Aunt Bessie Chitterlings Recipe

Aunt Bessie's chitterlings are a beloved Southern tradition that have been enjoyed for generations. They may not be for everyone, but for those who love them, they are a true delicacy that are well worth the effort it takes to prepare them just right.

Aunt Bessie Chitterlings

    Aunt Bessie Chitterlings

  • Cuisine: American
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 150 calories

About this recipe

Well, let me tell you about Aunt Bessie's chitterlings! Chitterlings, also known as chitlins, are a traditional Southern delicacy made from pig intestines.

Now, I know that might sound a bit unusual to some folks, but trust me when I say that they are absolutely delicious if cooked properly.

Aunt Bessie's recipe for chitterlings involves thoroughly cleaning the chitterlings, soaking them in cold water, and then cooking them with onions, garlic, vinegar, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves for several hours until they are tender and fully cooked.

The result is a flavorful and satisfying dish that can be served hot with your favorite sides, such as collard greens or cornbread. But I have to warn you, chitterlings do have a distinct odor when cooking, so it's important to be mindful of that and take precautions to reduce the smell.

Origin of Aunt Bessie Chitterlings recipe

Chitterlings, also known as chitlins, have a long history in Southern cuisine, particularly in African American communities. The tradition of eating pig intestines dates back to the time of slavery, when enslaved people were given the less desirable parts of the pig to eat.

Over time, chitterlings became a beloved part of Southern cooking, and many families developed their own recipes and methods for preparing them.

Today, chitterlings are still a popular dish in many Southern communities, and there are a variety of recipes and preparations methods. Some recipes call for cooking the chitterlings with onions, garlic, and spices, while others may use a vinegar-based sauce or incorporate them into stews or soups.

Regardless of the specifics, chitterlings remain an important part of Southern culinary heritage and continue to be enjoyed by many.

Why make this recipe?

If you're someone who enjoys trying new and unique dishes, Aunt Bessie's chitterlings recipe is definitely worth a try! Here are a few reasons why:

  1. They are a beloved Southern tradition. Chitterlings have been a part of Southern cuisine for centuries and have a long history of being enjoyed by generations of families. Trying Aunt Bessie's recipe can give you a taste of this cultural heritage and allow you to experience a part of Southern cuisine that you might not have tried before.
  2. They are a delicious and flavorful dish. While chitterlings may sound unusual, they are actually quite tasty when cooked properly. The combination of onions, garlic, vinegar, and spices gives them a rich and savory flavor that is truly satisfying.
  3. They are a high-protein food. Chitterlings are a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues in the body. If you're looking to increase your protein intake, chitterlings can be a good option.
  4. They can be a fun and unique addition to your menu. If you're someone who likes to try new and interesting dishes, adding Aunt Bessie's chitterlings to your menu can be a fun way to mix things up and offer something different to your family or guests.

In a few words, Aunt Bessie's chitterlings recipe is a delicious and unique dish that is worth trying if you're someone who enjoys exploring new foods and cultures. Just be prepared for a bit of a lengthy cooking process and a distinct odor during preparation!

What does Aunt Bessie Chitterlings taste like?

The taste of Aunt Bessie's chitterlings can be an acquired taste, but for those who enjoy them, they are a delicious and satisfying Southern delicacy.

Aunt Bessie's chitterlings, like any chitterlings, have a distinct flavor and texture. They are rich, savory, and meaty, with a slightly chewy texture.

he seasoning used in Aunt Bessie's recipe, which typically includes onions, garlic, vinegar, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves, adds additional depth and complexity to the flavor.

Some people describe the taste of chitterlings as earthy or funky, due to the fact that they are made from pig intestines. However, when cooked properly, the flavor should be well-balanced and satisfying, with the seasoning helping to enhance the natural flavor of the meat.

What would you need for this recipe?

