If you have recently come across “Buche” and want to learn all about it, then we have just the guide for you!
What is buche? Buche is a dish made from pig offal, specifically, the stomach. Spanish in origin, it is enjoyed with tacos, stews, and other delicious recipes across Mexico. Buche has an overall milder flavor than pork meat but its texture and chewiness are unlike any other pork cut!
Read below to learn more about buche, how it is prepared, what it tastes like, how to use it, and more.
What Is Buche?
In simple terms, a “buche” is a pig’s stomach or a section of a pig’s stomach that has been cleaned with vinegar, and then slow cooked for several hours until completely tender.
Buche has been a delicacy in Mexico, and even other parts of the world, for a long time. It is popularly prepared with tacos and served with a side of acidic ingredients or pickled vegetables.
To the uninitiated, buche may seem like an off-putting option, but it is in fact one of the best types of organ meat in the world.
Sure, it might be an acquired taste and it may take a while to get around to eating animal stomach, but there is no denying that if prepared the right way, buche can take on complex flavors and can be quite delicious!
As a bonus, it is also loaded with fat-soluble macro and micronutrients — and it is a great source of animal protein too!
Here are some of the characteristics of buche.
This recipe offers a more mild flavor than regular pork meat and usually takes on the flavors of other ingredients added to it during the stewing process.
The reason for its noticeably milder flavor, despite being an organ, is that chefs usually soak the stomach in a vinegar solution. This cleans the stomach and also helps mitigate its naturally strong odor and flavor.
Once it is “sanitized,” it is then washed again with corn flour. This rigorous cleaning process ensures that the buche is completely safe to eat and delicious! Don’t worry, we’ll cover all this below.
Once the meat is ready to be cooked, it is stewed in a large pot for several hours until it becomes tender. The stomach is usually cut or cooked whole. It is stewed with spices and herbs and then left to rest for a few hours.
After it is ready, it is served with onions, cilantro, and a special green sauce. It is also usually paired with other fresh toppings like salsa verde or other savory and spicy ingredients to balance out its flavor.
Raw buche has a rubbery feel to it. Although it is less spongey compared to the offal of other animals, it does share some similarities with them.
Cooked buche is perhaps best known for its very tender and slightly chewy texture, especially when compared to beef tripe.
A cow’s stomach is known to be naturally tough. Even when it is stewed for hours, the meat remains firm and takes a while to be chewed – but this isn’t the case with buche since it isn’t from cows!
Pig’s stomach can be prepared at the same time, but it ends up being deliciously tender due to its thickness and thin structure.
A pig’s stomach is often attached with pieces of fat too, which can slightly affect the overall texture. You also get the option to have excess fat removed from the stomach, which can greatly increase the tenderness of the meat.
Buche can be served in stews, chili, tacos, and carne asada.
Since it is considered to be exotic, it is usually tried as the main dish with just a side of sliced veggies. This is done to get a taste of the meat and to become accustomed to its taste.
Perhaps the most famous use of buche is as a taco spread!
Taco de Buche is a popular dish at taquerias and Mexican food trucks. Trying buche in tacos is perhaps the best way to get introduced to the meat because of the familiar flavors!
You can also find several stewed buche recipes where it is commonly paired with either ground and/or whole spices, along with vegetables.
As the meat cooks, it imparts an excellent aroma and flavor — which some describe as tasting just like a mitigated pork shoulder.
Buche carne asada is another excellent way to enjoy this meat. Not only does it impart a delicious smoky flavor, but it also introduces a bit of caramelization from the grilling, which completely elevates the profile of the meat!
Why Eat Organ Meat?
The practice of eating offal and organ meat stems from centuries ago when consuming all of an animal was considered to be a common practice.
There wasn’t a lot of food to go around and people had to make do with what they had. This is one of the reasons why humans resorted to eating all of the meat from their domesticated (or hunted) animals.
Offal and organ meat are nowadays either considered to be a waste or, in some parts of the world, a delicacy.
But since buche tastes more or less like regular pork, it can be enjoyed by the masses!
Some restaurants offer various dishes made from brain, liver, and even pork tongues. In some households, you might even find a combination of all of this organ meat, which can be prepared in several delicious ways.
These types of recipes, again, stem from the belief of not wasting any meat from the animal.
While you may be hesitant to try them at first, we guarantee that you might end up liking them, especially if you already enjoy any type of organ meat from any animal!
How To Prepare Buche
Even with all of its good qualities, buche can also be a potentially dangerous food to try – but only if you don’t prepare it the right way, just like any other meat cut.
As mentioned before, cleaning is crucial in making good-quality buche because it not only cleanses the meat from the inside out but also subdues its strong odor, which may put some people off.
Pig stomach contains bacteria and maybe even some pathogens that can endanger your health. This is why professional butchers first “sterilize” the meat with vinegar or salt. Thankfully, the process is easier than it sounds.
Cleaning buche can be a slightly labor-intensive job since it requires rubbing the stomach until it is free from any residue. Here is how to prepare buche for home use.
1. Clean The Exterior
Let’s start with the exterior of the stomach.
The exterior will have a mix of smooth and ridged textures. To begin, add a bit of salt (or vinegar) to the surface and gently rub it into the exterior of the stomach.
Salt is a great way to not only remove bacteria but to also get rid of the natural odor of the organ. We recommend pushing in and rubbing the salt with your fingertips for the best results.
