It takes a total of about six hours to cook chitlins or chitterlings, which are pig intestines. This popular soul-food dish is actually cooked twice: once to get rid of bacteria, and again to bring the meal to an edible and delicious state.
The chitlins must be thoroughly cleaned prior to cooking because they may carry dangerous bacteria, such as Yersinia enterocolitica or E.coli. Boiling for 45 minutes eliminates any debris and bacteria that remains after the cleaning process. The chitterlings are placed into a clean pot with fresh water and spices, then cooked for an additional four to six hours. The total cooking time depends on the quantity of chitlins being cooked, but six hours is typically the maximum cooking time.