How to Clean Gizzards

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Chicken gizzards are a specialty throughout the southern United States.
Chicken gizzards are a specialty throughout the southern United States. (Image: Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Enjoy chicken gizzards baked, boiled or fried. The chicken gizzard is a muscular pouch in a chicken’s digestive tract. The gizzard contains small bits of gravel swallowed by the chicken. Food passes through the stomach into the gizzard which contracts, causing the gravel to grind against the food. The grinding breaks down the food aiding in its digestion. The gizzard is covered by a membrane of gristle which is covered with a layer of fat. Clean the gizzard and cook it in many ways for a delicious southern-style treat.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice water
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife

Chill the gizzard in ice water before working with it. Lay the gizzard on the cutting board so the intestine openings are facing up and away from you. Use a sharp knife to slice the gizzard open, only as far as the membrane that encases it. Do not cut through the membrane.

Open the gizzard, empty the contents, and immediately rinse the inside under cold running water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of sand or gravel.

Slide your thumbnail where the gizzard was split and work it between the tough white membrane and the gizzard muscle. Continue sliding the thumb of one hand under the membrane while pulling on the gizzard muscle with the other hand until the membrane and fat cover are removed.

Slice off the small tips of gristle on each end of the gizzard as well as any remaining fat.

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