Do not bury your nails into the stomach or it might tear! You need to keep the organ intact during the cleaning process to make things easier.
Once the exterior has been cleaned, you can move on to the interior of the buche.
2. Clean The Interior
You will notice the interior to be considerably slimier. This slippery texture is due to a combination of certain enzymes and fat.
To remove this superficial layer of slime, use the same strategy and gently massage salt on the inside.
Pro Tip: Fold and push the exterior into the opening to expose the interior skin — much like how you would invert a T-shirt.
Make sure that you get salt over all the corners and crevasses of the stomach!
Once done, let the stomach sit for about 10-15 minutes, and then rinse it with clean water. Gently rub your fingers around the stomach to remove all the excess salt from the surface.
If you notice a few fat deposits over the surface of the stomach even after rinsing, then we recommend that you remove the excess fat using a sharp knife.
Don’t dig into the stomach or it might tear! You just need to superficially cut through the fat layer to remove bits and pieces.
3. Corn Flour Wash
After the salt rub and rinse, apply a bit of corn flour on the inside of the buche to further remove odor and any leftover residue.
To do this, we recommend turning the stomach inside out as described above.
Leave the corn flour on the stomach for 4-5 minutes and then wash it again. Repeat this step until you don’t smell any strong odor from the inside of the stomach.
Ideally, you would only need to repeat this step 2-3 times to deodorize the inside lining of the stomach.
4. Scald The Buche
This is the final step in prepping buche!
After checking off all the above steps, heat a wok and put the stomach in the center. Allow it to scald at high heat for about 5 minutes.
Make sure that the stomach is oriented the right way: meaning, make sure that the stomach isn’t inside out!
After 5 minutes turn off the heat and let the stomach sit for a while. You will notice a thick brownish liquid pooling around the center.
Once the stomach starts to cool down, remove it from the wok and discard the expelled liquid.
Turn the stomach inside out to check for sliminess.
By now, the stomach shouldn’t have any slime to it. If it still does, you can scald the stomach for another 2-3 minutes to dissolve all the residue from the inside.
How To Cook Buche
Now that you know how to prepare the buche, it’s time to cook it! There are several methods for cooking buche — here are some of our favorites.
Thanks to its aroma and flavor, buche makes for a great stock! You can go with virtually any stock recipe — and for more flavor, you may also add in bone-in meat or just bones for an added dimension of flavor.
Pair the broth with veggies and enjoy this tasty and distinctly porky soup!
As mentioned above, buche is popularly used as a filling for tacos. The tender meat and the acidic toppings go extremely well and provide a delicious contrasting texture and flavor.
You can make Tacos De Buche in several ways, and you can even experiment with the recipe to make it entirely your own!
Buche can also be BBQed along with pork meat to create a tantalizing and delicious main course meal.
The buche and pork meat play off each other’s textures while also providing a distinct umami-laden flavor that can be paired with just about any type of condiment.
There are several other cooking methods like stewing and even something as simple as pan frying can bring out the best in this food.
Just remember to cook it through. A great way to tell when it is done is when you can easily pull it apart without a lot of resistance!
As a general rule of thumb, when stewing or slow-cooking buche, you should expect a cook time of at least 2-3 hours with the lid on to render the meat.
How To Store Buche
The best way to store buche is to wrap it with several layers of cling wrap after you have fully prepped it.
Store the wrapped buche in a freezer-safe bag and store at 0°F for up to one month for the best flavor and texture.
Do not cut the buche before storing it as it might ruin its texture as all the pieces clump up in the freezer.
To use the stored buche, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and use it as required after it is completely defrosted.
Signs Of Spoilage
Buche can easily spoil and you should be extra careful about using stored buche since organ meat can be highly susceptible to spoilage.
The top sign of a spoiled buche is its odor.
If you cleaned the buche before storing it, then chances are that it will smell like nothing — or it might only have a faint pork-like smell to it.
But if you notice a strong or even faint sulfuric odor that resembles rotten eggs, then you should just discard the stomach!
Discolored Flesh And Slime
If you notice streaks, blotches, or dark spots around the inside or outside of the stomach, then this could indicate spoilage.
If a pre-cleaned stomach shows signs of slime along with a foul odor, then you should assume that it has gone bad.
Please do not attempt to cook spoiled organ meat, even if it shows only subtle signs of spoilage — contrary to what people think, cooking spoiled meat with high heat will NOT make it safe to eat because of the leftover toxins in the meat.
Buche can be an acquired taste, but there is no doubt it is one of the best types of organ meat — especially when it’s prepared as a savory taco filling!
Now that you know what buche is, here are some related questions we thought you might have.
Can you cook buche in an instant pot?
Yes. Since buche takes a long time to cook, we recommend that you cut it into manageable pieces and then stew the stomach in an instant pot.
Not only will this bring down the overall cooking time of the meat, but it will also make it incredibly tender!
Is beef tripe similar to buche?
Both beef tripe and buche are considered to be offal — but they come from different animals. Buche always comes from pigs, while beef tripe is harvested from cows.
Both of these types of meat have different textures and flavors, but they can be cooked in the same way!
How long does cooked buche last?
Cooked buche should be refrigerated within two hours after cooking it.
If you have leftovers, then we recommend storing them in an airtight container. Store at 40°F and consume within 1-2 days for the best flavor and texture from the meat.