September 19, 2006

Turkey Giblets

In the process of working on Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner, I mentioned the items you’ll have to remove from the inside of your fresh or frozen turkey: the neck and the giblets (heart, gizzard, and liver). These parts aren’t usually eaten, but they can be used to make an excellent gravy. I wanted to make the point that I recommend leaving out the liver, which might add undesirable flavors to the gravy, but in order to explain to the uninitiated which one of these weird tissue masses was the liver, I had to give a verbal description of the size, shape, and color of each item that constitutes the giblets. Upon reading my description, the publisher felt that a picture would serve better, and I agreed, so I snapped a shot of the neck and giblets sitting on my cutting board the next time I roasted a turkey.

Now granted, if you’re not used to mucking around with animal insides, this sort of thing might strike you as kind of gross. But I was unprepared for the strong “yuck” reaction I got from my editor and publisher. Although they were both seasoned cooks and had dealt with these things personally numerous times, they thought the picture was somehow just too graphic and unappetizing to include in the book. My view was that if you’re going to see it and touch it in real life, it shouldn’t be a big deal to see a picture—but I was overruled, and we had a drawing made instead.

Turkey gibletsHowever, I did include a link to this post, wherein I’m pleased to present the full-size, not-for-the-queasy photo of the giblets (click the thumbnail to see the larger image). That’s the neck on the left, of course; on the right, from top to bottom, are the heart, gizzard, and liver. Obviously, the exact appearance (and size) of these items will depend on what sort of turkey you buy and how it’s butchered. But this should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for. Whatever else you do, be sure to check both cavities (the large one at the tail end and the small one at the neck end) for these items—often found in plastic bags—and remove them before cooking the turkey!

114 Responses to “Turkey Giblets”

  1. Cris said:

    CA has a tradition… she very carefully takes the giblets out, boils them in water & some spices while the turkey is cooking. “For the gravy”. Then She makes the gravy without touchiing the giblets. After dinner, the dog gets the giblets in his dinner.

  2. Joe Kissell said:

    Cris: That’s too funny!

  3. Marla said:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for publishing photos and descriptions of what’s what in the giblets package. I’ve looked in dozens of cookbooks and haven’t found this info anywhere. I want to ensure that I don’t include the liver in my gravy, because the liver would make it taste gross–but I wasn’t really sure which icky-looking thing was the actual liver. (I’m not much into organ meats.) You have performed a public service. Thanks again!

  4. Joe Kissell said:

    Marla: I can’t tell you how pleased I am that someone has found that photo useful!

  5. Maureen Regan said:

    I am so grateful for your picture of the giblets. Not having prepared a turkey for years and recalling my confusion in the past (I always had to call my mother-in-law for a description) you can just imagine how thrilled I was to just type in ‘picture turkey giblets’ – and there you were! Thank you so much – your publishers are a bunch of wooses!

  6. Joe Kissell said:

    Maureen: Delighted to have been of service!

  7. melissa said:

    Thanks for leaving a picture of the birds organs on this website, it helps a lot. A great tip for your gravy is to boil everything and remove after an hour, cut up giblets put half into gravy and half into dressing. Liver- put just a little into dressing also. It does give it a great taste even though you wouldn’t think so.

  8. Joe Kissell said:

    Melissa: I’m glad I could help! Thanks for your suggestion.

  9. Myra said:

    I too am so happy you included the picture. I cook turkeys all the time but never knew which piece was a gizzard, heart or liver. I called the Butterball talk line and they gave me a description of color and the amount of softness to the touch. But a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. I am printing out your image, labeling it and sticking it in my Thanksgiving file. Many many thanks.

  10. Joe Kissell said:

    Myra: It’s great to know my yucky picture has been so useful!

  11. Anna said:

    Joe, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I looked all over the web for a picture of what the giblet parts looked like. I was relieved to find your picture and identification. My guess is that your editor/publisher are more into eating food than preparing it. People who are serious about cooking want good information, not just pretty pictures. I didn’t find your picture offensive at all. What do they think people do with the giblet package – pick it out with a pair of tongs, hold their nose and wing it out the back door? My guess is nearly everyone who has ever cooked a turkey has at least taken a gander at the mysterious bagged items. To prove that a picture is worth a thousand words, I am a biologist, cook, and raise CHICKENS and I didn’t know which parts were which. When I opened my giblet pack and was looking for the liver to remove – everything but the heart looked like liver! I’m going to go in for the feel test (not sure what I’m feeling for – but hey, I’m desperate). Anyway, thanks so much for the picture. Next time, go with your gut (pun intended)! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. caro said:

    This will be my first go at cooking a turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving.. I have read many recipes telling me to put aside the giblets, but I had NO idea what that even meant.. clueless. Your article and images have been a huge help. Thank you very much!

