Beef, veal and pig's kidneys should be plump, firm, and encased in a shiny membrane. When buying kidneys encased in fat, it should be off-white. Avoid kidneys with a strong odour.

1. Trim away any fat and connective tissue, then pull off the outer membrane with your fingers.

2. Cut the kidney in half lengthwise, slicing through the fatty core. Hold the core with your fingertips and cut it away with a boning knife.

3. Thread the prepared kidney halves on to a skewer to keep them flat. They are now ready for grilling or pan-frying.


Kidneys can be bought with or without fat (called suet). The suet should form an even layer around the flesh and be creamy white in colour. Carefully peel it away from the kidney. Fresh suet can be bought separately and should be chilled before use. Processed suet is convenient and has less flavour. Fresh suet is a good cooking fat, in its natural state or in rendered form - melted over low heat to remove any non-fatty particles and then chilled to separate the water and impurities. To make a light dough for meat pies, crumble fresh suet and mix it with twice as much plain flour, then bind with milk or water.


Offal needs careful handling, and freshness is crucial. Choose moist and shiny flesh with no dry patches; avoid offal with a greenish colour, slimy surface or strong smell. Store fresh offal in the refrigerator and use within two days. Wash all offal very thoroughly before using.