Let’s Talk About Gizzards

First off, just what the hell is a gizzard? Since humans have livers, we know what they are and what they do, but gizzards aren’t something a 3rd year medical student has to deal with. Gizzards are part of a bird’s digestive system, sometimes called the second stomach. It’s very muscular and sinewy because this is the component of the bird’s system that breaks down items that are too hard for its stomach to digest. According to Gill’s Ornithology, a turkey gizzard can “pulverize English walnuts, steel needles, and surgical lancets.” Cooking gizzards, you’re dealing with tough sinews and dense muscle; when you buy them in a store, gizzards tend to come in pairs, two lumps of meat connected by a tough membrane.

What a lot of people will say you need to do first is to get a very sharp small knife and cut away the membrane, which is fussy and time-consuming . Here in the South where we tend to be a great deal less fastidious in the kitchen, we simply put them off into a seasoned liquid and poach them until they are tender, drain and set aside until ready for use along with a beautiful broth infused with gel that you can use for any number of sauces, gravies and even those pâtés you’ve always wanted to try. You can also fry the gizzards as you would livers, use them in dirty rice or serve them over noodles with chopped hard-boiled eggs and a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper or marinate n lite soy and sesame oil with garlic, skewer, broil or grill and serve as an appetizer.

Photo by William Eaves
(photo by William Eaves)