  13. Joe Kissell said:

    Anna: You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!

    Caro: Ditto!

  14. Rob said:


      So much for the Picture of the GIBLETS!!

    I just knew all i had to do was Google “Turkey giblet pictures”

         No cookbook had pics
    By the way, anyone know what the yellow kumquat shape organ is??
  15. Joe Kissell said:

    Rob: You’re welcome! I’m not sure about the other organ you’re describing. Maybe if I saw a picture ;-).

  16. sarah wortley said:

    Many thanks for your picture am in England and am rearing bourbon reds for the first time, have eaten before, but this is the first time selling to others , had no idea which bits were the giblets but your picture has certainly helped didnt know what the gizzard was or that it was included. Many Thanks Sarah

  17. Ian said:

    It’s Christmas eve and I have desperately been trying to find out which bit of the Turkey was the Liver so I didn’t put it in the gravy. Your website has saved me. There will now be 13 very happy people eating dinner in the UK with proper gravy tommorow. Thankyou, Happy Christmas.

  18. Joe Kissell said:

    Ian: It’s clearly an international conspiracy! Well, it’s good to know I’ve performed a public service!

  19. Virginia Ayala said:

    Dear Sir,, I need to buy 10 pounds of fresh or frozen giblets or turkey hearts, do you know where in the San Francisco Area?

    Many Thanks Virginia Ayala

  20. Joe Kissell said:

    Virginia: I’m afraid I have no idea. You might inquire at a butcher shop; they’d be more likely to have that sort of information.

  21. Elizabeth said:

    Hi Rob, The yellow kunquat looking thing is, I believe, ebryos of undeveloped eggs. You know… Where the yolk part of the egg will be… It would have become a egg if the turkey had a longer life :D

  22. Bernie said:


    I am confused by the term ‘giblet’. I am 60 yrs old and what everyone that refered to as the giblets were the two lumps of meat connected by gristle found in the innards bag. I always found the heart, liver, kidneys (sometimes) and what I call the giblets in the bag. My Mom prepared many a giblet stew with no other meat than these pieces that she got from the local butcher. What is what??? Thank you, Bernie

  23. Joe Kissell said:


    If you look up “giblets” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it’s a term that collectively means all the edible viscera of a bird. So the heart and liver are part of the giblets. My guess is that what you grew up calling the “giblets” is the gizzard, as that’s the only other organ that’s typically found in the bag, and it does have two sections.


  24. Deidrea said:

    Thank you so much for posting this picture! As for your editor and publisher…tisk, tisk is all I can say. Had I come across a cookbook with such a precise description, it would have made it’s way on my bookshelf for certain After all, a cookbook is not just about the recipes but often serves as reference material too.

  25. jo said:

    thank you! i had no idea what i was looking for until i found this link!

  26. Sherry said:

    Thank you for publishing the photo. Like others, I had been searching everywhere in recipe books and online to know what to look for, but it was only when I searched for “picture turkey giblets” that I came across your helpful picture.

    One quick question, though: I made a “practice turkey” last week (this is my first official Thanksgiving to do it all myself) and I couldn’t find a bag of anything anywhere. Sadly, I think I may have cooked the turkey with the giblets still inside because I vaguely recall wondering if the little mushy parts still attached inside the cavity were organs. Is it possible that the butcher did not remove these for me and insert them nicely in a bag? If this happens come The Big Day, what do I do to remove these organs myself? (I shudder at the thought, but one must do what one must do!)

    Thank you for any ideas and also for your helpful photo.

    • Sherry
  27. Joe Kissell said:


    I can’t say without actually seeing what came out of your turkey, but “little mushy parts” does sound like giblets. I’d have a talk with your butcher. It’s possible he or she didn’t put them in a bag but left them “loose” in the cavity – I can’t quite figure out, anatomically speaking, how they’d be attached or what they’d be attached to! But basically there shouldn’t be anything in those two body cavities. Feel around in there, and if you encounter anything squishy, it should come out!


