UACES Facebook Giblets: What to do with that packet of stuff you find inside the turkey

Giblets: What to do with that packet of stuff you find inside the turkey

Nov. 30, 2018

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Giblets are the heart, liver, gizzard of turkey or other poultry
  • Often packaged with neck
  • Can be used to make gravy

(705 words)

TEXARKANA, Ark. – Anyone who has cooked a turkey purchased from the grocery store has found it: that mysterious packet in the bird’s cavity filled with equally mysterious items known as “the giblets.”

“Giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of a poultry carcass,” said Carla Due, Miller County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The gizzard helps a bird eat by grinding food.

To find the giblet package, look inside either the main cavity of the bird or in the neck cavity, located between the wings of the turkey. Once found, set it aside in the refrigerator, with the neck, to open and cook separately. This package will include the liver, gizzard and heart.

Upon opening the packet, you’ll find that one of these things is not like the other.

“You likely will find the neck packaged with them, but it is not a giblet,” she said.

Uh-oh moment

If you left the giblets inside the turkey while cooking, “you have options depending upon the packaging used by the manufacturer,” Due said. “If they were packed in paper and wrapped before being inserted in the poultry body cavity, then you are good. There is no concern if they are accidently cooked inside the cavity in paper wrapping.”

However, “if the giblets were packed in a plastic bag and you forgot to remove them and they were cooked, then we have a problem,” she said. “Once the bag has been altered or melted by the cooking process, do not use the giblets or bird because harmful chemicals may have leached in the surrounding meat.

“If the plastic bag was not altered, the giblets and bird should be safe to use as long as the meat is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit,” Due said.

Once the turkey is in the oven and dinner is nearing completion, it’s time to start on the giblet gravy.

“This is the perfect accompaniment for your turkey dressing and mashed potatoes,” Due said, adding that’s easier to make than most people think.

Perfect Giblet Gravy

  • Three-fourths cup or 1.5 sticks butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (add additional tablespoons individually as needed)
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper and sage to taste
  • 3-4 eggs, hard boiled and sliced or chopped
  • Giblets, boiled and chopped

 Begin making the roux over low heat. Melt butter in a large skillet, whisk in several heaping tablespoons of flour while continuously stirring. If you get lumps, keep whisking. It will start melting into a semi-liquid. Saturate with flour and keep whisking. The roux will darken as the flour cooks. Continue this process until roux transforms to a dark gold/medium brown color. Next, remove from heat and reserve for gravy. Using large sauce pan, bring broth and seasoning to a boil. Take part of liquid and ladle into the roux, whisk together and then add to main broth. Keep whisking at a slow boil until it thickens. Add eggs and giblets. Gravy should thicken. Keep warm on the stove and pour into gravy boat before serving.          

For more information, contact cdue@uaex.edu, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu