Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: September 21, 2022

My carnivore journey started over a decade ago, and during this time, I’ve tried all kinds of meat — from beef and pork to exotic cuts such as kangaroo and ostrich.

I recently had a chance to try a menudo dish.

I tried making my own menudo several times until I perfected the recipe. Here’s everything you should know about which meat to use in a menudo.

Quick Summary

  • Menudo is a Mexican dish that’s made with spices and meat.
  • Meat used in menudo is tripe, which comes from the cow’s stomach.
  • Menudo is healthy, and it’s a good hangover cure.

What is Menudo?

A top view of a menudo and tortillas

Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup. It’s made with tripe, which is a cow's stomach.

Menudo has a red chili pepper base, and it’s cooked with other spices and herbs, such as lime, onions, cilantro, and oregano.

Menudo is most commonly eaten with tortillas or bread. It can be eaten hot, chilled, and reheated. It has a more concentrated flavor if reheated.

It is extremely popular in Mexico, and this popularity transferred to US and Canada, so now there’s a major export market for cow’s stomach.

How to Cook Menudo?

You cook menudo for several hours — about four to seven. You need to clean the meat first and then boil it at low to medium heat for up to three hours.

You should skim the top layer of foam every 15 minutes for the first hour. This ensures better flavor. Add salt, onion, and chili paste after three hours.

Then continue boiling for additional three hours in a covered pot.

Meat Used in Menudo

An image of a cleaned honeycomb tripe meat

Meat used in menudo is tripe, which is the cow's stomach. The most common tripe found in the US is the honeycomb tripe, which is the reticulum (it comes from the cow’s second stomach) [1].

Honeycomb tripe has a network of small square cells.

There are also Blanket Tripe, Flat Tripe, and Smooth Tripe, all of which are from the first stomach.

These can also be used in menudo and other parts of cattle and sheep, such as organs, brains, tails, and even hooves. However, Honeycomb Tripe is the most common meat in menudo.

The tripe is chewy and rubbery. There’s a noticeable stringy characteristic when chewed.

The taste of tripe is gamey, which is why most people don’t like it.

How to Get Rid of the Gamey Taste of Tripe?

A cooked tripe meat in a stainless steamer

You can get rid of the gamey taste of tripe by cooking it for a long time with lime, garlic, and onions because tripe can absorb these flavors well.

Tripe smells bad if it’s not properly cooked. Some claim it even smells of barn and cattle. To avoid the gamey taste of tripe, you should be careful when buying it.

Most tripes are cleaned before being sold. However, if the tripe hasn’t been cleaned properly, it’ll have a swimming pool odor.

You should wash the tripe in several water changes before cooking to make sure it’s cleaned and won’t smell bad.

You should especially watch out for the bleach in honeycomb tripe. If tripe has a pure white color, it means it’s been bleached with chlorine.

The USDA doesn’t require tripe bleaching. It suggests cleaning it with a cleaning agent. Bleach isn’t healthy, so make sure to wash the tripe thoroughly.

Pro tip: You’ll know if the tripe has been bleached by its color. Natural tripe has a dark outer membrane and cream or beige color. The bleached tripe is completely white.

Also, you should cook tripe for at least four hours, ideally six or seven. This lets the tripe absorb the flavors of the spices and makes the tissue more palatable.

Is Menudo Healthy?

A close up image of a menudo dish

Yes, menudo is healthy. One cup of menudo has about 112 calories and up to 7 g of protein [2].

Menudo is good for muscle building because it contains lean protein. It’s also a good source of calcium, as it has 9% of calcium per cup.

Moreover, menudo is a well-known hangover cure. Added to a soup or a stew with high water content, tripe can fight dehydration - the main cause of hungover.

It also has fat and carbohydrates that help the body process alcohol better. Plus, it’s spicy, so it’s an effective hangover remedy.

"A great menudo consists of great spices that give it just the right amount of heat to cure any headache or hangover."
- Petra Zavaleta, Cook at Barbakush Restaurant

Finally, menudo is commonly eaten for breakfast, and it gives energy for the whole day because it contains several food groups.

You can keep it in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for four months without losing the nutritious benefits.

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FAQs

What Type of Meat is Used in Menudo?

The type of meat used in menudo is tripe. Tripe comes from the cow's second stomach.

What is the Chewy Meat in Menudo?

The chewy meat in menudo is beef honeycomb tripe. This tripe is dense and has a texture that absorbs the soup’s flavors.

Is Menudo Organ Meat?

No, menudo isn’t organ meat. Menudo is a soup that can contain organ meats, such as brains, tails, and hooves.

What is the Difference Between Tripe and Menudo?

The difference between tripe and menudo is that menudo is a soup that contains tripe, and tripe is the cow's second stomach.

Is Tripe Healthy to Eat?

Yes, tripe is healthy to eat. It has protein that keeps you full and helps you build muscle.

Should You Eat Menudo?

Menudo is delicious if properly cooked. It has spices and meat that make this a healthy dish. It can help with hangovers and muscle building.

The crucial thing when cooking menudo is buying high-quality tripe. The tripe shouldn’t be too bleached, and it should be completely cleaned. Otherwise, you risk having a gamey menudo flavor.

Tripe is found everywhere in Mexico, but it’s more difficult to find it in the USA. That’s why you should check out our selection of the best meat delivery services.

Each of these only sells sustainably sourced, high-quality meats. Moreover, you’re bound to find a good selection of exotic meats to spice up your cooking.

Check them out and choose your delivery.


References:

  1. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-tripe
  2. https://www.nutritionix.com/i/nutritionix/menudo-1-cup/56ce0aa4f0b1304b5d978028

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