  28. Sherry said:

    Hello again Joe:

    Thank you for your response. After writing you, I went to the USDA website and discovered that giblets aren’t required to come with every turkey, so maybe my turkey just didn’t come with giblets. As you suggested, how could anything still be attached in there? Perhaps the mushy things I saw were just part of the inside of the bird and my grand imagination was running away with me. I guess we’ll never truly know for sure.

    My hope is that when Thanksgiving arrives, I will find a little bag of “goodies” in the turkey I’m cooking on Thursday. This mystery has been haunting me a bit, but I’m starting to feel better knowing that what I experienced was not the norm, so I shouldn’t worry too much that it’ll happen again.

    Thanks again for being such a great resource to all us newbies out there!


  29. P. J. Donnellan said:

    Every year I go through the same thing. Which is the heart and which is the gizzard and liver. Now I have pictures, thanks to you. I guess the cookbook authors think we’re all born with this knowledge.

  30. Sue said:

    Joe, Can’t tell you how much time you saved me this year–I go through it each year. Each year I am on the phone with whoever just to make sure I don’t put the “wrong part” in (liver). I too went by verbal descriptions and, boy, everyone used different words. This is like ABC and so simple to have pics and identified. Many many cook books don’t even show these or hardly describe them. You are a credit to cooking. I am definitely marking your website as a favorite. Have a good one!

  31. Tierney said:

    How long to I boil the gizzards to make a broth to use in my gravy?

  32. Joe Kissell said:

    Tierney: If you want to make gravy with the giblets, merely boiling them for broth wouldn’t really give you much flavor. You’d sauté them, adding them (along with the browned bits on the bottom of the pan) to your gravy early in the cooking process and straining out the large pieces later. I’ve got a detailed recipe in my book Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner!

  33. Beau said:

    Thanks for the pictures. Just what I needed! I bet you’ll get lots of hits today.

    Back to the kitchen, I go!

  34. Where Learning Begins » Blog Archive » He had fun… I just tried not to completely lose my cookies. said:

    […] and checking out the legs, we inspected all that fun stuff they send in little plastic baggies inside the birds.  We checked out the neck, and the muscles and tendons that make it work.  Then we looked at the […]

  35. Chara said:

    Ok so i go thru the same thing every year as to which one is the darn liver! thanks so much for putting a pic. this year we had 2 turkeys. the first i bought and defrosted for us but the second was given to us but was laready defrosted. so we cooked the first but did not use any bagged item. the second one i am cooking right now and decided to make giblet gravy. but i have 2 things that loook like liver. one is big and the other is smaller. it doesn’t seem to have broken off but it seems like another piece of something entirely. it really does look just like the liver. what could it be? i won’t be using either in my gravy today but for future info it would be appreciated as to what that other liver-looking thing is~~~aloha

  36. monica said:

    Best reference ever! Thanks so much…I’m printing the page and adding it to my cookbook. And then I’m going out and finding your cookbook to add to my collection.

  37. Ron Gosch said:

    Thanks, Joe, reading through most of the respondents stories and comments was humorous and enlightening (and reminds me of my earlier days, too). But I’m really surprised that most everyone avoids cooking up the neck and giblets, including,(gasp!), the livers, to eat as a side or as a snack type of thing. Even if I plan to use some of them in the gravy, I still saute up most of them in a pan on the stove with as much butter, onion and garlic as I have a taste for, and any spices that are handy. They’re great! I grew up in the mid-west, German heritage, and this was pretty much the norm. (The food stores sell packaged chicken livers and hearts in the meat dept.) Try something different, you might like it! I’ve been doing this for 50 years and still kicking. Thanks. RG

  38. Garth said:

    Another thank-you for the picture. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I was on-line trying to find out what the heck else one can do with turkey giblets besides make gravy or put them in the dressing. I was also trying to explain to my 12 year old what the giblets were, and was only certain about the heart. My trusty mainstay cookbook wasn’t any help on either account.

    Many thanks. Now I just have to decide if I am going to put the liver in or not.

  39. Jeane said:

    Thank you so much for showing that photo. I’m making a turkey for the first time this year, and didn’t know which was the heart and which the gizzard. I appreciate the clarification!

  40. Dan said:

    That picture deserves a website all its own. Thanks for helping me keep my gravy liver free!

