Chicken Gizzards

Chicken Gizzards

Chicken gizzards are cut from the digestive tract of a chicken. Similar to a stomach, the gizzard is used to grind up the foods the bird eats. Chicken gizzards are a popular food throughout the world. You can find them sold as street food in Haiti and Southeast Asia and in soup in Mexico. In Africa, they’re served fried, boiled, or grilled, and in Europe, they’re featured in salads and pâtés.

What Are Chicken Gizzards?

A gizzard is a muscle found in the digestive tract of a chicken. If you’ve ever seen chickens pecking away at the ground, they are in fact swallowing tiny bits of grit and gravel, which travels through the chicken’s digestive tract and eventually lodges in the gizzard. Then when actual food arrives, this powerful little muscle contracts, like a tiny fist squeezing a handful of gravel. The gravel grinds up the food, and the food continues on into the stomach.

Gizzards are very small, with a distinctive taste that resembles dark chicken meat, but with a chewier and tougher texture. Cook them the way you would cook barbecue brisket, pork ribs or oven-braised pot roast—low and slow.

How to Cook Chicken Gizzards

The best way to cook gizzards is slowly, with moist heat, at a low temperature. That’s because if they hit high heat, as in a saute pan, the connective tissues will tighten up and squeeze the gizzards into chewy little balls of shoe leather.

Instead, the goal is to cook them slowly over low heat—called braising—so that the connective tissues relax and melt away. Aim for between 180 and 205 F. Whatever you do, don’t let them boil or they’ll be tough.

After an hour or two of gentle braising, all that connective tissue will soften and turn into gelatin and the gizzards will be nice and tender. You can either serve them or let them cool, dry them thoroughly, then bread them (or batter them, if you prefer) and deep fry until crisp. Then serve with garlic aioli and swoon.

Slow cookers are great for braising gizzards. Each model is different, but use the low setting, which is around 210 F. It might take eight hours for it to reach that temperature, so refer to your manual.

What Do Gizzards Taste Like?

Since they’re muscles, gizzards are meaty little morsels, with a deep, rich, dark-meat chicken flavor.

Chicken Gizzard Recipes

Gizzards can be added anything: Tacos, enchiladas, bolognese sauce, and lasagna, not to mention soups, chili, and fried rice. They’re also terrific served slightly warm with a plate of greens. Chop them up and add them to your homemade stuffing. Or wrap them with bacon and deep fry until crispy and serve as fancy hors d’oeuvres. It’s best to chill the gizzards before slicing because they’ll be firmer and you’ll get a cleaner slice.

Where to Buy Chicken Gizzards

If you buy gizzards from a local butcher or even better, a poultry farmer, ask if they’ve been cleaned or not. If they haven’t, you can ask them to do it (they might charge you for this) or clean them yourself, which is not pleasant but must be done because of the grit that resides in the gizzards.

Commercial gizzards at the supermarket will be cleaned already. You should be able to find them separately, next to the hearts and livers and so on. But if you don’t see them, ask the Deuptown Foods Online

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