Nose To Tail Cooking Guide Plus 16 Offal Recipes

Words: Emma Nkunzana

Cooking and serving offal can be quite an alienating dining experience, most will only experiment with a steak and kidney pie. But we say, if you’re going to eat meat, then make the most of the animal that gave its life and savour every last bit!

Interestingly, the word offal means ‘to fall off the carcass’,  this refers to when you hoist the animal by its hind legs make an incision down the belly and all the innards would fall from the carcass.

Today, offal has become broader in its definition to also include extremities such as the head, tail and feet.

If you’re a complete newbie to cooking offal, start with the liver and kidneys, as they can be quite forgiving, and then venture onto the heart and sweetbreads (glands) etc when you’re feeling braver.

The wonderful thing about cooking with offal is that the organ will always have the underlying flavour of the animal, all that’s really changing is the texture. Once you realise that, you’ll soon get over any squeamishness you have and really appreciate the flavour and richness. To get you started here are some of our best offal recipes with some tips on how to cook them, enjoy.

Offal Recipes

Tails, Neck Ears and Cheeks!


Spicy Tomato & Chilli Karoo Lamb Tails

Before you turn your nose up to to the tail, just remember that it’s a prized piece in many cultures and usually reserved for the pitmaster. This recipe first slowly simmers the tails until tender, then they are marinated overnight in tomato and chilli before finishing over hot coals.

Recipe for Spicy Tomato & Chilli Karoo Lamb Tails

Stuffed Duck Neck Sausage

The neck skin of a duck is perfect for sausage casing, when cooked it crisps up and will retain all the flavour of the stuffing. As for the neck meat, it’s naturally lean and tender. Serve this dish with some mushy white beans and kale.

Recipe for Stuffed Duck Neck Sausage


Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek & Kidney Pie

This is not your ordinary steak and kidney garage pie. Beef cheeks become silky strands of meaty umami flavour when braised like this – absolutely heavenly!

Recipe for Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek & Kidney Pie

Fried Pig’s Ear

When ear is cooked it becomes super crispy, so if you’re a fan of pork crackling, then this recipe is a must for you.

Recipe Fried Pig’s Ear


The heart is the strongest muscle in the body, and as such need to be cooked long and slowly to break down the muscle fibres. You can cook heart in a similar way to cooking a piece of steak.

Braised Lamb Hearts Barley Risotto

This is an easy heart recipe, once seared all the hard work will be done in the oven.

Recipe for Braised Lamb Hearts Barley Risotto

Duck Heart Tartare

If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at this duck heart tartare.

Recipe for Duck Heart Tartare


The go-to offal that probably everyone has tried. It’s widely available at supermarkets, easy to clean and has a moreishness about it. It’s also a meat that can be slightly pink when served.

Lambs Liver on Buttery Mash with Onion Sherry Vinegar Jus

Big and juicy, we love lambs liver with this sherry jus.

Recipe for Lamb Livers On Buttery Mash with Onion Sherry Vinegar Jus

Chicken Liver Parfait

A less expensive take on duck liver foie gras.

Chicken Liver Parfait

Saute of Duck Liver Chorizo, Butter Beans with Tomato, Garlic, Lemon & Parsley

Duck and pig – a match made in heaven.

Recipe for Duck Liver Chorizo Butterbeans Tomato Garlic Lemon & Parsley

Seared Duck Liver with Pear & Port Sauce

This dish can be made in less than 30 minutes but will have your guests believing that you’ve been at it for hours.

Recipe for Seared Duck Liver With Pear & Port Sauce

Bone Marrow

Who could resist a good ol’ slurp of the bone to get the marrow out! Not only is marrow a natural thickening agent but it’s also delicious when roasted. It’s actually so good that in the 18th century the French developed a special spoon to scoop out all the marrow from the bone!

Roast Bone Marrow on No-Knead Bread

A simple and easy way to make use of every morsel of the animal.

Recipe for Roast Bone Marrow On No Knead Bread

Roasted Bone Marrow With Garlic & Parsley Breadcrumb Topping

Roasted bone marrow is a hidden treasure when it comes to food.

Recipe for Roast Bone Marrow on No-Knead Bread


If done wrong, kidneys can taste and feel akin to biting into a squash ball – tough and chewy. Done right though and they have a unique flavour and texture that’s really enjoyable.

Steak & Kidney Cottage Pie

This ultimate winter warmer is packed with tender meat, distinctive kidney flavour, umami mushrooms and silky soft onions all snugly housed under a buttery and crusty mash topping.

Recipe for Steak & Kidney Cottage Pie

Classic Steak & Kidney Pudding

This steak and kidney pudding is best served with buttery mash, a good bottle of red wine and pickles – perfect for a hearty winter meal.

Recipe for Classic Steak & Kidney Pudding


A South African classic! Muise, vlermuise, pofadder, whatever you call this local dish, there’s no mistaking its rich velvet-like texture and deliciously fatty flavour. And of course, when possible, always cook on an open flame.

Seriously Lekka Skilpadjies

How could they get any more lekker you may ask? Stuff them with camembert and figs!

Recipe for Seriously Lekka Skilpadjies

Traditional Skilpadjies

Something for the traditionalists.

Recipe for Skilpadjies

If you’re struggling to find offal bits at your regular butcher, try Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants or Bill Riley

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