  41. may said:

    Thank you for including the picture and the hint on looking in both cavities! I am doing my first thanksgiving turkey and earlier tonight I could only find the neck sort of frozen and stuck inside the body cavity of the turkey. I couldn’t get it out, and also could not find any other parts in that cavity… so I just stuck the whole thing in a brining solution overnight. Now I read your instructions and realized I did not know about the second cavity to search! I dug the turkey out of the brining solution after an hour and found the bag in the small neck cavity! But the bag (which has round holes in it) had a heart, 2 gizzards and a tiny little thing that looked nothing like the liver in your picture, but could that be the liver? or did the liver float or dissolve out of the bag into the brine? The neck is still stuck inside the big cavity, so I’ll have to try to remove it later before I roast. Please let me know if you think I missed some of the liver or not! And if it has messed up the brining now!!

  42. Joe Kissell said:

    May: I couldn’t say what the mystery part is, but I can say with certainty that the liver wouldn’t dissolve in the brine. It’s possible the liver just never made it into the bag (as I’m sure you can imagine, the process of relocating the turkey’s organs isn’t done with the greatest of care or personal attention) and that your extra gizzard means someone else got two livers. Either way, I wouldn’t worry about the liver or the brining. I think you’re in good shape.


  43. Love and Olive Oil » A Thanksgiving Tradition said:

    […] FYI: if you’re faced with the challenge of figuring out what is what when it comes to parts, this image might give you a hand. We needed all the organs EXCEPT the liver, and had no idea what the liver […]

  44. Big Dan said:

    Thanks for the ‘graphic’ picture of the turkey’s pieces and parts… although I grew up with a dad who made good use of these parts (in the gravy and stuffing) I wasn’t sure if there were kidneys in there… and I didn’t want to confuse them for the liver, had they been included. I’m happy to see after confirming with your picture that they are not normally included in the pouch. Now my stuffing will be tasty (with the liver) and the gravy will be tasty with all the rest slowly simmering in the broth all day! Thanks again!

  45. Leland W said:

    Thanks for clearing up this giblet issues. The picture and description are great.

  46. Marie H said:

    I am also one of the THANKFUL masses! Momma never got me past the ewwwwwww factor and am now a full fledged grown up needing to protect my own friends and family from random organ meats and now I am officially equipped! I only remember my dad sucking on the neck bone every year and had no idea where the other stuff went (though i am sure my mother hid it all in the food somewhere). I am adding a little curry to dinner this year and am thrilled to have curry buttery gravy and glazy eyed too full friends and family to enjoy!


  47. Megan said:

    Hey I’m in my first year of University so you can imagine when my flat mates and i were told in a cook book to remove the giblets. We had no idea what they were being the first Christmas dinner any of us had cooked (we had an early Christmas meal). So i can’t thank you enough actually showing us a picture of what they are. Needless to say none of us are aspiring to become chefs. Good luck in your career! Many thanks Megz

  48. Joe Kissell said:

    Megan: You’re quite welcome!

  49. Catie said:

    Thank you so much for posting this blog. I was just helping my mom prepare a turkey for Christmas dinner. When she only saw the neck in the body cavity, but couldn’t find the giblets. After searching & searching..she had me look. I couldn’t find them either. We were both so confused by this. We proceeded to put the turkey in the oven, when I was still bothered that we couldn’t find those darn giblets. So, I went online and found this blog. I read thru Joe, Anna, and May’s postings..Yelled, for my mom to take the turkey out..we looked in the second opening in the body cavity…And, we FOUND THE GIBLETS!!! We got a good laugh out of it, but really you all helped save Christmas dinner. Thanks again and happy holidays, Catie & Barbara

  50. jenn said:

    Thank You!!

  51. Derrick said:

    Well another hearty thank you for identifying each organ meat. That’s what we needed and now we know. Thanks again.

  52. Cyph said:

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Not even the ‘Joy’ has this that I could find!

    Maybe a good book concept would be “Things you want to know, but no one will tell you”, with the subtext of course “because their squeemish publishers won’t let them”

    Thanks again!

  53. Joe Kissell said:

    As always, you’re welcome!

    @Cyph That’s a fantastic idea. I’d be very interested to know if anyone has suggestions for other hard-to-find pieces of information like that (whether cooking-related or not). I’ll start making a list!

