An Exploration of Chitlins

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan making chitterlings and chitlins at the 2017 starchefs international chefs congress

Back in October, I had the opportunity to attend this year’s StarChefs International Chefs Congress for the 7th year in a row. As always, it was a fantastic time. I got to catch up with friends, make some new ones, and most of all, learn. I was also asked by the StarChefs organization to write four editorials on specific workshops. The first one was recently published on their website, and I wanted to share it with you here. It was a hands-on chitterlings workshop with chef Edouardo Jordan.

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan making chitterlings and chitlins at the 2017 starchefs international chefs congress

At the 12th Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress, Chef Edouardo Jordan began his workshop by reading a passage from Jessica Harris’s book High on the Hog. The excerpt details the types of meat that were usually reserved for slaves in the American South, such as pig ears, trotters, and organ meat. One such type of offal given to slaves at the time was the pig’s intestine. With some thorough cleaning and long cooking, those intestines were often used to make a dish called chitterlings, commonly pronounced chitlins.

At his Seattle restaurant JuneBaby, Jordan is serving what he calls “food with roots.” It’s soul food that is both comforting and refined. He didn’t want to just serve classic dishes like shrimp and grits. Jordan wanted to serve some of the dishes that had a “deep, steeped history with slavery.”

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan making chitterlings and chitlins at the 2017 starchefs international chefs congress

In his hands-on workshop, attendees learned two different ways to prepare pig intestines. The first dish was the traditional chitterlings. The chef couldn’t emphasize enough how thoroughly they need to be cleaned prior to cooking. He buys his already cleaned, and then soaks and scrapes them again to remove any “debris” that might be left on them. Once cleaned, they’re cooked in pig ear stock with carrots, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. The three to four hour cooking process is cut down to just an hour in a pressure cooker. As an added bonus, you limit that signature smell in your kitchen.

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan making chitterlings and chitlins at the 2017 starchefs international chefs congress

His second dish was andouillette, a sausage made with the same pig intestines. It’s a French specialty, popular in Lyon. After cleaning the intestines, they’re thinly sliced and tossed with an Ethiopian spice blend and salt. Jordan likes to use some pink curing salt as a safety measure to minimize the risk of bacterial growth. The seasoned mixture is stuffed into a hog middle casing, before being tied and left to sit in the fridge for a day. This gives the spices time to distribute themselves throughout the sausage. It’s then poached for 5 hours in the same pig ear stock that he uses for his chitterlings.

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan making chitterlings and chitlins at the 2017 starchefs international chefs congress

Growing up, Jordan wouldn’t admit to eating foods like chitterlings. Instead, he told the other kids that he ate fried chicken. Now, he’s proud to be serving his “grandma’s stinky, delicious food” on his menu.

If you like what you see, please consider hiring me for an in-home dinner or cooking lesson. I run a personal chef business based out of Frederick, MD. Get more information here. Thank you.

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