a double sink or two separate wash sinks for the cleaning process.
  2. Ensure the sinks are thoroughly cleaned before adding the chitterlings.
  3. Start by rinsing the chitterlings one by one under room temperature water to remove any excess debris.
  4. Carefully inspect each chitterling and remove any visible grit or black substances, then move to the other sink.
  5. Repeat the rinsing process 2 or 3 more times, ensuring they are clean and free from any impurities.

Reader Tip: One of Grandbaby Cakes’ readers, Mr. Pickett, reached out to me with some great tips on how to clean chitlins. His method is a little different than mine, but I wanted to share it because I think it will work well too!

  1. Select a Single Chitterling: Start by taking one chittering at a time.
  2. Remove the Membrane: Carefully remove the inner membrane from the chitterling. This step is crucial as retaining the membrane can result in a strong odor and an undesirable taste.
  3. Inspect for Debris: Check the chitterling thoroughly for any leftover debris.
  4. Initial Boiling: Place the chitterlings in a pot and boil them for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Check the Water: You’ll notice a film appearing on the surface of the water, which is an indication that impurities are being released.
  6. Drain the Water: Pour off the water after boiling to remove the impurities.
  7. Inspect Each Chitterling: Check each chitterling again, one by one.
  8. Look for Curls: If you observe any curls on the chitterlings, pull them off. These curls are parts of the membrane.
  9. Repeat If Necessary: Depending on the initial state of the chitterlings, you may need to repeat the boiling and checking process one more time before cooking.
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Cooking the Chitterlings:

  1. In a very large pot (we use a 5 gallon pot), fill it with 1 1/2- 2 gallons of water then add quartered onion and green pepper along with salt, garlic powder and black pepper and red pepper flakes or apple cider vinegar if using, and turn to high heat and bring to a rapid boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and add the cleaned chitterlings one at a time to the pot.
  3. Stir gently to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  4. Cover the pot and cook the chitterlings over medium heat for about 3 hours, or until they are tender and the flavor of the remaining liquid should be concentrated. They should also be white in color and fluffy in texture.
  5. Occasionally check the pot to check on them.

Serving the Chitterlings:

  1. Once the chitterlings are cooked and tender, taste for flavor and adjust before removing from the heat.
  2. Serve the chitterlings hot, either as a main dish or as a part of a larger meal. They are usually served with hot sauce to enjoy.
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Tips for making the best chitlins

  1. The Double Sink Method: When cleaning your chitterlings, set up a “clean station” and a “dirty station” in two separate sinks or large bowls. This ensures you’re not mixing cleaned chitterlings back in with ones that still need a good rinse. Back in the day, the elders would spend the whole day cleaning them, so don’t skimp on this step. Heck, even if you buy them pre-cleaned, you’ll want to go through them a couple more times. It might take you 4-5 hours to clean, but trust me, it’s worth it—not just for the flavor but for your safety, too.
  2. The Potato Trick: A quick tip about that infamous chitlin smell; If your nose isn’t as fond of it as your taste buds will be, toss a peeled, chopped russet potato into the boiling water. Some folks even prefer cleaning or cooking them outside, or in the basem*nt, to keep that strong scent at bay.
  3. Use Small Pieces: Different brands of chitterlings offer different thicknesses. For example, Aunt Bessie’s tend to be thicker and might require a bit more cooking time to tenderize. Feel free to cut them into smaller pieces (no larger than an inch, folks) for easier handling and quicker cooking.
  4. Low and Slow is the Way to Go: Resist the urge to crank up the heat to get things done faster. Cooking chitlins is a labor that requires time. Keep that stove at medium heat and let them simmer gently for that tenderness we’re aiming for.
  5. Check the Water Level: During the long cooking process, you’ll want to make sure the water level doesn’t get too low, which can cause your chitlins to dry out or stick to the pot. If the water is reducing too quickly, add a little more—just make sure it’s hot so you don’t mess with the cooking temperature.

Popular substitutions & additions

  • Jalapeño Peppers: If crushed red pepper flakes just aren’t cutting it for you, toss in some sliced jalapeños to get that extra zing!
  • Veggies: Add some sliced carrots or celery into the pot for added color, crunch, and nutrition. Plus, they’ll soak up the seasonings and serve as tasty little flavor bombs!
  • Chicken Broth: Looking for a richer flavor? Substitute some or all of the water with chicken broth. It brings in a whole new depth that water just can’t provide. Just make sure to adjust your salt and seasoning accordingly!
  • Smoked Paprika: For a smoky undertone that complements the chitlins beautifully, sprinkle in a bit of smoked paprika. It adds complexity and a mild heat that’s hard to resist.
  • White Wine: If you’re feeling a bit fancy, add a splash of dry white wine to the pot. The acidity and fruity notes can enhance the flavors. Just remember, don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink!
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What to serve with chitlins

  • Collard Greens are the leafy green superstar of Southern cooking. Their slightly bitter and earthy taste is the perfect counterpoint to the rich, savory chitterlings.
  • Keep the Southern vibes going strong with a side of hearty Pinto Beans. They bring a creamy texture and mellow, nutty flavor that complements the spicy and robust chitterlings. And let’s be honest, beans are a staple in Southern cooking for a reason—they just make everything better!
  • Buffalo Wings might seem like an unexpected choice, but hear me out! The tangy, spicy kick of buffalo wings can actually complement the subtle pork flavor of your chitlins.
  • Last but certainly not least, what Southern meal would be complete without a slice (or two) of Cornbread? Its sweet, crumbly goodness can be the ideal palate cleanser between bites of spicy, savory chitterlings. Plus, cornbread is fantastic for soaking up those flavorful juices left on your plate!