  54. Angie said:

    Just wanted to add another ‘thank-you’. I’ve read several recipes for gravy that say to leave out the liver when you simmer the giblets, but none told me which on the liver is! So thanks! Hope the gravy turns out okay…

  55. Joe Kissell said:

    @Angie Ah, it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? :-) I’m glad I could help.

  56. MacVoices » Blog Archive » MacVoices #9120: Joe Kissell Takes Control of Thanksgiving Dinner (yes, Thanksgiving Dinner) said:

    […] Turkey Giblets (including Joe’s photo of turkey parts) on The Geeky Gourmet […]

  57. Bev said:

    Wow I am amazed that anyone wouldn’t know their chicken or turkey organs! As kids we always ate the liver, heart and the gizzard when Mom fried a cutup whole fryer. In fact we used to argue as to who would get them. They are delicious!

  58. giblets « Best Daily News said:

    […] WITH NANNA: CORNBREAD GIBLET DRESSING Rich and meaty giblet and mushroom gravy for roasted turkey. Turkey Giblets, The Geeky Gourmet Categories: MainNews Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment […]

  59. Heather said:

    Yet another thank you for sharing this picture. We’ve used the giblets for various things before, but I’d never separated the liver and thus couldn’t identify it! It’s a shame it didn’t make it in the book, but I’m glad you posted it here. Very helpful.

  60. Carla said:

    Wow! This has been an eyeopener for me. I assumed this was common knowledge, but if people grow up without helping out in the kitchen, they could miss out on basic stuff. Let your kids help and learn.

  61. Erin said:

    Thank you so much for this picture! I am doing my very first turkey this year and had no idea which part was which! I had my daughter and son in the kitchen with me and we decided we had to know! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  62. Libby said:

    Awesome! Consider myself a knowledgeable cook, but haven’t been able to identify the things in the plastic package for years. Finally!

  63. Katy said:

    I SO appreciated the picture of the giblets. I’ve been using them for years in my stuffing (chopped finely), as did my mother, and they add a great flavor. I can never remember how long to boil them or which one needs less time.

  64. wk said:

    Yum! The Giblets are my favorite part. Truth be told I only eat the heart and the liver, but my family has ALWAYS cooked the giblets. And chopped them up for the stuffing, using the broth we boiled them in (simmer is a better word, you don’t really want bubbles) for the gravy as well. The neck was always my grandfather’s favorite part.

    My boyfriend, however, won’t touch the things. He doesn’t like the texture.

  65. non-cook-er said:

    Yes, THANK YOU for the pictures. I didnt know what I was doing either. That is perfect!!

  66. Daniele said:

    Wow, three years later and we are still thanking you for your post and pics. This is my 1st turkey and I had no clue what they were or where to find the “giblets”. I guess now I need to look up how to make giblet gravy! Lol!

  67. Laine said:

    Joe, you are a practical genius – and I disagree with your publishers: The photo is concise, clear, and not at all gross. The only thing I wish you had mentioned was whether the Butterball giblets were in a plastic or paper bag, or loose; I’m planning to cook my Butterball turkey from frozen, so I won’t be able to remove them till about 4 hours into the cooking time. It would help to know which way Butterball packages them.

    Every year, I make giblet gravy the same way described in the first comment, except that after dinner, I throw out the cooked giblets and grouse about having to clean the pan they cooked in. It’s a tradition.

  68. Joe Kissell said:

    @Laine I haven’t bought a Butterball turkey in a number of years, and I’m afraid I don’t recall exactly how Butterball packages the giblets. But when you find out, please let us know!

  69. Phyl said:

    Never mind the people who think you went too far with the picture. It is just what novice cooks and seniors who need reminders, like me, need.THANKS!

  70. Diana said:

    Thanks for this info – but how long do you boil the giblets before they are done? Thanks!

  71. Joe Kissell said:

    @Diana I’ve never boiled giblets. They’re typically cut up and sautéed to make gravy.

  72. Melanie said:

    THANK YOU for the pics and descriptions. Like others have said – every year I go through the same thing = what is considered giblets, whats a gizzard, what is what?!?! I am bookmarking this for future reference!

  73. Carter said:

    Yep, I’m another satisfied surfer wondering just what each one is…thanks so much for keeping this info year after year. Figured out my turkey is hoo.

