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Organ meats are a concentrated source of nutrients and are included in the traditional cuisines of many cultures around the world.

While people have consumed them since ancient times, the popularity of premodern eating patterns like the paleo diet has brought renewed interest in organ meats.

Tripe is a type of organ meat made from the edible stomach lining of farm animals.

This article tells you everything you need to know about tripe, including its nutrition, potential benefits, and how to add it to your diet.

Ruminant animals like cows, buffalo, and sheep have multiple stomach chambers to properly digest their food. Ruminant animals are a type of large hoofed animal with a unique digestive system, such as cows and sheep.

Tripe refers to the edible muscle walls of the stomachs of these animals.

Considered an edible byproduct of animal slaughter, tripe is sold for human consumption or added to animal foods, such as dry dog kibble.

Beef tripe is one of the most commonly eaten varieties.

Tripe is a tough meat that needs to be prepared properly to become edible. It’s commonly cooked by moist heat methods, such as boiling or stewing.

It has a chewy texture and a mild taste, taking on the flavor of other ingredients it’s cooked with.

Tripe is frequently added to sausages — such as andouille sausage — and is also used in dishes like stews and soups.

What’s more, it can be stuffed with ingredients like blood, meat, and herbs and spices to make slátur, a traditional Icelandic sausage similar to blood pudding.

There are four different kinds of beef tripe, classified depending on which stomach chamber the product was made from. The four types include:

  • Blanket or flat tripe. This type is made from the first stomach chamber of cows. This smooth tripe is considered the least desirable.
  • Honeycomb tripe. This variety stems from the second stomach chamber and resembles a honeycomb. It’s more tender than blanket tripe and has a more palatable flavor.
  • Omasum or book tripe. Coming from the third stomach chamber, this type of tripe is described as a mix between blanket and honeycomb tripe.
  • Abomasum or reed tripe. This variety is from the fourth stomach chamber. Its taste varies from strong to mild.

While tripe from different animals is consumed around the world, it’s not as popular as more common organ meats like heart, liver, and kidney.

This slaughter byproduct is also a common ingredient in pet foods.

Summary

Tripe refers to the stomach lining of ruminant animals like cows, sheep, and buffalo. It has a tough texture and mild flavor.

Tripe is rich in protein and nutrients like:

  • vitamin B12
  • selenium
  • zinc
  • calcium
  • iron

This means it can benefit your body in the following ways:

  • helps build muscles
  • supports weight management
  • aids red blood cell formation and helps avoid anemia
  • helps build and maintain strong bones
  • may help lower risk of age-related cognitive changes
  • speeds up wound healing
  • supports a healthy immune response

Rich in high quality protein

Your body needs protein for vital processes, such as:

  • cell-to-cell communication
  • fluid balance
  • immune system function
  • tissue repair and maintenance

Tripe is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs to function.

Adding protein-rich foods to your diet can help with losing excess body fat or maintaining a moderate weight.

Protein is the most filling of all nutrients. Adding a protein source like tripe to meals and snacks can help reduce hunger and overeating.

An excellent source of vitamins and minerals

Tripe packs an impressive amount of nutrients, including selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

A 5-ounce (140-gram) serving of cooked beef tripe delivers:

  • 64 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin B12
  • 33 percent of the DV of selenium
  • 19 percent of the DV of zinc

Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell production, nerve transmission, and energy production. Zinc is vital for cell division, immune function, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Selenium is a mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. It’s also needed for DNA production, thyroid health, and metabolism.

Additionally, tripe is a good source of the minerals:

  • calcium
  • phosphorus
  • magnesium
  • iron
Summary

Tripe is rich in protein and a number of vitamins and minerals. What’s more, it’s an affordable food that supports sustainable food practices.

Organ meats tend to be highly nutritious — and tripe is no exception.

Tripe is low in calories but loaded with important nutrients your body needs to thrive.

