Chitterlings—the small intestines of a hog—have a strong scent, no matter how a cook tries to tame it. But made in the Southern style, they are also literally mouthwatering, a rush of pure umami.
I heartily recommend the version ($10) at the endearing soul food spot Chef Daddy’s. Owner Terry Green prepares chitterlings “errrday!”—as his menu joyfully declares—by boiling them in changes of water until their pungency dissipates, then seasoning them with hot sauce and a spice mix he calls Love Rub. You can add more hot sauce at the table, depending on how much you want to distract from that distinctive odor.
Or perhaps you’d rather dig into a plate of smothered pork chops ($12) in a savory gravy made from black-pepper-singed beef drippings. Green’s fried-to-a-pebbly-crisp catfish ($10) has many devotees, as do his $4.99 deals, like meatloaf with two sides.
Those sides ($3 à la carte) change daily and can serve as a meal unto themselves if paired with a square of white-corn cornbread. Highlights include creamy white beans, Mississippi mixed greens (collards and cabbage) in a smoked-turkey potlikker, and cubed yams with all the sugary spice but none of the cloying sweetness of their candied brethren. And no one should leave here without trying the mac and cheese, which by my best estimate is half mac and half cheese.
Green got the moniker Chef Daddy from his fiancée and learned his recipes from his grandmother Leola Meeks, who runs a beloved St. Louis restaurant. You may taste St. Louis in the sweet-tangy pitch of the sauce on his ribs, made in an aquarium smoker. Or you may see it around the spartan dining room decorated with logos of Missouri sports teams. (Just ignore the remnants of Rams memorabilia.)