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.
The Ick Factor: Zungenwurst is a German-style sausage made with lots of offal parts, which isn't too surprising compared to most sausages. What sets this one apart from other snausage fare is the inclusion of lots of blood and tongue in the mix. The tongue isn't incorporated in a ground fashion either. No, that would be too inviting. It's glaring back at you in massive hunks from within an intimidating loaf of blutwurst.
(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: Zungenwurst, a loaf of blood and tongue served up by Schreiner's Fine Sausage. It's an intimidating loaf of indefinable offal bits that they cut to your specifications. We opted for ours extra thin, because if eating a ton of offal has taught us anything, it's to be judicious when chowing down on strange and foreign parts.
Tastes Just Like: Mom's meatloaf. It's the weirdest thing. From the spices used to the texture, this zungenwurst screamed good old-fashioned meat blob. The decision to thin slice the sausage resulted in a piece of meat that holds together right until it hits your mouth. The tongue was tender with just a bit of bite, and the blood sausage component broke apart on impact and had a slightly crumbly texture that was reminiscent of meatloaf.
Flavor wise, this sausage was much different than some of the musky blood sausages we've tried in the past, and was well balanced by the pockets of tongue. The flavor of the tongue kept the entire sausage on the meaty side, and the spices were half breakfast sausage, half mamma's meatloaf.
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For anyone who claims to dislike tongue because their first introduction was a strange, gray boiled mass of cow, try Schreiner's Zungenwurst and have your faith in the humble tongue redeemed! (Just put a mental block on the blood part until you've conquered the more common ingredients.)
You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: If the tongue is tough, then it's certainly not done right. Other than that, your bloody tongue sausage comes pre-cooked from Schreiner's. We opted to enjoyed it cold cut-style with some cheese, crackers and a fine stone ground mustard. If you ask for it a bit thicker, it would also fry up nicely as a (slightly ghoulish) alternative to your morning sausage. Face facts here, you're probably eating all that stuff anyway when you bust out the Jimmy Dean.
Always been a DIY-er? Congrats to you then, good sir or madam. You can purchase all of these ingredients at an ethnic market (look for the blood frozen) and try a little DIY blood tongue sausage. Or leave it to the snausage kings over at Schreiner's.
Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.