A 5-ounce (140-gram) serving of cooked beef tripe provides:

  • Calories: 125
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Vitamin B12: 1.53 micrograms or 64 percent of the DV
  • Selenium: 18.2 micrograms or 33 percent of the DV
  • Zinc: 2.07 milligrams or 19 percent of the DV
  • Calcium: 101 milligrams or 8 percent of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 93.8 milligrams or 8 percent of the DV
  • Iron: 0.868 milligrams or 5 percent of the DV
  • Magnesium: 19.6 milligrams or 5 percent of the DV

Tripe is also a good source of manganese and niacin (vitamin B3).

It is an excellent source of highly absorbable protein and contains an impressive amount of vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc — nutrients that are lacking in many people’s diets.

Summary

Tripe is low in calories yet rich in protein, vitamin B12, and the minerals zinc and selenium.

Because tripe is not as desirable as steak and other meat products, it’s a more affordable protein option for those trying to save money.

Plus, purchasing tripe supports the nose-to-tail consumption of animals, which cuts down on food waste.

Unlike traditional methods in which every part of an animal killed for food was used, modern-day meat production often leads to less-in-demand animal parts being thrown away.

Choosing to eat organ meats and other slaughter byproducts like tripe promotes a less wasteful way of consuming animals.

Tripe is relatively high in cholesterol, with a 5-ounce (140-gram) serving packing in 178 milligrams of cholesterol — 59 percent of the DV of 300 milligrams.

For most people, dietary cholesterol has little impact on overall cholesterol levels.

However, a small number of people are considered cholesterol hyper-responders and are more impacted by high cholesterol foods.

For hyper-responders, it’s best to keep high cholesterol foods like tripe to a minimum.

Aside from being rich in cholesterol, the smell, taste, and texture of tripe might turn some people off.

Tripe is a tough-textured meat that is usually precooked before being sold to consumers.

However, it still needs to be cooked for a long period of time — usually 2 to 3 hours — before it’s ready.

In order to soften the texture, moist cooking methods like boiling or stewing are recommended.

Additionally, seasoning with spices and fresh herbs is recommended to enhance the bland flavor of tripe.

Even though cooking and seasoning should make this organ meat tastier, some people — especially those with aversions to chewy, textured foods — may not be a fan.

What’s more, some say that raw tripe has a distinct smell, which may not sit well with some people.

Summary

The smell, taste, and texture of tripe may turn some people off, especially if it’s not prepared in the right way. Plus, tripe is high in cholesterol, which may not be the best choice for those who are sensitive to high cholesterol foods.

Tripe can be added to most savory meals or snacks.

Most tripe sold in stores is precooked and bleached in a chlorine solution to remove any impurities.

Before cooking tripe, rinse it thoroughly to remove any leftover chlorine residue.

Unprocessed tripe — available from some butchers or farms — is said to have a stronger flavor and must be cleaned carefully before cooking.

Here are a few ways that you can add tripe to your diet:

  • Mix cooked tripe into eggs with sauteed vegetables.
  • Use tripe as a high protein salad topper.
  • Combine tripe with onions, butter, and fresh herbs and serve on crusty bread.
  • Make a traditional Italian stew with tripe, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
  • Add tripe to a tomato sauce and serve over pasta.
  • Use tripe as an ingredient in homemade sausage.
  • Boil tripe with onions and milk for a classic British dish.

Another common preparation for tripe is deep-frying, which is popular in Southern cuisine.

However, like all deep-fried foods, fried tripe should be eaten sparingly.

Summary

Tripe can be added to eggs, salads, soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Tripe must be properly cleaned before cooking.

Tripe, like other organ meats, is packed with nutrients, including vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc.

Adding this high quality protein to savory dishes or snacks may cut down on food waste and costs.

Still, tripe is high in cholesterol, and its unique texture and taste may not appeal to everyone.

Many people from various cultures cook with tripe, but for some, it may be new. If you haven’t tried it before and you’re looking to expand your palate and save money, give tripe a try.