Organ Meat for Beginners

Organ meat is not something that I think the Standard American Eater regularly consumes. I’ll admit I would never have DREAMED I would ever be eating liver or kidneys. Until I realized how expensive it was to eat grass fed meat all the time.

I realized I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet and I need to find inexpensive sources of sustainable, quality protein. Sardines, canned tuna (BPA free), and eggs come to mind. But I was still hitting a wall with my nutrition and protein intake. Enter: organ meat.

Eek! I know. My farmer gave it to me for FREE. When I took the first liver out of the bag I could barely stand the smell. It has a very strong metallic/blood sort of smell but I sucked it up and started on the first task: I wanted to grind up the liver so I could mix it with my ground beef.

The first recipe I tried was mixing it in with PaleOMG’s Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Sounds innocent enough, but I did a “half and half” mixture (1 lb ground beef with 1 lb liver). And the taste was almost too much. I ate the whole casserole all week for lunches but I was like forcing it down. I don’t waste food!!!!

The second recipe, I got a little smarter and mixed it into meatloaf with beef, pork and (obviously) bacon. Bacon makes everything good.















The recipe is being saved for another project I’m working on!

Liver Meatloaf










The meatloaf was much better and you couldn’t taste the liver at all. Sneaky sneaky!

Next up was kidney. I had to google this one because I had no idea how to prepare it. Turns out taking away some taste before you cook it is necessary. You do this by removing the fatty part, cutting it and soaking it in water for 2 hours. So I did that. Then I ran it through the meat grinder. (I’ll spare you pictures here).

Then I made meatballs! And that brings me to this recipe:

Kidney Meatballs













Hidden Kidney Meatballs
Yields 30
Trying to incorporate organ meat can be difficult....try these meatballs if you're a beginner.
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Prep Time
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 pastured beef kidney, fat cut off, soaked, rinsed, and ground with a meat grinder.
  2. 1.5 lb ground beef
  3. 1/2 lb ground pork
  4. 1 onion, minced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  7. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  8. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. A couple of hours before dinner, prep your kidney by cutting off the fat, chopping into pieces and placing in a bowl of cold water. Let sit for two hours.
  2. Drain the kidney and run it through your meat grinder.
  3. Mix the kidney, beef, pork, spices and veggies together in a bowl with your hands.
  4. Form into balls and bake on two baking sheets for approx 30 minutes. Serve with sauce over spaghetti squash, or as desired.
Pencils and Pancakes
The kidney has a less offensive taste than the liver (way more mild organ taste). However in the meatballs I could hardly taste it with the spices/sauce added. After my first run in with liver I decided to try again. This week when I made it I had a grass fed liver, as opposed to an organic one. SUCH a difference. The flavor was WAY less noticeable.

The main problem was that I had a huge chunk of frozen liver that needed defrosting and I have to defrost it all at once. But my palate can’t handle much liver per dish….so it’s like what do I do with the rest of this liver? I can’t re freeze it, and I don’t feel like consuming ALL of it in the next day or two…so what I did was grind the rest of it, cook it up in a saute pan with garlic and onions, and then put it back in the freezer. I figure I can throw it into sauces, tacos if we have them, or maybe even chili.

So if you get the drift, if you’re new to organ meat remember:

1. Start with a small ratio to regular meat.

2. SPICES are your friend.


Have you ever tried liver? What are your experiences with it?

Let me know your favorite hidden liver recipes!!!



9 thoughts on “Organ Meat for Beginners

  1. Madison @ Eating 4 Balance

    Yum. I love organ meat! I really want to make up a big meatloaf with maybe 1/4 or 1/2 organ meat and 3/4-1/2 ground beef. We used to get all of the organs along with our pastured chickens, but now we found a cheaper butcher with the same chickens… and they take the organs out 🙁 I thought about asking them last time what they do with all of their organ meat and if they’d be willing to sell (or donate 😉 ).

    Oh yes, and kidney > liver 🙂
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  3. Birdie

    Great suggestions but…wow, beef liver! Not really an entry offal, so to speak and beef kidneys too. No wonder you’ve been struggling. Personally, as a confirmed and lifelong liver and kidney lover I wouldn’t touch either if it was beef. Chicken livers and calf liver are delicacies to many in the UK, mild and tender and lovely and definitely the place to start. Next up would be lamb’s and this will of course always be grass fed, at least in the UK, and where I shop, and lambs kidneys are lovely too. I may push myself to try lambs hearts too.

    I might try Pork too, one day, but you are braver than me, tackling beef liver!

  4. Laurie

    Liver also benefits from soaking and rinsing. Soak for a half hour, dump the water (or use it for houseplants/garden) and rinse and soak again. This will remove a considerable amount of blood left in the meat, and will cut down on the iron taste (still very rich in iron, just less overpowering taste).

    Heart is fantastic! It is an excellent source of CoQ10, and has a mild taste (especially compared to liver or kidney).
    I like to pan sear heart , and slice it over salad.

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