Chitterlings (Chitlins)

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Although I have eaten chitlins (the authentic Southern pronounciation for the small intestines of pigs) all my life, this is the recipe given to me by a fine cook and neighbor, Laura Sandifer. Please note that they should always be served with vinegar, hot red pepper sauce, and finely chopped onion on the side. Chitterlings (as they are spelled by all Yankees) are not necessarily peculiar to the South. They are much prized in French kitchens, where they are known as andouilles or andouillettes, large or small chitterling sausages, generally grilled and eaten with mustard on the side.


  • 10 pounds chitterlings (see note)
  • 1 large celery rib, cut in quarters
  • 1 medium-size onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • If using frozen chitterlings, let them stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator until thoroughly defrosted.
  • Hold the chitterlings under cold running water and, as carefully as possible, pick over the inside of each to remove fat and foreign matter. Total cleaning time will be about 45 minutes.
  • When the chitterlings have been thoroughly cleaned, put them in a kettle or casserole. Do not add water; they will create their own liquid. Add the celery, onion, garlic, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Bring to the boil and cover. Cook about 3 hours. The liquid should remain at a depth of about 1 inch. If it reduces below that, add water. Test the chitterlings for tenderness. If not tender, it may be necessary to add about 1 cup water. Cover and continue cooking until tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.
  • Serve the chitterlings with cider vinegar, hot pepper sauce, and finely chopped onion on the side.