Sweetbreads

Cow
AKA: Thymus, Pancreas, Ris
Primal: Organs (US)
Cooking Methods: Pan-Fry
Good For: Breading
Fat Content: High
Price: Budget

Sweetbreads are typically known for their incredible softness and light flavor. This offal cut is known to soak and acquire tastes from the marinades used to season it. Much like other offal cuts, Sweetbreads need to be cleaned thoroughly before they are cooked.

One of the hurdles in cooking Sweetbreads is the removal of its external membrane, which can be taken off by first dousing it in a brine solution and then blanching it in milk. After the removal of membrane, the ris is dried up and cooled before it can be used for cooking. The most common method of cooking Sweetbreads is to first dredge them in breadcrumbs and then deep-fry them. They are also used as stuffing and as part of pates.

Sweetbreads are obtained from different glands of a steer’s body. The most commonly used are thymus and pancreas glands. They can also be made from other glands like parotid gland, heart, testicles and sublingual glands.

The literal meaning of Sweetbreads is ‘pancreas used as food’. The word can be traced back to the 1560s and is a combination of the words ‘sweet’ and ‘bread’ (meaning ‘flesh’ in Old English).

In adult cows, the thymus gland can become damaged and, consequently, unfit for consumption. For this reason, Sweetbreads sold in the market are typically cut from calves.

Popular Dishes: Pate, Asado, Deep Fried Sweetbreads

This information about Sweetbreads was sourced from our meat cut app