  74. Staci said:

    thank you!!! i had found the neck but couldn’t find the rest of the pieces. you totally saved me!!

  75. Ruth said:

    I’ve been able to identify all the parts, but wonder…what else can be done with giblets/gizzard besides chop in up in gravy. Any ideas?

  76. Wanda said:

    The picture was great for newbe’s. Having cooked turkeys for 54 years of my married life, I always cook the liver, chop, dice the giblets and fry also, then add to stuffing. Add additional chicken liver too and this is the only way my family likes liver which they don’t recognize in the stuffing as such. It is cooked before adding to bread stuffing. Also add cooked sausage. They prefer this to the turkey.

  77. Sandy said:

    Still finding that photo useful! Doing a practice run for Christmas dinner and wasn’t sure which tasty tidbit was actually the liver LOL! Thanks a million this was harder to find an answer to than you’d think.

  78. thomas higgs said:

    hi my name is thomas and i was just woundering is it safe to cook the turkey with the gibblit bag still inside of the turkey. i am paranoid to eat my turkey now >.< can i please get a reply

  79. Joe Kissell said:

    @thomas It’s safe, sure (as long as you check to see that the turkey has reached the appropriate temperature – at least 160° F – inside) but just not a very good idea!

  80. June said:

    Well done on the photo. I think it’s beautiful and helpful. While I don’t usually eat organs (don’t like the iron/metallic taste all that much), except for the neck in stock and the liver in chopped liver (lots of onions and schmaltz), I’ve never understood our squeemishness about them. Your photo spurred me to go learn what a gizzard was (2nd stomach).

  81. Phil said:

    Is there anything you can do with the liver as it is like frying it up?

  82. C Miller said:

    Thank you so much for this information!

  83. Jennifer said:

    Very useful info! Thanks so much for posting.

  84. Paige said:

    My father told me to use the innards from the turkey to make stock for the stuffing/gravy. He told me however not to use the heart as it will leave a bitter taste to the stock. When I asked him what the heart looked ike he said I would know – lol Thanks to your picture I now know! :-) He also told me I could take the meat off the neck bone to put in the stuffing as well.

    Happy cooking everyone!

  85. Christy said:

    4 years later and this article is still coming in handy. Thanks for the picture – it helped a ton!

  86. Heather said:

    Yes, Thank you! This picture helped me out today too!

  87. Brandi Monks said:

    Pictures are more than a thousand words!!!!! If ya can’t take it, than get out of the Kitchen :) Happy Turkey Day

  88. Jennifer said:

    This was very helpful thanks! Happy thanksgiving!

  89. Marita said:

    So helpful! thanks!

  90. Kathy said:

    Ditto to the thanks! Not sure what I’m going to do with the parts, but was more curious than anything. Maybe I’ll attempt the gravy this year.

  91. LisaH said:

    Thank you for the picture!

  92. Bonnie said:

    Every year I wonder which of these things is the liver. Bless you for the photo.

  93. Carole Thomas said:

    THANK you so much for detailing out the organs. just made a wonderful giblet gravy (without the giblets). I boiled the neck and giblets in chicken stock with a few carrots, onions and celery.

  94. MysterySolved said:

    Mystery Solved…

    We used to put everything but the neck in the blender and then turn it into “mushroom gravy” (mushrooms not included). My aunt was a vegetarian and she would practically guzzle it down. We knew what it was, she knew what it was — but, you know…


  95. ray said:

    I put the giblets in the pan with the turkey and some broth…. any harm in cooking them together?

  96. Dea said:

    I want to add my thanks. I am new to cooking whole birds regularly, and I wanted to add the giblets to my stock. I’ve just been throwing away everything bu the neck because I hadn’t a clue what part was the liver. I can now make even richer stocks.

    Again, thank you!

  97. CindyB said:

    I grew up eating the giblets from Chickens. If properly cooked, they are absolutely delicious. As I got older and spent more time in the kitchen, I discover something wonderful…Turkeys. They have the same giblets as chicken only many times larger. Yay! If you haven’t eaten giblets try them. Think of it as an adventure like the Travel Channels Bizzare Foods.

    The best way I have found to cook them is to put them in the brine with the turkey. Then when you cook your turkey, just toss them in the bottom of the roasting pan. After 4ish hours of cooking, they are very tender and incredibly tasty. I usually buy extra chicken giblets to add in as turkey giblets are hard to find.