  • Cleaned chitterlings: Chitterlings are the small intestines of a pig, and they need to be thoroughly cleaned before cooking. It's important to purchase them from a reputable source and follow proper food safety procedures when handling them.
  • Onions: Onions are a common seasoning in chitterlings recipes and add a sweet, savory flavor to the dish.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, slightly spicy flavor to the chitterlings.
  • White vinegar: Vinegar helps to tenderize the chitterlings and adds a tangy flavor.
  • Salt: Salt is a common seasoning in chitterlings recipes and helps to bring out the natural flavor of the meat.
  • Black pepper: Black pepper adds a subtle heat and earthy flavor to the dish.
  • Red pepper flakes: Red pepper flakes add a spicy kick to the chitterlings.
  • Bay leaves: Bay leaves add a subtle herbal flavor and aroma to the dish.
  • Water: Water is needed to cook the chitterlings and create a flavorful broth.

However, it is highly advisable to have these equipment on hand before starting this recipe.

  • Large stockpot: A large stockpot is needed to cook the chitterlings and create a flavorful broth. A Dutch oven or any large, heavy-bottomed pot can be used as a substitute.
  • Cutting board and knife: A cutting board and knife are needed to chop the onions and garlic. Any sharp knife and sturdy cutting board will work.
  • Colander or strainer: A colander or strainer is needed to rinse and drain the chitterlings. A fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth can be used as a substitute.
  • Plastic gloves: Wearing gloves while handling the chitterlings is recommended for hygiene reasons.
  • Large spoon or ladle: A large spoon or ladle is needed to stir the chitterlings and transfer them to serving dishes.
  • Paper towels: Paper towels are useful for drying the chitterlings after they've been cleaned.
  • Cooking thermometer: A cooking thermometer is helpful for ensuring that the chitterlings are fully cooked to a safe temperature. A meat thermometer or digital thermometer can be used as a substitute.

How to make Aunt Bessie Chitterlings

Indulge in the rich and savory flavors of Aunt Bessie's chitterlings recipe, a classic Southern dish that's perfect for exploring new flavors and ingredients. With this step-by-step guide, you can prepare this delicious and satisfying meal in no time. Impress your family and friends with a taste of the South that they won't soon forget.


  • 5 pounds of chitterlings
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water

Instructions to follow

  1. Clean the chitterlings thoroughly by rinsing them in cold water several times and removing any excess fat or debris. Soak them in cold water for at least an hour.
  2. In a large pot, add the chitterlings, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Cover the ingredients with water, making sure the chitterlings are completely submerged.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let the chitterlings simmer for at least 4-6 hours, or until they are tender and fully cooked.
  4. Once the chitterlings are cooked, remove them from the pot and place them in a large bowl. Serve hot with your favorite sides, such as collard greens or cornbread.

Note: Chitterlings have a distinct odor when cooking, so it is recommended to open windows and use a ventilation fan to reduce the smell. Additionally, it is important to handle chitterlings properly to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. Always clean them thoroughly and cook them to the recommended internal temperature of 165°F.

How do you serve Aunt Bessie Chitterlings recipe?

Once the chitterlings are fully cooked and tender, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot and transfer them to a large serving dish.

  • Pour some of the cooking liquid over the chitterlings to keep them moist and flavorful.
  • Garnish the dish with chopped fresh herbs or sliced scallions for added flavor and visual appeal.
  • Serve the chitterlings hot, accompanied by your choice of side dishes such as cornbread, collard greens, or black-eyed peas.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave or heat gently on the stove until heated through.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 662 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Aunt Bessie Chitterlings, Aunt Bessie Chitterlings Recipe, Recipe

What to serve with?

Aunt Bessie's chitterlings are a traditional Southern dish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. I have a few options that would complement the flavors of the chitterlings below:

  1. Cornbread: Cornbread is a classic Southern side dish that pairs well with chitterlings. The slightly sweet and crumbly texture of the cornbread can help balance out the savory flavor of the chitterlings.
  2. Collard greens: Collard greens are another traditional Southern side dish that work well with chitterlings. The earthy, slightly bitter flavor of the greens can help cut through the richness of the chitterlings.
  3. Black-eyed peas: Black-eyed peas are a popular side dish in the South and complement the meaty flavor of the chitterlings. They also add a hearty, nutritious element to the meal.
  4. Fried okra: Fried okra is a crispy and flavorful side dish that can add a nice contrast in texture to the chitterlings. The mild flavor of the okra can also help balance out the spiciness of the dish.
  5. Sweet potato casserole: Sweet potato casserole is a sweet and creamy side dish that can provide a nice contrast to the savory flavor of the chitterlings.

