A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 08, 2008
Machito ("Texas Haggis")

"Machito” is sometimes called “Texas haggis”—two dishes not for the faint of heart.  Machito is made from the internal parts of a goat (such as the esophagus, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver), which are chopped and wrapped in a “tela” (visceral lining) and tied with a pieces of “tripa” (small intestine).

Machitos used to be found in South Texas and in West Texas (where they were called “buriñate” or “buruñate” or “burrañate"), but they are rarely seen in recent years. The supermarket chain HEB, however, has sold machitos.


Wikipedia: Tripas
Tripas, also known as Machitos, in Mexican cuisine are small intestines of farm animals that have been cleaned, boiled and grilled. Tripas are normally used as filling for tacos, then dressed with condiments such as cilantro, chopped onions, and chile sauce. Tripas as prepared Mexican style require careful attention by the cook to avoid becoming rubbery. The Mexican preparation, however, does not add any breading or much fat, thus helping to retain the healthful low fat, high protein characteristics of this type of meat.

Tripas de leche are similar in appearance to regular tripas, but are made from the internals of a cow’s udder. Tripas de leche are typically tenderized by marinating, then grilled.

Tripas in Portuguese cuisine, is beef stomach, and in the form of Tripas à moda do Porto (tripe with white beans) is considered the traditional food of the city of Oporto. People from Oporto often known as tripeiros or tripe eaters.

See also Chitterlings and Tripe. For use of tripe (stomach) in Mexican cooking, see menudo. Because of their name, machitos are sometimes mistaken for criadillas, which are grilled bull testicles.

Handbook of Texas Online
TEX-MEX FOODS. Tex-Mex foods are a combination of Indian and Spanish cuisines, which came together to make a distinct new cuisine. Foods also reveal some of the cultural differences between such regional groups as Mexican Americansqv in South Texas and those in West Texas.

There were numerous dishes made from various meats, both from domestic and wild animals. Some of the more traditional ones are from pork, including chicharrones (fried pork rinds and various internal parts); from goat, including cabrito and machitos (called buriñate or buruñate in West Texas and burrañate in New Mexico); and from cattle, including fajitas. When a goat is butchered, machitos are made from the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other internal parts, which are chopped and wrapped in the tela (visceral lining) and tied with a piece of the tripa, or small intestine. This is then cooked a la parrilla (on a grill) or al horno (in the oven).

Oh, Laredo! Tex-Mex Border Delights (quiz)
This Tex-Mex dish is not for the faint of heart—chopped kid goat hearts, kidneys and livers are combined with onions, peppers, and cilantro. This “interesting” mix is then wrapped in kid’s intestines and grilled over mesquite coals.
Your Answer: Machitos
I’ve never been able to bring myself to eat a machito, although I’ve prepared quite a few for family gatherings! It seems that every form of international cuisine has a dish that even the strongest and most adventurous gourmand quails before (Scottish Haggis comes to mind here). Machitos are an ingenious way to prepare “cabrito”, or kid goat, organ meats. Grilled cabrito is tender, flavorful, and low in cholesterol—but I can’t vouch for the machito cholesterol count!

Dallas Food
Birds and Barbecue in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Posted on Thursday, February 10 @ 13:54:28 PST
(...)
This was some fantastic cabrito, moist and flavorful (without any gaminess). The bit of loin provided much of the meat in the cut. But the most delicate, compelling flavor came from the paper-thin layer of meat between the skin and ribs. Delicious. (Theabroma tells me that no seasoning is added to the carcass before roasting, but that it is occasionally brushed with oil and beer.) When I flipped the ribs over, I noticed a bit of offal that had not been removed. Usually, the kidneys and heart are removed from the carcass and served separately as machito.

Wikipedia: Haggis
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish.

There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.

Haggis somewhat resembles stuffed intestines (pig intestines otherwise known as chitterlings or the kokoretsi of traditional Greek cuisine), sausages and savoury puddings of which it is among the largest types. As the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique puts it, “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour.” (p592)

18 October 1965, San Antonio (TX) Light, “‘’Cabrito’ Jam Session” by Hart Stilwell, pg. 17, col. 1:
But cabrito...and menudo...and machitos, they belong to San Antonio and the border country.

Food Research Needed
I was talking to my corner grocer, Manuel Flowers, about these Mexican dishes.

He asked me what a machito is. I looked at him in surprise, for he pronounced the word as though it were spelled mashito.