  98. CaryD said:

    I use the giblets in my stuffing. I boil the neck, heart and gizzard for about an hour with whatevery seasonings I’m putting in/on the turkey. I toss the liver in for the last 15 minutes. (The heart never makes it to the dressing, that’s my treat for doing all the cooking.) I save the neck for the gravy, and then I dice up the rest and mix it in with the bread dressing.

    If people would look back a generation or two, they would see that their whole family would have eaten the giblets.

  99. CaryD said:

    P.S. I don’t stuff my bird, but if I have any extra gizzards, I’ll throw them inside & let them roast with the bird. They’re a great snack for the 20 minutes that the turkey needs to rest.

  100. Tricia said:

    THANK YOU for this information. (And for the picture.) My gravy turned out beautifully! Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!

  101. Nancy said:

    GOD BLESS YOU for that photo! Maybe this year I’ll get it right.

  102. Ashley said:

    Mmmm- mm! The neck and innards make the gravy even that much more delish. I boil everything in a pot of water. I don’t add any seasonings to it. Then after it’s all boiled, I drain the water and start chopping up the innards and pulling the meat from the neck bones. I use the turkey drippings (after allowing the fat to come to the top and skimmed off), flour, water and the meet to make a yummy yummy gravy. My dad swears by it, he wont touch any other type of gravy. He likes the little pieces of meat when pouring the gravy over everything else.

  103. Heidi said:

    The giblet photo with the description is genius. Goodbye liver! My husband is a Dr. And couldn’t tell the difference. He said he is not a veterinarian.

  104. Ellie said:

    I’m yet another person who only found out about checking the second cavity after ending up here. You’d think instructions would say ‘cavities’ rather than ‘cavity’, but none of the others I looked at did. Thank you so much for the information, as well as the reference photo.

  105. Dave said:

    Joe, thanks for the photo that identifies the turkey innards. Finally, some practical info for us cooks that are trying to learn more. Kudos !!

  106. Winona said:

    Let me add my thanks for the picture as well. The information is invaluable, especially since I knew if I asked the older cooks in the family, they would embarrass me for not knowing my bird parts. It’s interesting how people just assume “everyone knows.”

  107. Lisa said:

    Thank you for the picture. What on earth did we do before the Internet? Much appreciated!

  108. Denise said:

    Thanks for the “graphic” photo. I couldn’t remember what was what and a drawing would have been useless!

  109. Chris & Kate said:

    6 years after you posted this–thank you! Last year, we guessed at which was which, and judging from your picture, we guessed wrong. Thank you for posting this with a photograph! Seeing the pic makes it easier to deal with the real thing, too.

  110. kathy said:

    Thank you for clearing this up for me so I dont have to call the in-laws again this year. But, what will they have to laugh about as we sit around the table?

  111. darla said:

    Just got my bird in it’s brine and after retrieving the packages decided to find out what exactly I have been using for my gravy for years. Funny thing is, I recognized the liver but had NO IDEA what the other stuff was! LOL Been using in the broth for years. (Never chppoed them up, though) Now, I’m a little skived out! Oh well, it’s all in a day’s cooking. Thanks for the pics. Happy Thanksgiving!

  112. Benilana said:

    Thank you Joe for the very helpful photo! Believe it or not I’m a vegetarian but since I’m married to a meat eater & have long since given up on converting him, I at least try to see that the meat he consumes is more natural (i.e., organic, humanely raised and including the “nasty bits” – like our ancestors intended). Before my veg days I grew up eating giblet gravy, so last year I cooked up everything in the bag and chopped it into gravy. I had no idea the liver should not be included and my hubby had no complaints. Just in case though, this year I’ll leave it out of the gravy but fry it up for the dog’s dinner (she’ll be in heaven). Thanks again!

  113. Benilana said:

    Almost forgot…my giblet bag definitely contained some extra bits: a pair of organs that were larger than the heart and smaller than the gizzard. I’m guessing these are kidneys? Oh well, they’re going into the gravy.

  114. Thanksgiving Dinner: The Ithaca Beta Test | The Geeky Gourmet said:

    […] After I wrote the first draft of Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner, I invited some friends over for a test run, to see how well the instructions and timetable worked, and what needed to be modified. It went well, but I still learned a great deal and was able to make many improvements to the book as a result. But I was too busy cooking to take pictures—except for the giblets. […]