Note that, the key is to choose side dishes that complement and balance the strong flavor of the chitterlings. By combining the chitterlings with a variety of flavorful and nutritious sides, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying Southern-style meal.

My recommendations and tips for you

  1. Clean and prepare the chitterlings thoroughly: Chitterlings need to be cleaned well before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. Soaking them in a mixture of water and vinegar for a few hours can help remove any unwanted odors and make them easier to clean. Rinse them thoroughly before cooking.
  2. Cook them slowly: Chitterlings need to be cooked slowly over low heat for a long time. This will help to tenderize them and reduce any tough or chewy texture.
  3. Season them well: Chitterlings have a mild flavor on their own, so it's important to season them well with salt, pepper, and other herbs and spices to add flavor.
  4. Serve with traditional sides: Chitterlings are often served with other traditional southern sides like collard greens, cornbread, and black-eyed peas. These sides complement the flavor of the chitterlings and provide a complete meal.
  5. Use caution when cooking: Chitterlings can be dangerous if not cooked properly. Be sure to cook them to an internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill any harmful bacteria.

Chitterlings can be a delicious and flavorful dish when prepared correctly. However, they do require some time and effort to clean and cook properly, so it's important to follow proper cooking techniques and safety precautions.

How to store Aunt Bessie Chitterlings

If you have leftover Aunt Bessie's chitterlings, here are some storage tips:

  1. Let the chitterlings cool to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container or plastic bag. You can store them whole or cut into smaller pieces.
  2. Store the chitterlings in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  3. To reheat, you can microwave the chitterlings or heat them gently on the stove in a small amount of water or broth. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. You can also freeze the chitterlings for longer storage. Place them in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw the chitterlings overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat as directed above.

Keep in mind that chitterlings have a strong odor, so it's a good idea to store them separately from other foods in your refrigerator or freezer to avoid any cross-contamination. Also, be sure to reheat the chitterlings thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure they are safe to eat.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Chitterlings substitute: While there is no substitute for chitterlings in this particular recipe, if you're unable to find them or prefer not to use them, you could try using a different type of meat or protein, such as pork belly, chicken, or tofu. However, keep in mind that this would result in a different flavor and texture profile than the original recipe.
  • Onions and garlic substitute: If you don't have fresh onions and garlic on hand, you could try using dried onion flakes or garlic powder instead. However, fresh onions and garlic provide a more robust and flavorful base for the dish.
  • Hot sauce substitute: If you don't have hot sauce, you could substitute with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to add some heat to the dish.
  • Apple cider vinegar substitute: If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you could use regular white vinegar or lemon juice instead. However, apple cider vinegar adds a slightly sweet and tangy flavor that complements the chitterlings well.
  • Bay leaves substitute: If you don't have bay leaves, you could leave them out or substitute with dried thyme or oregano for additional flavor.
  • Salt and pepper substitute: If you're watching your sodium intake, you could reduce the amount of salt used or use a salt substitute. For pepper, you could use white or black pepper, depending on your preference.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, Aunt Bessie's chitterlings recipe is a flavorful and traditional Southern dish that's perfect for anyone looking to explore new flavors and ingredients. While it may seem intimidating at first, with a little patience and care, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that's sure to impress your family and friends.

Remember to source your chitterlings from a reputable butcher and take the time to clean and prepare them properly. The rest of the recipe is relatively simple and can be adapted to your taste preferences. Serve your chitterlings with your favorite sides and enjoy the rich and savory flavors of this classic Southern dish.

So why not give Aunt Bessie's chitterlings recipe a try and experience a true taste of the South? You may just discover a new favorite dish that you'll want to enjoy again and again.

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