“You don’t speak Spanish, do you?” I asked.

“No, I’m a Cherokee,” he said. “Father lived in Oklahoma.”

But he was interested, and I explained.

A machito is a delightful tidbit made by wrapping the milk gut of a cabrito around a piece of body fat, then broiling the thing to a golden brown.

It is a favorite botana—appetizer—in many restaurants in Mexico. But I note with sadness that it is fading out in the border country.

24 August 1966, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Eating Is Good on the Mexican Border” by Hart Stilwell, pg. 20, cols. 2-6:
Of course I asked Porter why I could no longer get my favorite food appetizer, a machito.

This is a tidbit made by wrapping the long milk gut of a cabrito around a sliver of kidney fat from the animal.

“We get the cabritos clean,” he said, “except for the kidneys. People who sell them to us must like those insides, themselves.”
(...)
He seemed distressed...but finally he served my “machitos”—fried goat kidneys.

I ate them and never said a word...they were fine...still no machitos.

15 November 1966, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Cabrito Was Main Reason for Trip to Border” by Hart Stilwell, pg. 7, cols. 5-6:
Incidentally, I ordered machitos at Los Arcos—and was served cabrito kidneys wrapped in bacon. I guess I might as well forget the machito. Nobody today has enough time to sit and wrap that long milk gut around a little piece of kidney fat.

28 November 1966, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Fredericksburg Has Its Crossfires” by Hart Stilwell, pg. 32, col. 6:
Philip E. Casias of 368 Lockener, New Braunfels, says his mother and aunt, who were brought up in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, have an idea I am confused about terminology when I speak of machitos.

They know the tidbit under the name of burrinate, he says.

No, Philip, in South Texas and Mexico it’s a machito.

30 August 1968, San Antonio (TX) Light, “"The Machito, Yes? No?” by Hart Stilwell, pg. 18, col. 1:
I’d like to make an observation here on my favorite border tidbit, or appetizer—the machito—then I’ll lay off the border eating for a spell.

Ricardo assured me we would get fine machitos at La Cavana del Novio. Of course I was expecting what people in Matamoros (across from Brownsville) call a machito. I didn’t get that at all.

Strangely, once you move on up the Rio Grande a bit, you find that a machito is something made by stuffing the cutup kidneys, heart, lungs, and so on of a cabrito into a delicate skin and cooking the whole works. Such a machito isn’t bad...it just doesn’t move me at all.

The machito that I have known since I was a youth living at Brownsville is entirely different. it is made by wrapping the tiny milk gut of a cabrito around a sliver of kidney fat from the animal, then broiling the end product lightly.

Ah...what a flavor. But evidently making real machitos is another vanishing art form.

10 September 1969, Port Arthur (TX) News, pg. 21, col. 5:
MACHITOS
Flour tortillas
Refried beans, or
Chorizo (Mexican sausage), eggs, and hot pepper sauce filling
Place about 2 Tablespoons refried beans on flour tortilla. Roll and secure with a toothpick. Put in square pan in a 350 degree oven, sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese and bake for five minutes.
if a sausage filling is desired, cook one pound of Chorizo with 4 eggs and hot pepper sauce to taste. Use for filling, as above.
(This recipe does not appear to be the familiar “machitos”—ed.)

Google Books
Backcountry Mexico: A Traveler’s Guide and Phrase Book
by Bob Burleson and David H. Riskind
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
1986
Pg. 164:
A loop of the fatty intestine of a freshly killed goat or sheep, tied on a stick and broiled over coals.
Macho (m.); machitos (m.); burritos (m.)

Google Books
Tejano South Texas:
A Mexican American Cultural Province
by Daniel David Arreola
Austin, TX; University of Texas Press
2002
Pg. 167:
From chivos comes another delicacy called machitos, an offal food that includes the esophagus, lungs, heart, kidney, liver, and intestines, sauteed or stewed with condiments, then rolled into a gut lining and grilled or baked.

Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: Steve Wertz
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 03:49:00 GMT
Subject: Strange food spotted: Machito?

I spotted these things at an slightly ‘upscale’ grocer here in Austin and though I’d see if anybody could shed any light on these sausage-like contraptions.

