A beef lung is an unusual but delicious cut of meat, popular in a variety of dishes all around the world. It is not as widely available as other cuts of beef, often found in specialty butchers or ethnic markets. A beef lung can also be found canned or dried. What is a beef lung, and why is it a delicious, yet underrated cut of meat?
A beef lung is one of the primary organs of a cow, and it is made out of the smaller respiratory structures located within the lungs. The lung is composed of small air sacs called alveoli, which are responsible for allowing oxygen to pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream. The alveoli are especially thin and flexible, allowing them to expand and contract as the cow breathes.
The actual structure of the beef lung is surprisingly pleasant looking, with a light greyish-purple hue and an oddly symmetrical shape. When it is cooked, the beef lung gets a unique, delicate texture that can be described as almost spongy. Its flavor is surprisingly mild, due to the low fat content within the organ and its aspect of natural sweetness.
The beef lung has become quite a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike. It is often used in ethnic recipes from cultures around the world, including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American households. It is often used to prepare its variant of a traditional “stew” – a slow cooked soup that often utilizes multiple vegetables, fish, and the beef lung itself. In Mexico, beef lung is often smoked and used in tacos or served as empanadas. In some other parts of Latin America, beef lung is used in soups like Sopa de Lentejas.
The beef lung is an incredibly healthy food source, as well. It is an excellent source of protein and is relatively low in fat and calories. In addition, it is high in minerals and vitamins, such as iron, phosphorus, and vitamin B12 – all of which help the body produce energy. The beef lung is also high in collagen, which helps to keep the skin healthy and may reduce the risk of joint pain.
Despite its health benefits and delicious taste, the beef lung remains somewhat of an underrated cut of meat. One reason for this may be because of the perceived difficulty in cooking. However, preparing beef lung is surprisingly easy – all you need is a sharp knife and a bit of patience.
First, remove the membranes and large pieces of fat from the beef lung using a sharp knife. Next, score the lung by slicing down the sides in order to reveal any accumulated fat. Finally, rinse the beef lung under running water. Once the lung is properly prepped, it can be boiled, braised, shallow fried, barbecued, or even slow cooked.
It's no wonder why the beef lung is gaining more fans by the day – this unassuming organ is healthy, flavorful, and versatile. With just a little bit of preparation, beef lung can be transformed into a hearty and satisfying meal. So give it a shot and take your taste buds on an exciting culinary adventure!
The Journey of a Beef Lung from Pasture to Plate
There is something inherently special about raising beef cattle and eventually enjoying the succulent flavors of a homemade steak or hamburger. But few consider the long journey a beef lung takes before it reaches the dinner plate. From the farm to the table, there are numerous steps involved in the preparation of beef before it is consumed. This article will explore the intricate process of raising beef, followed by how a beef lung is created and then how it travels to a dinner plate.
The Beginnings: Raising the Cattle
Beef cattle are typically raised in open grass pastures that allow the cattle plenty of room to roam, graze, and drink fresh water from a nearby stream or river. In the United States, the most common cattle breeds are Angus and Hereford. In order for cattle to grow and generate the necessary muscle development for exceptional beef quality, they are typically rotated around the pasture a few times a year. During the rotation, the cattle’s diet consists mainly of grass. The hay and feed used to supplement their diets are determined by the cattle farmer and may include protein, minerals, and vitamins.
As the cattle grow, farmers watch for any signs of deficiency in their growth. Such signs include discoloration in the hide or hooves, lack of appetite, coat condition, and signs of illness. If any deficiencies arise, the farmer must take quick action to remedy the issue and keep the herd healthy and productive.
Slaughtering the Animal
When a beef cattle is slaughtered, it undergoes a merciful process known as ‘stun and bleed.’ During this process, the animal is stunned to ensure it stays still by a captive bolt gun or electrical shock. Then, the animal is bled from the carotid artery in the neck using a sharp knife. This allows the body to be quickly bled out and prevents any bacteria from entering the meat.
Once the animal is bled out, it is then moved to a carcass chilling room. The carcass will hang in the chill room for approximately 3 days, with the temperature at 38-40°F. During this time, the carcass is routinely inspected by a USDA inspector to ensure the highest quality.
Making the Lung
Once the chilling process is complete, the carcass is moved to the fabrication area. Now, the skilled workers will break down the animal into various meat products, including the lung. Lung is a product of trimming fat and muscles from the thoracic cavity (ribcage) of the animal. Specifically, the diaphragm is carefully cut and. trimmed away from the animal’s body. In some cases, the animal’s lungs may also be left with its rib cage, providing a higher-quality product. After the lungs have been removed, they are separated from the rib cage and any remaining fat and connective tissue. This yields a lean, yet meaty product perfect for consumption.
Cleaning and Packaging the Lung
After separation, the lungs are sent for further cleaning. The process often begins with flushing, which involves running cold, chlorine-enriched water through the lungs to break up any remaining fat or connective tissue that may still be attached to the lung. Then, the lungs are rinsed with cold, chlorinated water to remove any remaining tissue and fat.
Once the lungs are fully cleaned, they are typically soaked in cold, chlorinated water for 12 hours. This removes any residual blood and helps reduce the number of microbes present, making the lungs safe for human consumption. After the soaking process, the lungs are graded, weighed, and inspected one last time.
After the lungs are completely inspected and graded, they are packaged in plastic wrappers and shipped to restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers for purchase. Depending on the retailer and place of purchase, consumers may find lung that has been vacuum-packed, fresh, or frozen.
How it Reaches the Dinner Plate
After the lungs are purchased, there are many ways to cook and enjoy them. The most popular ways are roasting, grilling, and simmering. Before cooking, the lungs should always be washed and the surface fat should be removed. To cook, the lungs can be seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs and then either roasted, grilled, or simmered. Roasting and grilling are the most common methods and are done by preheating an oven or grill, then placing the lungs on a baking rack and seasoning with herbs and spices. Simmering is done by adding the lungs to a pot of hot, seasoned liquid and cooking for about 1 hour or until the desired texture, flavor, and tenderness is achieved.
The journey of a beef lung from pasture to plate is a true feat of the modern food chain. From grazing in the fields to being expertly cut, cleaned, and packaged, each step of the process is a testament to the quality and skill of the people involved. From the experienced farmer who raises the cattle to the skilled butcher who breaks down the animal into various meat products, there are multiple steps taken before a beef lung is ready to be enjoyed.
|Vitamin A||0.012 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.0327 grams|
|Vitamin B1||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.14 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.00249 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.62 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.02 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.008 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0.00259 mg|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Aspartic Acid||1.231 grams|
|Glutamic Acid||2.174 grams|
|Total Sugars||0.131141 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||0.06 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||0.67 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||0.35 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||1.08 g|
|Oleic acid (18:1)||0.7 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.14 grams||
|Gadoleic acid (20:1)||0.03 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||0.87 g|
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.03 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||0.25 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||0.28 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.28 g|