Frank G has noticed that sometimes tripe smells like a barn (wet hay and dirt) despite careful rinsing. And boiling doesn’t get rid of the smell. “Is there any other cleaning that needs to be done to take care of the odor? Had the tripe gone bad?” he wonders.

“Tripe should be boiled in a few washings to get rid of the smell,” says JungMann. “You can add a bit of white vinegar to the pot to mask some of the odor. If done correctly, the final washing should be relatively odorless, whereupon you know the tripe is ready for your menudo.” (Sam Fujisaka assures us that tripe won’t get soft and mushy from these repeated boilings.) In the Philippines,” says sweethaven, “we wash scrub the tripe with rock salt then rinse in cold running water before cooking.”

Will Owen takes a philosophical approach. He describes his first experience with menudo: “When the bowl arrived it seemed as though we had just moved next to the Chicago stockyards, and someone had opened a window! At which point I said to myself, ‘This is innards I’m about to eat. I like innards, even though the only tripe I’ve had so far was in Campbell’s Pepper Pot soup. I guess this is the grownup version.’ And I ate it, and it was awfully good. Since then, I’ve had a lot of tripe from a lot of cuisines, and chitterlings besides, and sometimes it stank and sometimes it didn’t. Just like cheese, or people, or most of what life offers.”

Discuss: Question about tripe and its odor

See more articles