Chitterlings (often pronounced /ˈtʃɪtlɪnz/ and sometimes spelled chitlins or chittlins in vernacular) are the intestines of a pig that have been prepared as food. In various countries across the world, such food is prepared and eaten either as part of a daily diet, or at special events, holidays or religious festivities.
In the United States, chitterlings are an African American culinary tradition and a Southern culinary tradition sometimes called “soul food” cooking. In vernacular terms, chitterlings are often pronounced as chit’lins.
Chitterlings are carefully cleaned and rinsed several times before they are boiled or stewed for several hours. A common practice is to place a halved onion in the pot to mitigate what many regard as a pungent, very unpleasant odor that can be particularly strong when the chitterlings begin to cook. Chitterlings sometimes are battered and fried after the stewing process and commonly are served with cider vinegar and hot sauce as condiments.
In colonial times, hogs were slaughtered in December. During slavery, in order to maximize profits, slave owners commonly fed their slaves in the cheapest manner possible. At hog butchering time, the preferred cuts of meat were reserved for the master’s use with the remains, such as fatback, snouts, ears, neck bones, feet, and intestines given to the slaves for their consumption
Gallinejas are a traditional dish in Madrid. The dish consists of sheep‘s small intestines, spleen, and pancreas, fried in their own grease in such a manner that they form small spirals. The dish is served hot immediately after preparation, and is often accompanied by french fries. Few establishments today serve gallinejas, as it is considered to be more of a delicacy than a common dish. It is most commonly found served during festivals.
Zarajos: A traditional dish from Cuenca is zarajos, which are simply sheep’s intestines rolled on a vine branch and usually broiled, but also sometimes fried. They are usually served hot, as an appetizer or tapa. A similar dish from La Rioja is embuchados, and from the province of Aragon, madejas, all made with sheep’s intestines and serves as tapas.
Les tricandilles are a traditional dish in Bordeaux and its region. They’re made of pig’s small intestines, boiled in bouillon then grilled on a fire of grapevine cane. It’s an expensive delicacy.
People in the Caribbean and Latin America also make use of it in traditional dishes such as Mondongo. They are also a popular street food in many South American cities and towns.
Chinchulín (in Argentina and Uruguay) or chunchule (in Chile) (from the Quechua ch’unchul, meaning “intestine”) is a dish made from the cow’s small intestine. Other name variations from country to country are choncholi (Peru), chunchullo, chinchurria o chunchurria (Colombia), chinchurria (Venezuela), tripa mishqui (Equador) and tripa de leche (Mexico).