What Are Giblets, Anyway? Here's How To Cook With Them On Thanksgiving

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A turkey
This oft-overlooked bit of turkey meat can make for flavorful additions to Thanksgiving dinner.

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, you're probably putting the final touches on your holiday menu. However, something that often gets overlooked right up until turkey prep time is the giblets.

You may have heard of giblets before, but you haven't experienced them until you have reached your hand into your beautiful bird and found a collection of, well, parts in there. Sometimes they are separated into a bag, and other times they are just resting inside the bird cavity. Knowing what giblets are and how to use them can take your Thanksgiving meal from good to great. So, let's break it down for you.

Turkey giblets are simply the organ meat of the turkey, including the gizzards, heart and liver. Oftentimes, you'll also find the neck inside the raw bird as well. But giblets are a cooking staple, especially in the southern part of the U.S., according to Southern Living.

"Giblets can add complexity and depth to a dish, with an earthy taste," Bill Nolan, an expert at the Butterball Turkey-Talk line, told Southern Living.

So what do you do with giblets? There are many ways to prepare giblets, according to Nolan. Some people simply put in them in the roasting pan beside the turkey to help create a richer stock.

However, if you're feeling a little more daring and want to add something special to your Thanksgiving meal, we suggest trying these giblet-infused recipes.

Giblet Gravy 

Adding giblets to gravy is a common way home chefs use them in their cooking. As Holly at Spend With Pennies explains in her recipe, adding giblets to your gravy really bumps up the flavor.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, points out why adding this flavor-booster to your gravy is a smart idea in her recipe notes for turkey giblet gravy: Gravy goes on everything else.

"Gravy is everything," she shared in her recipe post. "You can have the perfect roasted turkey and luscious mashed potatoes, but if you don't have a dark, decadent gravy to spoon over the top, what's the point of even living?"

Giblets can be simmered separately to make a giblet stock, as in Drummond's recipe, or simmered right into the broth you're making for your gravy, as in the Spend With Pennies recipe. Either way, you're likely to have your Thanksgiving guests begging to know your culinary secrets.

Fried Giblets

We know anything fried is sure to be savory and delicious. If you've ever had fried chicken livers, you know what we're talking about: They are crunchy on the outside and rich and creamy on the inside with a powerful flavor. The cooking geniuses at Epicurious suggested frying them as a "chef's treat" in their list of ways to cook with giblets.

Epicurious even translated this classic recipe into one for the holidays. All you need is some buttermilk, flour, cooking oil, a frying pan and some lemon juice for this recipe to create a delicious appetizer side dish for your holiday meal.