Forrest Pritchard and Nancy Polo began Smith Meadows in 1996 and have been collaborating ever since. Forrest's book Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmer Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm will be published by Lyons Press in Spring of 2013.

14 responses to “What About the ‘Weird’ Cuts?”

  1. Casin Whitehead

    I have personally converted many to the wonders of cow tongue. Anyone who doesn’t like it, hasn’t tried it.

    1. Forrest Pritchard

      Hey Casin,

      I’ll start sending people down to Sperryville. What time is dinner?

  2. Marybeth Mills

    Great writing! We love championing the weird cuts at our restaurant, buying most of our livestock, with the exception of beef, in whole form. We fabricate (butcher) on site and go snout -to-tail, using all parts.

    Most of our guests claim to want to “eat local” or sustainable foods, yet raise their eyebrows at wood grilled goat. Hey, it’s locally grown!

    On a side note, I totally appreciate the offered straw with every purchase of a tub of lard. Very funny 🙂

    1. Forrest Pritchard

      Thank you, Marybeth. I bet the goat will eventually be a big hit for your restaurant! The next time I’m in Big Indian, N.Y. I’ll enjoy dinner at Peekamoose 🙂

  3. Ann Carranza

    Beef tongue and oxtails are delicious. I had to ask my local CSA to offer the tongues to us. While I’m not at all fond of other organ meat, someone in our family will eat it.

    My family’s favorite way to eat beef tongue is in tacos–fresh corn tortillas, diced onion, salsa and cilantro. Yum, yum, yum!

    Thank you for posting, Forrest and Nancy! New recipes are always welcome.

    1. Forrest Pritchard


      Mmm… beef tongue tacos… will definitely have to try that. We’ll try to do a recipe-themed blog once a month or so, especially now that our spring lambs have grown into plump fall lambs!

  4. Lanette

    I was raised eating weird cuts, with the exception of kidneys. What about sweetbreads. The best thing ever, but almost impossible to find. Sauteed in butter with garlic and white wine. Sublime. Chicken liver the same way. My mother would simmer tongue with bay leaves, garlic, onion, salt & pepper. Skin it and slice it. Mild and tasty. Short ribs braised in beer, onion and garlic. I can’t wait for winter to serve short ribs.

    1. Forrest Pritchard


      How could I forget the sweet breads? At some of the farmers markets I attend, they are actually more popular than many of our ‘normal’ cuts!

  5. Michelle Dudley

    I just learned from a farmers market customer that oxtail is the base for Vietnamese “pho” (noodle soup)! Who knew? Other customers rave about the excellent baked goods they make with lard (a clean, healthy source of ESSENTIAL fats your body AND brain require for proper function). And as bone broths can help remedy thousands of health issues, we’ve got another reason to purchase a WHOLE chicken! Even though the “wierd cuts” may shock you at first, when it comes down to it, they’re really just another way for your body to get necessary minerals it needs anyway. Better to eat the wierd stuff than have your body sift the minerals it needs out of your own bones, eh?

  6. Amy

    Don’t forget tallow candles and lye-tallow soap! Our steers eat mainly alfalfa and have a lot of fat on them. It is a challenge to use it up, but I’m trying…

    1. Forrest Pritchard


      Very true… some of my customers buy tallow to render for making homemade french fries and potato chips, and even pemmican.

  7. Mara

    Those are my favorite cuts. For me my local farmer doesn’t have enough of them. Thanks for the recipes.

    1. Forrest Pritchard

      Mara, it sounds like your farmer is lucky to have a customer like you!

  8. Sylvie in Rappahannock

    “Weird” is a matter of perception… I prefer to call them the “flavorful forgotten” cuts. Oxtail is definitively a favorite — hands-on: I personally would take it over filet-mignon any time for texture and depth of flavor. Granted it takes longer to cook …. but the chance of ruining if by overcooking is nil. Chicken feet makes the most wonderful soup base, and as far as beef tongue: best value!. and ha.. kidneys, with a little port in the sauce…. How about head cheese? so scrumptious… But I have to admit, I have managed to steer some of my clients to shanls (osso-boco and the likes)… and while Pate de Campagne has met with some success, liver and tongues are not huge sellers…

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