Liver meat is one of the most controversial organ meat parts, as some people love it and some don’t because they don’t get the flavor profile. You might also wonder what it tastes like if you haven’t had any liver meat.
Because of its high iron content, liver meat has a very rich yet complex flavor that is earthy, sweet, and savory, with a slight metallic aftertaste. Freshly cooked liver should never taste sour, bitter, or off-putting.
Moreover, liver taste dramatically depends on the animal source, so read on as I discuss everything you need to know about the different animal liver tastes.
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What Does Liver Taste Like?
The taste of liver depends on the animal from which it comes as well as how you prepare it. Generally, the liver has a rich, complex flavor profile that is earthy and savory, with a metallic aftertaste that can be somewhat unpleasant for some people.
The texture of the liver can range from smooth to grainy, depending on the cut and method of cooking. When prepared correctly, the liver can be pretty tasty and is often served with onions and other flavorful ingredients to help mask the intense flavor.
Does Liver Have a Metallic Taste?
Yes, the liver has a metallic taste caused by a few factors. First, the liver stores the most iron in an animal, contributing to the metallic taste.
Second, aside from iron, the liver also contains other metallic compounds, such as zinc and copper, which, as their names imply, taste metallic as well.
Third, the liver contains high amounts of the amino acids glutamine, cysteine, and glycine, which the human tongue perceives as metallic.
Does Liver Taste Bitter?
Unlike popular belief, the liver is not naturally bitter. The liver only gets bitter when the bile from the gallbladder, located near the liver, gets cut during the slaughtering process.
People think that the liver is naturally bitter because it has a lot of bile in it. For this reason, you should always give the fresh liver a good rinse before cooking it.
It also helps to soak liver slices in milk before cooking to remove the bile and neutralize the metallic taste.
Why Does Liver Have A Weird Taste?
The weird taste you get from eating liver is the metallic aftertaste. Depending on how it's prepared and cooked, the weird taste may get stronger, but it should be bearable.
Keep in mind that freshly cooked liver tastes good. If you notice an off flavor from the liver, check to see if it has gone bad and discard it right away.
Does Liver Taste Sour?
No, the liver should not have a sour taste. A sour taste should indicate spoilage and tell you to discard it immediately. Cooked liver should be rich and savory with hints of sweetness, never sour.
Liver Taste and Texture From Different Meat
Chicken liver is a common ingredient in many savory dishes, such as chicken liver pate, barbecue, crispy chicken liver, and chicken liver adobo, a famous Filipino tasty dish.
Veal liver (liver from an older cow) has a strong, earthy, savory flavor. Also, veal liver doesn't absorb ingredients very well, so the liver flavor stays strong even when other spices are added.
On the other hand, a calf's liver (liver from a young cow) is sweeter and milder than a veal liver. Calf liver is also more tender and absorbs other ingredients well.
Although pork has a milder flavor than beef liver, it is grainy and tends to have a more metallic aftertaste. Despite the flavor profile, pork liver is the most commonly used animal for liver pate.
Lamb's liver is next to chicken in terms of mildness of flavor. Moreover, lamb liver has a soft and creamy texture that goes well with other ingredients.
How To Improve Liver Taste
Improving the taste is a matter of preparation before cooking liver. I suggest slicing the liver into smaller pieces and washing them before doing anything.
If you wish to mask the intense flavor, you can marinate the liver slices with soy sauce, lemon, and black pepper.
If you’re planning on frying liver, I suggest using seasoned flour for the coating and an air fryer for a less oily outcome.
Is The Liver Healthy?
Animal liver is one of the most nutrient-dense organ meats. It is rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, copper, and iron, an essential nutrient.
Is It Safe To Eat Raw Liver?
Eating raw meat parts, including liver, is never a safe practice. Meat products, such as ground beef and liver, can carry microorganisms that could cause food poisoning. Food poisoning happens whether you eat fresh or old liver.