WRAL.com at the State Fair

Taste Test: collard and chitlin sandwich

Posted October 21, 2009 6:20 p.m. EDT

I saw the two signs as I was walking down the main road from the Scott Building to Dorton Arena. They were both on a food both near the Scott Building. The first one was on the front of the booth and read "CHITLINS * SIDE MEAT * COLLARDS * SLAW * HUSH PUPPIES." The second one was on a small whiteboard in the booth and  read "Chitlin / Collard Sandwich," which I interpreted to mean, well, a chitlin and collard sandwich!

(For those of you not from around here, chitlins are -- well, let's call them pig intestines and leave it at that. )

I had vague memories of a recent festival where collards were served on a sandwich made with corn pone, and thought it might be something like that. I love corn pone. (Um, again for those of you not from around here, corn pone is corn meal, salt, and water mixed up and baked or fried.)

"Hm," I thought, "That sounds like it might be interesting. I certainly like collards." So as we wandered around the fair I kept that in mind, and when it was time for lunch, I walked back to the booth and confidently said, "I'd like a chitlin and collard sandwich please."

And the nice lady behind the counter looked at me like I was nuts. "A what?"

I pointed at the small sign. "Doesn't that say chitlin and collard sandwich?"

Another lady behind the counter said, "Well, I guess we can put them on a sandwich. We can put them on a hamburger bun." Apparently the small sign didn't mean what I thought it meant.

I sighed for my nonexistent corn pone and said, "Okay." And a few minutes and $6 later I had a chitlin and collard sandwich. As you'll see from the picture, mostly collard. Which is okay because I love collards even more than I love corn pone.

The chitlins, though -- I had not had chitlins in a very very long time, and there was something I had forgotten about them. They have a smell. And while they taste okay it can be a little hard to get past the smell if you find it unpleasant.

These chitlins were really really spiced. A little too spiced for my taste. The collards were good but strangely they were not spiced enough for my taste; I'm used to eating collards with plenty of hot pepper vinegar.

Chitlins and collards, in case you were wondering, don't provide a proper infrastructure for a sandwich. I gave up on trying to eat it like a sandwich and attacked it with a fork instead.

The collards on the bread were pretty good. I think I might actually get this again if I can get some vinegar to go on it (or maybe some brown mustard, I bet that would be good), and skip the chitlins as too spicy. Then it'll just be a collard sandwich. Certainly a lot better for me! Now if I can just find someone on the fairgrounds who's selling corn pone...