How to store & reheat chitterlings

Once your chitterlings have cooled down, transfer them into an airtight container along with some of their cooking liquid to keep them moist. Pop that container into the fridge, and you’re all set for some delicious leftovers.

When it comes to reheating, slow and steady wins the race. Place the chitlins in a saucepan along with a little bit of the saved cooking liquid or some water. Heat them over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally until they’re warmed through. This ensures they maintain their tender texture and don’t dry out.

How long will chitterlings last in the fridge?

Your chitterlings will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Beyond that, you’re pushing it, and you’ll want to consider freezing them instead. Nobody wants to mess with spoiled chitlins!

Can I freeze chitlins?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze chitterlings! Make sure they are completely cool, and then transfer them into airtight, freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Properly stored, they can last up to 2 to 3 months in the freezer. Just remember to thaw them in the fridge before reheating.

Frequently asked questions

What are chitterlings?

Chitterlings, commonly called “chitlins” in the Black community, are the small intestines of a pig. They are enjoyed for their unique texture and ability to soak up flavors, but they do require a lot of love and attention during the cleaning and cooking process.

Do chitterlings smell? How can I reduce the smell?

Yes, chitterlings do have a strong, distinct smell that some people find off-putting. To help reduce the smell, you can add a peeled and chopped russet potato to the boiling water. Some people even opt to clean and cook them outside or in the basem*nt to keep the smell from filling the house.

What do chitlins taste like?

Chitlins have a mild, subtle pork flavor and are not overpoweringly meaty. They’re tender—not super chewy—and really take on the flavors you cook them with. Imagine something that’s melt-in-your-mouth soft but also has a touch of savoriness.

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From my daddy’s Mississippi kitchen right to yours, that’s the heartwarming tale (and taste) of chitlins. Perfect for holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, but honestly, they’re a welcome delight any time you’re in the mood for some authentic Southern comfort!

If you’re new to chitlins, don’t be intimidated. Start small, experiment with the spices, maybe even involve the whole family in the cleaning ritual (it’s a great bonding activity, I promise!). And for the chitlin veterans out there, maybe this recipe will add a new twist to your time-tested traditions.

More Classic Southern Recipes

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  • Fried Chicken Gizzards Recipe
  • Old-Fashioned Southern Peach Cobbler
  • Fried Corn Recipe (Southern Fried Corn)
  • Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!

Chitterlings (Chitlins) (8)

Chitterlings Recipe

This chitlins aka chitterlings recipe is a Southern delicacy. This is my Daddy's recipe passed down for generations!

5 from 15 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine: soul food, south, Southern

Prep Time: 5 hours hours

Cook Time: 3 hours hours

0 minutes minutes

Total Time: 8 hours hours

Servings: 12 servings

Calories: 882kcal

Author: Jocelyn Delk Adams

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs of chitterlings thawed
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt like a Lawry’s
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar optional
  • Hot sauce for serving

Instructions

Cleaning the Chitterlings:

  • Prepare a double sink or two separate wash sinks for the cleaning process.

  • Ensure the sinks are thoroughly cleaned before adding the chitterlings.

  • Start by rinsing the chitterlings one by one under room temperature water to remove any excess debris.

  • Carefully inspect each chitterling and remove any visible grit or black substances then move to the other sink.

  • Repeat the rinsing process 2 or 3 more times, ensuring they are clean and free from any impurities.

Cooking the Chitterlings:

  • In a very large pot (we use a 5 gallon pot), fill it with 1 1/2- 2 gallons of water then add quartered onion and green pepper along with salt, garlic powder and black pepper and red pepper flakes or apple cider vinegar if using, and turn to high heat and bring to a rapid boil.

  • Once boiling, turn heat to medium and add the cleaned chitterlings one at a time to the pot.

  • Stir gently to distribute the seasonings evenly.

  • Cover the pot and cook the chitterlings over medium heat for about 3 hours, or until they are tender and the flavor of the remaining liquid should be concentrated. They should also be white in color and fluffy in texture.

  • Occasionally check the pot to check on them.

Serving the Chitterlings:

  • Once the chitterlings are cooked and tender, taste for flavor and adjust before removing from the heat.

  • Serve the chitterlings hot, either as a main dish or as a part of a larger meal. They are usually served with hot sauce to enjoy.

Notes

  • Some brands of chitterlings are smaller/thinner (i.e. Moo and Oink brand) some are larger/thicker (i.e. Aunt Bessie’s brand). The thicker larger ones take more time to tenderize and completely break down. Feel free to cut the larger ones into smaller pieces for easier handling.
  • Some don’t like the smell of chitterlings in their home so you can also add a peeled and chopped russet potato to the boiling water to help with the smell as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 882kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 1039mg | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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Chitterlings (Chitlins) (2024)

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