Grilled Sweetbread Recipe

Grilled Sweetbread Recipe

Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of calves, which makes some people to stay clear from such delicacy. After all, trying different things is not all that easy. Still, the one-biters are delicious, especially when cooked right. They’re meaty, tender and flavorful — they’re an excellent addition to any grilling party! And Argentine grill masters know it. 

People often serve sweetbreads while they wait for those thick, fatty steaks to come out of the grill, but they can also be the main course. Here’s a recipe for sweetbreads with sautéed potatoes, mushrooms and a lovely garlic sauce.

How to Clean Sweetbreads? 

Cooking sweetbreads can be intimidating. After all, handling glands is not particularly common. Once you’re comfortable around the lesser-known ingredient, you’ll cook sweetbreads more often than you think.

To prepare sweetbreads, you must clean them first — they have a thin membrane that’s best removed. Some people like to shock the sweetbreads in boiling water and an ice bath to make the membrane easier to remove. 

Marinating sweetbreads in milk for a few hours is not uncommon either, as the milk can tone down the sweetbreads’ gamey flavor. Although not necessary, this might be the right technique for you!

Garlic Sauce? You Bet 

Like any other type of meat, sweetbreads benefit from a few condiments. In this case, we’re sharing with you a creamy recipe for garlic sauce. Flavored with fresh rosemary and lime, this sauce is a beautiful complement for any grilled meat, and it frames the sweetbreads’ flavor nicely. 

Most importantly, this recipe comes together on the grill, not in the kitchen. You need to roast the garlic over an open flame or around it, which makes the sauce much more interesting — definitely an ace to have up your sleeve. 

Grilled Sweetbread and Garlic Sauce Recipe


For the sweetbreads:

  • 1kg (2lb) of sweetbreads 
  • 200gr (7oz) baby potatoes
  • 8 button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil as needed
  • Watercress as a garnish. 

For the garlic sauce: 

  • 3 garlic heads 
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the sweetbreads and sides:

  1. Clean the sweetbreads and remove the trimmings. Salt on all sides.
  2. Heat a skillet or griddle over high heat and sauté the sweetbreads until golden and crispy. Set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender. Drain and cut in halves. 
  4. Heat oil in a skillet and pan-fry the potatoes until golden. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and sauté until tender. 

For the sauce:

  1. Cut the garlic heads in half and season with rosemary leaves, oil, salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and cook over an open flame.
  2. Once tender, scoop the garlic paste and combine with lime juice, zest, crushed chili peppers and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. To plate, spread a tablespoon of garlic sauce on a plate and top it with sweetbreads. Serve with a side of mushrooms and potatoes and garnish with fresh watercress.