Just What Exactly Are Giblets?

They're the secret to better flavor from your bird.


Photo by: Creativ Studio Heinemann

Creativ Studio Heinemann

If you’re roasting a whole bird — whether taking on turkey this Thanksgiving or simply roasting a chicken at home — you may encounter the bundle of fun known as giblets.

So what are giblets? Basically, giblets (pronounced with a soft G, like gin; rhymes with riblets) are what we collectively call any of the edible organs of fowl like turkey (as well as chicken, goose and duck). Giblets generally include the liver, and can include the gizzard, neck, kidneys and heart. More often than not, your butcher may have already gathered them inside a little bag within the bird’s cavity, which makes finding and using them considerably easier — just don’t forget to remove the bag before cooking.

Think of them as a gift waiting inside your bird. Though giblets aren’t a mandatory addition to a holiday meal, they are a culinary powerhouse that keeps on giving. Not only can they pump up the volume of your Thanksgiving meal — consider simmering them slowly in pan juices, in order to enrich your gravy, or stirring sautéed turkey livers into your stuffing — they’re pretty much the ultimate leftover. Meaning, you can toss them into day-after turkey stock and make other delectable dinners with them after Turkey Day is done.

If you haven’t added all of your livers to stuffing, try making chopped liver as a spread. Hearts and gizzards can be braised in order to tenderize them, then skewered and grilled. And if you’re lucky enough to get a neck bone in your package of giblets, it’s an excellent addition to stocks and soups. Simply stick it in a pot with whatever other remnants of the turkey carcass you’ve managed to save, along with aromatics such as onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves, cover them with cold water and bring to a simmer, and you’ll have a rich poultry elixir bubbling by dinner.

So don’t get rid of your giblets! They’re the secret way to bring maximum turkey flavor to the table.

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