Cooking the Unthinkable: Gizzards and Hearts

Cooking the Unthinkable is a series that examines some of the more eccentric ingredients.  Whether you are a fan of the bizarre or are preparing for the eminent collapse of Western society this series will help you better stomach weird food.

Frying Chicken GizzardsAs a child I always thought of fried chicken gizzards as a treat.  Anyone could have fried chicken but chicken gizzards?  You had to be rich to have those right?  I mean they are so much tastier than most any other part of the bird, well except for the heart and a good package of gizzards would also have a few hearts thrown in.

Today I know better.  Gizzards aren’t rich people food they are peasant food and yet another example that offal (what Tony Bourdain refers to as the “nasty bits”) is the best part of an animal.  Offal refers to the various organs and generally unsavory parts that civilized folks don’t eat.

In this case gizzards are the muscular, thick-walled part of a bird’s stomach used for grinding food.  And if sissies want to turn their noses up at them that’s OK with me because their childishness helps keep the Fried Chicken Gizzardsprices low on the good stuff.  I’d rather have thighs than legs, legs over wings and wings are far tastier than breasts which are the poultry equivalent to tofu only edible.

I’d take a plate full of fried gizzards over all of these.  I’ve used gizzards a number of ways including finely chopped to make Dirty Rice, giblet gravy and in dressing.  But for my money the best way to eat gizzards (or pretty much everything else) is fried.  Like my regular fried chicken I like to marinate them in buttermilk for a while to help tenderize them and add a little more flavor.  A nice spicy dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment although making a little gravy of the frying oil works as well.  Heck I bet you could do them Buffalo style and they’d still be tasty.  Check it out:

: Fried Chicken Gizzards & Hearts
  • 1 package chicken gizzards with hearts
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large airtight container place the chicken gizzards and cover with buttermilk. Marinate for 1 – 4 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook heat a large cast iron skillet (cast iron really is the best for this) at medium high heat filled with a half inch of canola oil.
  3. Mix flour with salt and pepper then place into a large deep walled bowl. Shake extra buttermilk from the gizzards then dredge in the flour, finally shake off excess flour and place into the skillet.
  4. Do not overfill the skillet (the gizzards should have space between them) then cook at medium high for roughly 4 minutes.
  5. They should be clearly brown at this point. If so, flip them over and cook another 3-4 minutes or until all sides are brown then drain by placing onto a cooling rack over paper towels, lightly season at this point.

Preparation time: 1-4 hour(s)

Cooking time: 10-15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2-3

: Tabasco Mayo
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 teaspoons Tabasco Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  1. Stir together all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2-3



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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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