Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads


After being featured in not one but two dishes on Top Chef last night, sweetbreads are piquing the curiosity of would-be gourmets throughout the reality TV viewing world. So, what exactly is a sweetbread? The answer is possibly less appetizing than you thought.

Most mammals, including humans and cows, have a thymus, a gland that helps produce immune cells, such as T cells. Cows have more than one thymus, in their neck and by their heart. They’re only prominent in young cows, thus they are frequently referred to as “veal sweetbreads.” If someone says “beef sweetbreads” to you then they are either stupid, or are they are Bobby Flay trying to trick you into looking stupid. In either case you should hit them with the nearest mallet.

Preparing sweetbreads involves removing the outer membrane by soaking them in salt water, usually overnight. They can then be poached, braised or straight-up deep fried. Like Lisa said on Top Chef last night, they’re kind of like a big beefy chicken nugget.

Sweetbreads information on the internet seems to vary. Some sites insist that the pancreas is also a sweetbread; others say it is only the thymus. Many sites talk about whether lamb or pork sweetbreads are worth eating – lamb seems to be generally accepted. Explore the interwebs for more info; meanwhile, here’s Stephanie from Top Chef’s veal sweetbreads recipe.

About these ads

33 Responses to “Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads”

  1. Since Veal is young calves of the dairy herd, wouldn’t that make the sweetbread BEEF???? Calling people stupid is not very smart.

    • J. Thompson Says:

      Naming is always a problem. Beef usually being of the beef breeds, Angus, Hereford, etc Veal is from Dairy only because Dairy males as Steers or Bulls do not do as well in the market as the Beef breeds, so they as processed while still quite young, known as veal.

      Calling anyone Stupid is usually not a good thing, even when you think you are smarter. We all are stupid in one field or another.

  2. how many calories does it have per serving?

  3. SpeedBird Says:

    I am eating sweetbreads as I type this. I was present at the slaughter last Thursday of a 1400 pound Angus cross steer of about 2 years’ age (cross referring to his ancestry, not his disposition).

    The butcher, Jesus ( a joy to watch, a true craftsman), who was also the slaughterer, handed me the sweetbreads as he cut them out of the carcass.

    I soaked them overnight in salt water and was not able to identify a membrane, much less remove it. After cooking in boiling water (is that called blanching?)n for about 5 minutes, I then tried again to remove … anything, with no luck.

    There were several blood vessels still attached, with various connective tissues, which I could not separate easily – so I just sliced them into chunks and simmered them for an hour swimming in leftover fat from a fatty sausage, olive oil, and Crane Lake California Zin 2005, adding sliced Crimini mushrooms and an organic turnip.

    Jesus handed me two sweetbreads, and they were about 6 ounces each. I did not realise at the time I would want to know which was which later. One was slightly larger, cooked up much more tender, and was sweeter. The other was a little… rubbery. Not like octopus but still not quite as good as the other. But the better one of the two still had the rubbery connective tissue along with it.

    One mans’ first experience with sweetbreads from a full grown steer (not a veal calf) in Colorado.

  4. J. Thompson Says:

    I am a third generation Custom Butcher for fellow farmers. We have saved and eaten sweet breads for years and yes they do come from around the windpipe near the windpipe chest entrance. Best to boil them for about an hour after which the nodes can be separated from the tissue. We normally cook them in a white sauce after they are in the natural marble size nodes.

    It is a treat and they are larger in younger animals. They are something like scalps in texture.

  5. Letoya W. Says:

    Personally, I season my sweetbreads with Lawrys seasoned salt, garlic powder and sliced onions, wrapped in foil and place them on the smoke grill for a few hours. they almost melt in your mouth! My problem now is I cant find them anywhere in Cheyenne, Wyoming! LOL never had that problem in Texas LOL

  6. john white Says:

    I appreciate there are different types of sweetbread but no one is mentioning testicles, i am looking on the internet to try and find a good recepie on how to cook my sweetbreads which are the testicles of some sort of beast, if testicles are in fact not sweetbreads then ive been duped by my butcher and i will end up force feeding them to him without blanching!!!!

    • Testicles are not sweet breads. If you do get your hands on ” Mountain Oysters ” make sure they are small from a young male calfs. The big ones, mostly found in foreign countries are tough, and gamey. Don’t bother.

  7. Amazon…

    [...]Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads « CHOMPOSAURUS ( the meat blog )[...]…

  8. about…

    [...]Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads « CHOMPOSAURUS ( the meat blog )[...]…

  9. Sweetbreads are only Beneficial for the O blood type sweetbreads are an Avoid for A B AB & RH Blood Types…*)ii(*No Joke…Dr.Adamo Eat Right Foe Your Type ….

  10. I work on a small cattle ranch and we get sweetbreads from full grown steer.so I guess me and all the guys at the slaughter house are stupid or mabey its the guy with the blog on the internet

  11. Mexicans have always BBq’d Sweetbreads (mojas)

  12. Ok beef have sweetbreads no matter the size of the animal. I know this because i have slaughtered many beef and removed them for consumption. You probably Will not see the ones from older beef in stores because it doesnt look as nice and generally is tougher with a grainier texture, so before you make yourself seem very ignorant by stating false “facts” do a little research!
    Sincerely
    Bryan

  13. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising.
    The clearness in your post is just excellent and i can
    assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your
    permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with
    forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  14. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an
    impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  15. All large purchases are always intimidating,
    especially if you are uninformed about the industry. One of the scariest purchases is buying cars.
    Many people fear they are getting ripped off and you surely don’t want that. Avoid buying a lemon by looking through these great tips and tricks regarding car purchases.

  16. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I
    get three emails with the same comment. Is there
    any way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

  17. Have you noticed those people at checkout with tons of printable famous footwear coupons and
    wished which you could possibly be saving large like them? This short article gives the
    best advice for utilizing coupon for famous footwear to ensure that you’ll be able to save a ton in your next buying trip.

  18. Have you noticed those folks at checkout with tons of haircut coupons las vegas
    and wished that you simply could save like them? This short article can provide you with the details you need to save huge bucks on your subsequent shopping trip.

  19. Are you currently trying to save your cash on products from groceries to books?
    The best approach to get the issues you need cheaply would be to use coupons for friendlys.
    Where can you look to find these excellent friendlys ice cream coupon?
    This article covers excellent techniques to
    produce use of the very best friendly s ice cream coupons.

  20. Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this web page, and article is truly fruitful designed for me, keep up posting such content.

  21. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  22. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

  23. Excellent post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate
    a little bit more. Cheers!

  24. Hi there, I enjoy rwading through your article. I wanted to write a
    little comment to support you.

  25. My spouse and I absolutely lokve your blog and find nearly all off your post’s to be what precisely
    I’m looking for. Would you ofer gueset writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post orr elaborating on some of tthe subjects you write in relation to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

  26. I really like it when individuals come together and share views.

    Great website, keep it up!

  27. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

  28. I simply could not go away your site before
    suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person supply to your visitors?
    Is going to be again incessantly to inspect new posts

  29. Hi, I do believe your blog could be having web browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent blog!

  30. I have been reading your blogs Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads | CHOMPOSAURUS ( the meat blog ) and they are very useful for me to know something new and special. And You can also view our web also all hyip monitors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: