Despite what the supermarket aisle may lead you to believe, there's more to an animal than neatly wrapped styrofoam trays of meat. From tongue to tail, offal (pronounced awful) encompasses all those taboo edibles that don't make the cut at your local grocer. Just Offal is here to explore these oft-neglected byproducts of butchering, featuring different offal meals from establishments across the valley. This week: Liverwurst served up by Stan's Metro Deli.
The Ick Factor: Liver is one of those double-edged meat products. Serve it up pan-fried and watch the collective noses of your customers turn up in protest. Grind it together with a bunch of filler, call it pate, and watch those eyes alight at the hoity toity nature of your trickery.
Liverwurst is the third player in this strange liver-y ménage. It's part porky mystery meat, similar to a log of bologna, and part smooth liver pate. Meaty odds and ends combined with pungent eau de liver somehow meshes into a classic beloved by deli-goers and processed meat lovers alike.
(all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: Liverwurst on rye with all the fixings, fresh from Stan's Metro Deli.
Tastes Just Like: Bologna pate. If you could step in midway through the bologna-making process (and we're not sure you would want to) and toss in a hefty amount of ground liver, the final product would probably be pretty close to liverwurst.
The flavor of liverwurst is a combination between the oft maligned bologna and the highbrow pate: a salty, mystery meat flavor profile with a hint of liver-y goodness. The coppery, musky tang of liver is muted by the grab bag of porky bits that go into processed lunchmeat, so you don't need to worry about liver's pungent flavor smacking you across the face mid-chew.
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The texture is different from bologna, however, still a bit on the grainy side (we don't want to know why) but much softer and more spreadable. This is definitely a good thing when dining at Stan's, because they pile high thick slices of liverwurst on your bread of choice. It helps to smash that lunch meat down a bit to make for a more manageable bite, because this sandwich is large enough to stretch into a couple liver-y meals.
One word of wisdom: Make sure to stay well hydrated when eating your sammich, because the salt content in liverwurst is enough for your poor kidneys to shrivel up in protest just by looking at the stuff.
You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: You can tell that the lunchmeat you're eating used to be lips, assholes, and internal organs. Just like a hot dog, provided they grind these nasty bits down to a fine pulp, you should be good to go.
Always been a DIY-er? Liverwurst is available at almost any grocery store, so swing by and pick up a pound (or a 1/4 of a pound for the offal newbies out there) fresh from your deli. Add some marbled rye or pumpernickel bread, onions, cheese, and a slather of mayo (hold the tangy zip of that other whip) and chow down!