Nose to Tail Eating (sometimes called Snout to Tail) is a growing movement that entails eating every part of the animal. It involves eating not only the muscle meats but the skins, bones, cartilage, and organs as well. Have you ever tried liver? What about beef heart? Or bone marrow? Did you even know that these could be eaten?
Now before you say “oh, gross!” Let’s take a minute and think about this. This may be a new idea to folks who eat the modern American diet, but traditional cultures value every part of the animal and use them all in some way. It is only very recently that we have moved to eating just the muscle meats and discarding the rest. Many folks do not understand that eating the whole animal ensures a balanced intake of essential nutrients, like amino acids. It is crucial to include other parts of the animal besides muscle meats in order to nourish ourselves properly.
This idea of eating the entire animal became more popular after the British chef, Fergus Henderson, released his book, The Whole Beast in 2004. Henderson encouraged and taught folks how to cook every part of a pig, including parts rarely used in American cuisine, such as offal. How many folks even know what “offal” is?
“If you’re going to kill the animal, it seems only polite to use the whole thing.” —Fergus Henderson
I’m a foodie and have been exploring this kind of eating for some time now. As our family has begun purchasing sustainable, pastured meats in bulk from local farmers, odd bits and pieces (like liver, heart, and bone marrow) have ended up in our freezer. Being the practical girl that I am, I have sought out recipes to incorporate these foods into our diet. Why would I do this? Well, let’s take a look….
Nose to Tail Eating: 5 Reasons to Dive In
To use every part of the animal shows respect and reverence for the life that was given. If we use as much of the animal as possible, we are reducing waste and gaining nutrition. Fewer animals will need to be killed, and your body will thanks you for the gifts of bone broth and organ meats. Read more HERE about the benefits of bone broth. Read more HERE about the benefits of liver.
Like I said above, eating the whole animal is a much healthier way of eating. It has only been recently that folks consume only muscle meats. Did you know that eating only muscle meats means that you are missing out on the full spectrum of amino acids necessary for vital health and functioning? The whole-animal balance of amino acids from eating all parts like muscle, bones, cartilage, and organ meats supports us in a much better way. Gelatin (found in bones and cartilage) plays a significant role in in gut health, skin elasticity, quality of sleep, wound healing, and weight loss. Read more about the health benefits of gelatin HERE.
“When only the muscle meats are eaten, the amino acid balance entering our blood stream is the same as that produced by extreme stress, when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken down to provide energy and material for repair.” —Ray Peat
3. Big Savings:
Who couldn’t use a bit of help saving money on food these days? Good quality food costs money, so why waste any little part of it? Buying whole animals is more cost effective than buying smaller pieces. Think about it. You pay less for a whole chicken than if you were to buy all the pieces separately. This is because the less expensive cuts and pieces even out the more expensive ones. Imagine how much money you would save if you just had half of a cow in the freezer versus paying for it at the market. Plus you get the bones and organ meats. Bone broth is the elixir of life in my humble opinion.
4. Go Local:
Buying your animals whole and in bulk supports local farmers and ranchers. And when these farmers and ranchers make more money because they are selling more than just the “popular” cuts of meats from their harvests, prices are kept down. This supports local economies in general as farmers, ranchers, butchers, and suppliers make more money while we, the consumers, save more money. Then there is more money in general to put back into the local community.
5. Culinary Experience:
Eating snout to tail makes for more interesting eating. Why eat the same thing day after day? Think outside of the box here: Pate, headcheese, liver patties, bone marrow, bacon, big roasts. There is so much to choose from. It may seem odd at first, but go ahead, dive in. I recently had the absolute best center cut bone marrow at a nose to tail restaurant in Austin, Texas. A local place right here in Sonoma County, California has duck liver pate that is to die for. You would be surprised at the options out there.
NEED SOME RECIPE IDEAS?
- Primal Bacon Chicken Liver Pate
- Italian Beef Tongue Cups
- Liver, Sausage, and Pepper Scramble
- Duck Pate
- How to Make Gelatin-Rich Bone Broth (with chicken feet)
- Chicken Liver Bolognese
- Hidden Liver Burgers