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: Chicken Hearts served up by The Brazilian Bull.
The Ick Factor: Valentine's Day is right around the corner, as evidenced by the heart-shaped doo dads everywhere. With so many hearts a flutter, it's enough to make your stomach turn. To combat this marketing blitz, we're getting literal with our V-Day declarations of love. Chicken hearts on a stick. Creepy, anatomically correct, and nothing like those chalky pastel conversation hearts. Or if you're boycotting the entire sappy enterprise, dwell more on the fact that you'll literally be breaking hearts. And then skewering and roasting those hearts over an open flame. Much more cathartic than drowning your sorrows. (bite into all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: At The Brazilian Bull we indulged in a gluttonous meat-gasm of pork, chicken, beef and seafood. And in true churrascaria fashion, we made sure to ask for seconds on the chicken hearts. Skewered little hearts, roasted to chewy perfection.
Tastes Just Like: Dark meat chicken. Chicken hearts taste exactly like you would expect them to. They're chewy, musky, and a bit on the metallic side.
Chicken hearts are generally packaged with gizzards in the meat aisle, although you can certainly buy a pack of hearts solo. There might be something to this marriage of cast off chicken parts, since both tiny morsels are super chewy dark meat nuggets that first and foremost still taste like chicken. (Further evidence to never trust a dark meat chicken nugget.)
Chicken hearts are a bit different from gizzards though. You see, hearts pump blood day in and day out, so it's unavoidable that they taste a bit like blood. That means that chicken hearts will have more of a musky offal flavor than gizzards. They will also leave a slightly metallic aftertaste in your mouth, just like livers and kidneys that get saddled with filtering the blood.
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You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: The chewiness and offal funk of your chicken hearts far outweigh the dark meat chicken vibes. You shouldn't feel like you're gnawing on a rubber chew toy or sinking your teeth into a grizzled old chicken ticker that tastes like you're sucking on a penny. Use fresh hearts from younger birds to ensure maximum heart-iness.
Always been a DIY-er? Go full churrascaria this Valentine's Day to demonstrate the literal love you have for another. Present that lucky guy or gal with your hearts on a platter, Brazilian-style. A package of chicken hearts can be found at most meat markets, and if they're not sold solo, then you can probably still pick up a heart and gizzard medley. Once you've got 'em, pour your heart and soul into one of the creepiest Valentine's Day gestures we can think of, by presenting your date with a skewer of chicken hearts. Or leave it to the professionals at The Brazilian Bull take care of you without freaking out your date or chancing a restraining order.
Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.