I asked the meat depertment what these “Machitos” were and they’re apparently a mixture of ground heart and liver wrapped with caul fat and tied/wrapped again with 20” or so of very small intestines (these weren’t stuffed into the intestines, but wrapped like a ball of string).  The directions were to cook for ~2 hours “until crispy” or grill indirect for 2-3 hours.  Each one weighed about .75lb

I’m guessing they’re pork judging by the intesting/caul fat wrapping; but they coulda been beef.  At $2.69/lb they looked pretty interesting somebody there put a lot of effort into rolling/wrapping these things. But since I was cooking at a friends house I figured I’d spare them the culinary adventure and stick with something identifiable, like pork ribs.

Anybody ever cook these?  Do they go by a alternate name?  The only food reference to ‘machito’ I can find on the web are fried tripe - no mention of hearts or liver. 

Google Books
I Would Rather Sleep in Texas:
A History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the People of the Santa Anita Land Grant
by Mary Margaret McAllen Amberson, James A. McAllen, and Margaret H. McAllen
Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Association
2003
Pg. 531:
Machito—As a serving of Cabrito heart, kidneys, liver, wrapped in the tela and ...

Google Groups: dfw.eats
Newsgroups: dfw.eats
From: Thurman
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 21:36:13 -0500
Local: Sat, Jul 19 2003 9:36 pm
Subject: Texas Haggis

From the Mexican.cooking newsgroup:

I finally got around to buying a couple of those “Machitos” sold at a few of the local HEB’s for $2.77/lb.  They come from the Cabrito Market in Mission, TX.

They’re intestines wrapped around thick caul fat (omental fat), wrapped around chopped heart and liver.  They’re made entirely of lamb and/or goat according to the ingredients.  They weigh about
1lb each and could be mistaken for large, short penises of unknown origin.

The intestines (1/4” wide) are wrapped in a spiral fassion, probably about 2 feet all together.  They did indeed crisp up in the oven at 350 for 1.5 hours (as they directions indicated), but not
all the fat rendered out.  The liver was way too strong and had a nasty, pudding texture.  The taste of lamb was very faint - I would have guessed I was eating pork if I didn’t already know the ingredients.

Bottom line - if there was no liver and they cost $1.50/lb or less, I might buy tham again.  But the liver taste and texture was just too overpowering.  Don’t look for them anytime soon, and if you
do happen to see them, run.  They seem to be a local invention of some sort; Some kind of sick tex-mex joke.

Texas Chef
Monday, November 21, 2005
South Texas Thanksgiving
It seems now days that Thanksgiving for Mexican Americans is the same as for Anglos, except it is more likely Mexican Americans will barbecue. . Some of the things cooked at a barbacoa are: machitos, intestines of kid goat wound around the liver, heart, and pieces of meat; mollejas, sweatbreads of pig or goat; tripas, intestines of beef; and the big favorite - fajitas, flank steak sliced thin and served on flour tortillas, with onions, chile strips, and salsa.

Roadfood.com
Texianjoe
Posted - 03/19/2007
Oh yes, good stuff. Some in northern Mexico call it Cabrito en Sangrita, usually served with sliced onions on top. Fritada is the same thing but without the blood and usually with a tomatoe sauce, I guess names are a regional thing. Cabrito has to be still suckling. Otherwise it is the smelliest thing you ever put you nose too. Machitos are cabrito parts such as liver, lungs, heart wrapped in the fatty membrane around the mid section and then wrapped and tied with intestines. I know to some this sound gross but its and acquired taste. Not much different from haggis the Scottish dish.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Tuesday, January 08, 2008 • Permalink


I am the author of both of those Google Groups references.  You have it right on the first quote, but “Thurman”: did not write the second article, I did.  Thurman just reposted my article to dfw.eats.
Please correct this.  It’s important that I be credited with actually eating a couple of these things.

Posted by Steve Wertz  on  01/11  at  06:39 PM

Machito is not a Tex-Mex dish I hate it when Tejanos claim a mexican dish and claim it to be Tex-Mex. Machito originated from Northern Mexico staes such as Tamaulipas, Nuevoleon and San Luis Potosi. Here in Nuevoleon it is not a forgotton dish. We eat cabritos with pride no part of it is wasted. Fritada is actually a guisado with the chivos own blood. For authentic Cabrito go to Monterrey NL you cant go wrong especially in smaller towns, there are different ways of preparing cabritos. Google “El Rey del Cabrito” and click on images to see how we cook cabrito in Nuevoleon.

Posted by Jaime  on  02/16  at  06:29 PM

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