Classification of Organ Meats

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About

Organ meats, or les abats, are the main internal organs of an animal. In the United States, they are also called variety meats, nomenclature that incorporates the animal’s exterior parts such as ears and feet as well as bony pieces. In ancient times, when the slaughtering of an animal was bathed in ritual, the organ meats, particularly the liver, were the first to be extracted from the animal and the first to be grilled, with their aromas offered to the gods. In contemporary American cooking (restaurant and home), organ meats, with the exception of calf’s liver and, occasionally, sweetbreads, are not often found on the menu. Although they are economical to purchase and, when well prepared, extremely tasty, they are so associated with penurious cooking that they hold little appeal to the modern palate.