How to Cook Chitterlings

A staple of soul food, chitterlings, or hog intestines [source: Merriam Webster], are a favorite amongst those who grew up on it. If you're looking for a delicious and traditional American dish to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas, consider serving your guests chitterlings. They'll be asking for the recipe after the very first bite. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to cook chitterlings.



  • 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) chitterlings
  • 1 ½ teaspoons peppercorns
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • One stalk of celery
  • One medium whole onion
  • One white potato, washed and peeled

Here's what to do:

  1. Thaw the chitterlings in warm water. Ensure that the water is not hot enough to cook the delicate organs.
  2. Separate and clean the chitterlings. Remove any pieces of fat, debris or fecal matter. Ensure that you clean them thoroughly to avoid any contamination or bacterial infection.
  3. Boil the chitterlings in water for 45 minutes. This will further ensure that you rid the organ of any dangerous substances.
  4. Drain the chitterlings from the water.
  5. Place the chitterlings in a fresh pot of boiling water, along with the celery, onion, peppercorns, salt and potato.
  6. Allow the ingredients to simmer on a medium heat for four to six hours. The longer you let the chitterlings cook, the more tender they'll be.
  7. Drain the chitterlings and remove the celery, onion, peppercorns and potato.
  8. Serve your chitterlings with coleslaw and cornbread for a traditional soul-food meal [source: Jones].

Remember, it's very important to make sure your chitterlings are thoroughly cooked. Pork intestines may carry dangerous bacteria, such as Yersinia enterocolitica or E.coli. Cleaning and cooking the chitterlings carefully will ensure that your family enjoys a safe and delicious southern meal [source: USDA].