Nose-to-Tail Eating: The Weird Parts of the Animal You Should Try

meat cut

For those of you who really like to get creative and resourceful with your cooking, nose-to-tail eating might be the adventure for you. Nose-to-tail eating was practically mandatory in an earlier age when farmers would raise their livestock, butcher it around harvest time and make it last all winter by using every last bit of the animal. Today, eating the parts of the animal usually cast aside is becoming a trend made popular by places like The Butcher & Larder in Chicago. Rob and Allie Levitt have grown their business as a sustainable, all whole animal butcher shop and they encourage their customers to cook at home while also supporting local farmers. To bring the idea to your table, here are some parts of the animal you probably never even thought about cooking.

Pig skin: Frying sliced pork skin gives you the oh-so-loved taste of bacon with the crispy crunch of potato chips. Add pig skin to your salad, green beans or eggs. You can use pig skin to make cracklins, for which you boil the pig skin and the layer of fat underneath and then grill it. Click here for a recipe that would be perfect for a game day finger food.

Photo Credit: Look I Made That
(Photo: Look I Made That)

Goat head: As a tradition in Italy, this particular delicacy would be prepared and served to a bride and her groom on their wedding day. Use the entire goat's head, excluding the hair but including the eyes and brain, to make cooked goat tongue, goat brain roast or goat head soup. If cooked properly, the meat will be tender and juicy and fall right off the skull. Yummy, right?

>> Read more: Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

Turkey tail: Don't toss the tails this year at Thanksgiving! Turkey tails make a great dish full of fat and flavor. Livestrong tells you how to prepare them here and suggests serving them with rice to soak up the fat. Okay, so it's not the healthiest or leanest cut of meat, but if you're looking to maximize your dollars, it might be worth a try.

>> Read more: 17 Creative Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

Chicken feet: Chicken feet are definitely for the clever and creative. It proves a challenge to work the flavorful, rich meat from around the inedible bits and pieces, but for some, the reward is worth the work. You can cook them for a long time with lots of seasoning for a softer version or crispy and fried. (via So Good Blog)

Photo Credit: Aliza Frozen Food
(Photo: Aliza Frozen Food)

Cow stomach: Also called tripe, the lining of a cow's stomach has been noted to be an acquired taste. You can add vegetables and broth to create a stew-like dish. Try this recipe for Honeycomb Beef Tripe from Everyday Life.

Bison tongue: If you can get over the thought that you are, in fact, eating a tongue, bison tongue is actually pretty good and offers a large amount of your nutrients for the day. Be careful because it also contains a lot of calories and fat. Put the tongue in a slow cooker and you'll have a nutritious, easy meal, if you dare.

>> Read more: 52 Slow Cooker Meals: One for Every Week of 2015


Every little piece of an animal has probably been consumed at one time or another by someone in history who felt adventurous and economical. When you are finished, use the bones to make bone broth and you'll be the most scavenging cook on your street. Much of the time, different parts of the animal hold the hidden treasure for nutrients. So be brave and try a new dish! Who knows, maybe the kids will get a kick out of eating little chicken feet for dinner.

>> Still feeling adventurous? Try these weird chocolate pairings!