Nose-to-tail eating is an ethos that embodies political correctness. Who can't get behind the idea of using every part of an animal? Sure, every skinny-jean-wearing hipster with this month's issue of Edible Wherever tucked under his arm can settle into a pork jowl or trotter and take one for the Fergus Henderson team. The added bonus is that pork jowls and trotters (when cooked the right way) are delicious. So eating this way is a bit like going to church only twice a year, on Easter and Christmas. You can put in your time and feel good about yourself, everyone sees you there, and it doesn't hurt too much.
But who really practices true nose-to-tail eating? How many among us delight in brain, or tendon, or testicles? These nasty bits, although they have a small following, often go ignored. But in the religion of head to tail, it's the brains and balls that promote the eater from politically correct do-gooder to enlightened food guru. And, for the record, balls (when cooked the right way) are delicious.
This is the time of year when I open my freezer and find strange body parts, like deer testicles. There are a few tricks and techniques that come in handy when cooking them. As with anything, the key to cooking testicles is understanding the ingredient. Testicles (and this shouldn't be surprising) are naturally salty. They also (and this is always surprising) tend to explode. I learned the latter the hard way when my friend Alan Sytsma roasted two pairs a few years ago. Four balls went into the oven; three balls came out. After that incident, I did a little research. This post is about sharing that knowledge with you as a way to help with your journey toward transcendence.