Chitlins / Chitterlings
Chitterlings, also known as chitlins, are the intestines of young pigs, thoroughly cleaned and stewed, and then frequently battered and fried. Considered a delicacy in South Carolina and other parts of the South, chitterlings require the utmost care and time-consuming cleaning as part of the preparation. Chitlins must be:
- soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several changes of cool water,
- repeatedly picked clean, by hand, of extra fat and specks,
- then boiled and simmered until tender.
The little town of Salley, South Carolina (Pop. 410-490), hosts “Chitlin Strut
”, the annual chitterling festival on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. According to the “Chitlin Strut” website more than a thousand folks attended that first fundraiser in 1966 and enjoyed country music and more than 600 pounds of chitlins.
Today this international event includes a parade, beauty pageant, “hawg” calling contest, carnival rides, food vendors, arts and crafts booths, plenty of country music and the namesake Chitterling dinner. Attendance has grown steadily and the little town expects an estimated crowd of some 50,000+ who will consume some 10,000+ pounds of this regional Southern treat.
Chitlins take a lot of time and effort to clean. They are partially cleaned when they are sold, but require additional hand cleaning before they are ready to eat. The secret to good and safe chitlins is in the cleaning, not in the cooking. When buying chitterlings, be prepared to buy 10 pounds of chitlins to get 5 pounds to cook.
- 10-pound bucket fresh or frozen chitterlings
- Cold water to cover
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Hot pepper sauce
If chitterlings are frozen, thaw. Using a small soft brush, clean chitterlings thoroughly; rinse in several changes of cold water. Cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Place the cleaned chitterlings into a large pot; cover with water and vinegar. Add bay leaves, onions, potatoes, green or red pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; turn heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until chitterlings are tender. remove from heat; drain well. Serve with your favorite hot pepper sauce.