Most of us would agree that we try to stick to a healthy and balanced diet, and a very popular choice for such a meal involves chicken. However, chicken can be cooked and prepared in many different ways.
Much like other animals, there are various parts of a chicken which can be cooked and enjoyed – but chicken gizzards are essentially an exotic part of the chicken which we do not often eat in this country.
However, chicken gizzards are widely enjoyed around the world as a delicacy and they provide for a rich and nutrient dense meal. But what exactly are chicken gizzards?
In short, chicken gizzards refers to a muscle which is present in many types of poultry, including chicken. Of course though, there’s a lot more you need to know about them.
So we’ve written this handy guide which explains everything you need to know. We’ll look at what chicken gizzards are, how they taste and so much more! If you’re ready to learn a lot more – then read below for all the answers!
Chicken Gizzards – A Beautiful Food
Without any more delays, let’s dive into this guide. We will start off by looking at what chicken gizzards are.
Before we do though, it’s important to point out that if you have never eaten chicken gizzards before, consider speaking with an experienced chef for advice.
What Are Chicken Gizzards?
As we mentioned earlier, chicken gizzards are a muscle found in many types of poultry, and this includes chicken. Mostly, chicken gizzards appear dark in color and they are small in size. Their texture is best described as being a lot like beef jerky.
To truly understand these organs of the chicken, it’s a good idea that we explain a little more about a chicken’s biology first. For instance, you may already know that chickens do not chew their food.
This is because chickens do not have teeth. Teeth are not necessary for chickens because they have organs called gizzards, which are a critical part of their digestive system. The muscle works by contracting, which ultimately grinds their food.
However, for the gizzards to work as they are supposed to, pebbles and grits are also required to assist – which is one of the reasons why you might see a chicken consuming small stones and debris while they are eating.
As the gizzards move and work a lot, the muscle becomes very tough and in turn, very chewy. This is why speaking with an experienced chef is a good idea before you cook them, because you need to know how to properly cook them to remove this unpleasantness.
What Do Chicken Gizzards Taste Like?
Now that we’re more familiar with what chicken gizzards are, we can now move onto how this muscle tastes. Generally, chicken gizzards are described as having a rich and very meaty flavor – similar to that of liver.
Their texture on the other hand can differ and primarily, this is down to how the gizzards are cooked. If stewed or roasted, the chicken gizzards can be tender and juicy, but if they are fried, they’re normally chewy.
Gizzards can often taste salty to an extent, but a lot of their taste will once again depend on how you cook them and how you have prepared them. For example, they can have the taste of garlic, pepper, onions, herbs, chili or any other type of seasoning.
Despite being an organ of a chicken, gizzards do not taste like any of a chicken’s other organs.
They have a dark chicken meat taste but it is much more intense and powerful – but even with that said, if you are a fan of chicken, you’ll likely enjoy the chicken gizzards.
If at this point, you’re wondering what other parts of the chicken are considered dark, then the answers include thighs and other areas of their legs. Conversely, the white areas are the breast, back and wings.
Typically, chicken gizzards are used in conjunction with other parts of a chicken or even other meats. However, it’s not uncommon for specialty dishes to solely consist of chicken gizzards, but this is more often done by experienced chefs.
When used as a part of the dish, chicken gizzards are chopped into tiny pieces, so you’ll likely not even be aware that you’re eating them, as they blend right into other dark meat areas of the chicken.
Giblets Vs Gizzards
Many people will question what giblets are when gizzards are spoken about.
Giblets are pretty much considered to be the miscellaneous parts of a chicken, such as their heart, liver, kidneys and neck. It’s essentially an umbrella term which can also include the gizzards.
It’s important not to confuse the two terms though. While gizzards are indeed giblets, giblets are not always gizzards. As a result, if you head to a butcher’s shop – be sure to ask for gizzards specifically, rather than a bag of giblets.
If you do not do this, it’s likely that you’ll receive a bag of mixed and assorted parts of the chicken, which may be unnecessary for your chosen recipe decision.
One of the best things about chicken gizzards is the fact that they are not just delicious, they are also highly nutritious. Gizzards are a high source of protein, essential minerals and B-vitamins.
