Thursday, September 19, 2019

beef kidney: found!

A late-morning/early-afternoon trip out to Majang Meat Market netted me a single beef kidney. It's not that there was some sort of kidney shortage: it's just that a single beef kidney is a bit larger than two New York strip steaks,* and I don't need more than one kidney to make a pie for two people (or two individual pies... I haven't yet decided how to approach this question). The price for a single beef kidney was astonishing: a thousand won, which comes out to around 83 cents these days. I asked the lady about the price several times to make sure I hadn't misheard her. "A thousand won per kidney," she said patiently.

The meat market looked different because I was finally seeing it during its peak hours of operation. Different comic-book-style names for the place kept popping into my head: Slaughter Central, Dismemberment Alley, Offal Experience. Lopped-off pig heads sat bloodily on butchers' tables, waiting to be processed. Shops specializing in organ meats and tripe had their organs laid out in display cases; the tripe, which stank, floated limp and wet inside huge, heavy-duty plastic buckets of water(?), looking for all the world like textured sea creatures that had faded-gray carpets for skin.

I had no idea kidney would be so cheap, especially given how expensive the brisket was. This got me pondering why beef kidneys are so cheap, and now I'm curious to find out whether sheep and pig kidneys are equally cheap.

What you see below—after the first photo, which contains a stupid Korean-language pun that only a foreigner would make—are two shots of the frozen beef kidney that I purchased from some random store. Other stores were selling fresh beef kidneys, but I didn't know that until after I had purchased my frozen one. What would I have found out about the price of beef kidneys had I done some comparison shopping?

Here's the kidney, with my bear paw for scale. You can see the fatty region that will need to be cut out once I begin prepping my coveted organ:

Just a little bit closer:

I've got the kidney in our office's fridge at the moment, where it's solid as a rock. It'll still be mostly frozen when I take the little bastard home tonight, and I'll likely accelerate the thaw tomorrow night by dunking the kidney in a bowl of room-temp water into which I'll let the tap trickle steadily. I found a video on kidney prep by a girl who obviously thinks she's cute (wait'll you see that last "I'm so adorable in my short skirt, aren't I?" balcony shot at the very end—so typically twentysomething). Whatever the video's demerits (there's an unsanitary bird perched on the young lady's shoulder; one commenter said s/he kept waiting for the bird to poop on her black shirt), it's pretty straightforward about proper prep, so I'll be using the vid, plus some online references (like this one), as a guide for how to deal with the kidney. Here's the kidney-prep video:

*Kidney weight here. NY strip weight here.


Curtis S. said...

I was once in a grocery when the butcher was putting out wrapped trays of pork kidneys. I asked him, "How do you cook those?" He replied in a matter-of-fact style, "You boil the piss out of them."


Kevin Kim said...

One comment on that girl's kidney-prep video mentioned how her kitchen must smell like piss. I have something interesting to look forward to.