Don’t leave these little nuggets of deliciousness in the field.
Having had a successful turkey hunt, some hunters only remove the breast meat from the bird on the grounds that the leg and thigh meat is to tough. Serious game chefs like Hank Shaw have proven that theory wrong, and show that a fine meal can be made from the wild turkey besides what is taken from the breast. But did you know there is even more that you can harvest off this versatile bird in the form of organ meat?
Yep, you read that right. Organ meat, specifically the heart, gizzard and liver. Not convinced? Check out this video by Steven Rinella of the MeatEater TV show.
Doesn’t look too bad, does it? Even the most diehard meat eaters might be squeamish at first to the concept of eating organ meat. They shouldn’t be. Not eating the “nasty bits” is a relatively new and western concept. Historically people often ate the organ meat first, usually in the form of the heart or nutrient rich liver and it’s probably safe to assume that even today billions of folks eat offal throughout the world.
Offal eaters have a good reason to eat organ meat, it is often some of the most nutritious parts of the animal. Liver is loaded with high-quality protein, iron and abundant in vitamins, specifically B12. The heart is packed full of nutrients, vitamins and contains amino acids thought to improve metabolism. Got a taste for kidneys (perhaps with fava beans and a nice Chianti)? Go for it, they are loaded with B12, iron, vitamin B6 and riboflavin. Same with gizzards.
Gizzards, by the way are my favorite bit found inside a turkey. I know however, that I am likely in the minority even among offal eaters. A local bar a few miles from my families hunting camp keeps a few jars of pickled turkey gizzards available to the patrons. To my knowledge, my dad and I are the only one to eat from the jar, usually at the insistence of the waitress that we feel free to serve ourselves.