Lean protein is critical to your diet, and chicken gizzards can provide you with 26 grams per 4 ounce serving – so if you’re someone who needs to include more protein in your diet, then gizzards are definitely a great option.
Additionally, B-vitamins are essential to your diet. From chicken gizzards, you can get plenty of these vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and B6. On top of this, essential minerals like iron, zinc and phosphorus are dense in chicken gizzards.
However, one of the most advantageous things about eating chicken gizzards is their low fat and low calorie number, which makes them ideal for people who are looking to be careful with their weight.
Indeed, anybody who is actively hoping to lose weight and eat healthily can choose chicken gizzards and use them in a recipe that promotes such a diet, including vegetables and other essential ingredients.
How To Cook Chicken Gizzards
Now we are fully aware of what these chicken gizzards are and how they taste, it’s now a good idea that we address the way in which you must clean, prepare and cook them. Let’s get started with the cleaning process.
Cleaning Chicken Gizzards
Typically when buying chicken gizzards from the store, they will be ready-cleaned. However, this is not always the case – so you need to check the label or ask at the checkout. If these gizzards are not cleaned, you must ensure that you do it yourself.
Remember as we mentioned earlier that chicken gizzards may contain pebbles, dirt and debris – so it’s important to do this step. Luckily though, the gizzards contain a small “pouch” which contains everything that has to be thrown out.
One of the most critical things to remember when it comes to a successful cleaning is to ensure you do not puncture this “pouch”. If you do, you’ll spray or leak all of the unwanted debris all over the rest of the gizzards.
Not only will this make things pretty difficult to resolve, but you will also notice a foul stench which remains even when you cook them.
On top of all of that, it’s entirely possible that the unwanted debris can contain bacteria which makes them unsafe for consumption.
Preparing Chicken Gizzards
It’s important to properly prepare your chicken gizzards before cooking them. To do this, you should follow these steps:
- Cut along the gizzard’s length using a very sharp knife (imagine cutting an avocado)
- Once you hit a membrane, cut slower and just make a small slit in it
- Cease cutting once you see the “pouch” (often yellow, green or gray)
- Pull both sides of the gizzard apart until you can see the whole “pouch”
- Carefully remove this “pouch” and remove any adjoining fat
Cooking Chicken Gizzards
So you’ve now properly sourced, cleaned and prepared your chicken gizzards and now you’re ready to start cooking them. But what exactly do you need to do?
Well, it will ultimately depend on what dish you are planning to make – but one of the most important things to remember is that chicken gizzards can be tough, unlike other parts of the chicken. As a result, you need to ensure a slow cooking method.
Do not simply throw chicken gizzards in a deep fryer before you’ve braised them for example. It’s critical to ensure you’re using a slow and low heat method. If you don’t, you will end up with a very hard, unpleasant meat.
One of the most tried and tested methods when it comes to properly cooking chicken gizzards is slowly braising them until you notice they turn fork-tender, which usually happens around 30 minutes to as long as 5 hours.
If you’re looking for that fried finish, be sure to drain them after braising and then give them the frying treatment.
The Bottom Line
Chicken gizzards are a highly nutritious and tasty part of the chicken, but you need to ensure that you’re properly cooking them, which involves the right preparation and cleaning. It’s always advised to speak with an experienced chef beforehand.
We hope this guide has been useful for you and we have been able to answer all of your most burning questions about chicken gizzards! Good luck with your dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now cover some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to chicken gizzards. Hopefully we answer anything you were still looking for.
The gizzards are a part of the chicken’s digestive tract which help them to break down food. Primarily, this is because chickens do not have teeth!
Remember, gizzards are a muscle and this is the main reason why they can be so tough when eating.
As gizzards are a part of a chicken, you need to ensure that you have properly cooked them as undercooked poultry can cause serious food poisoning.
Use a probe thermometer to check the temperature, ensuring the internal temperature is 165F degrees.
Gizzards are often tough, so braising them is your best option to ensure they are not so tough when you get to eat them. It’s wise to properly season them and source them from a reputable supplier like a butcher’s shop.