AskDefine | Define chitterlings

Dictionary Definition

chitterlings n : small intestines of hogs prepared as food [syn: chitlins, chitlings]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. small pig intestine, boiled and fried. Sometimes prepared with hog maws.


Extensive Definition

Chitterlings (often and sometimes spelled chitlins in vernacular) are the intestines of a pig that have been prepared as food. They are a type of offal.


Chitterlings are carefully cleaned before they are cooked by boiling or stewing, and are often battered and fried after the stewing process. Chitterlings are also used for sausage casings.

Regional and ethnic cuisine

Chitterlings (chitterlins) are eaten more frequently in the southern United States. Each year at Dunbarton, Louisiana the famous Chitlin' Cookin' is held in late February or early March. In Mount Airy, North Carolina (famously known as Mayberry) there is an annual chitterling festival. The chitterlings are cooked in several different ways. Also, Yatesville, Georgia holds the annual "Chitlin' Hoedown" each year. "Chitlins" are eaten with more frequency in African American culture, and the South, perhaps due to their heritage as soul food.
Other cultures have small intestine recipes, for example as part of the Latin American (and especially Argentinian) mixed grill dish parrillada, they are known as chinchulines and are generally from a calf, though occasionally lamb or kid. The bundled and braided small intestine is called a choto in Uruguay. Filipino cuisine features a recipe of fried pork intestines called "silit", and another for deep-fried pork intestines, called "chicharon bulaklak" as well as a barbecued version sold as street food called "isaw". In Chinese cuisine, the intestines are served deep fried with hoi sin sauce after being marinated in soy sauce and spices, and it is usually also served with Suan cai(Chinese pickled cabbage) to reduce the greasy feeling of the chitterlings. In Korea, grilled pork intestines are called makchang (막창). Makchang is a Daegu regional delicacy. In Mexican cuisine, small intestines are known as tripas. Cleaned, boiled, and grilled, tripas are a popular filling for tacos. In Italian cuisine, pajata is the term for the intestine of an unweaned calf that is cleaned but left filled with milk that solidifies during cooking. It's most common use is in a classic Roman dish, Rigatoni alla Pajata. In France chitterlings sausage is regarded as a delicacy called andouillette.


Eating chitlins in the rural South is not as common as it once was. In colonial times, hogs were slaughtered in December, and hog maws (cheeks), pigs' feet, and neck bones were given to slaves. Until emancipation, African-American food choices were restricted by the dictates of their owners. Because of the West African tradition of cooking all edible parts of plants and animals, these foods helped the slaves survive in the United States. It should also be noted, that black communities (often remnants of slavery) in the Caribbean and Mexico were given pork and beef offal. These communities eventually turned these undesirable cuts of meat into beloved dishes such as Modongo and Menudo.
On April 22, 2003 The Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture accepted the papers of the Chitlin Market, a local business, as part of its emerging collection of materials about African American celebrations and foods.

Food safety caution

Care must be taken when preparing chitterlings, due to the possibility of disease being spread when they have not been cleaned or cooked properly. These diseases/bacteria include Escherichia coli and Yersinia enterocolitica, as well as Salmonella. Chitterlings must be soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several different cycles of cool water, and repeatedly picked clean by hand, removing extra fat and specks of fecal matter, this is because the part of the pig the 'chiltlins' come from are the last few inches before the pigs rectum. The chitterlings are then boiled and simmered until tender.

See also


External links

chitterlings in German: Chitterlings
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