How to Clean Chicken and Turkey Feet -along with the Gizzard- for Cooking

how to clean chicken and turkey feet -along with the gizzard- prior to cooking

Ready to learn how to clean chicken and turkey feet?  I bet you never thought you’d be doing this, but here you are!  Many of you may be wondering why you’d want to use the feet, and the answer is simple, they’ll help you make the BEST bone broth you’ve ever had!  Since we’re already talking about cleaning poultry feet we might as well discuss how to clean the gizzard.  Don’t worry, you’ll soon be a pro at this and you’ll never remember you were once grossed out by it all.

You’ve reached the point in your journey to live a self-sustaining life that you’ve begun raising poultry for meat.  With that decision comes the typical homesteader’s mentality, nothing should go to waste.  Nothing.  Every bit of the bird should be used in one form or another, and you may need to get creative on how that’s going to be done.

Think cooking, feed for the dogs, compost and maybe treats for the pigs.

Making bone broth is a staple here on our homestead and it’s one of the most nutritious and beneficial items you and your dogs can consume.  A batch of bone broth is made monthly for the pups, they love it and it’s done wonders for their overall health.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking
We freeze bone broth in silicone cubes for our raw fed dogs

People have been consuming bone broth for centuries, and it seems that many are returning to a more traditional method of assisting the body to receive a more natural (and delicious) immune boosting, joint healing food item, that also promotes a healthy gut. 

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with bone broth.  It will warm you on a cold day, fill your stomach when it’s empty and it can be used to assist in creating amazing dishes. 

When it comes time to make an additional batch of broth we use a roaster oven to slow cook the bones and (or) poultry feet until every bit of minerals have been drawn from the bones.  Once the bones become brittle and crumble to the touch you’ll know that every ounce of mineral has been drawn from them, ending the process.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to save those poultry feet, now let’s go clean some feet!

How to Clean Chicken and Turkey Feet

Realistically, the only time you’ll get around to cleaning poultry feet is if you’re butchering your own meat.  Or if a friend decides, out of the kinds of his heart, to gift you some.  At that point you’d better keep that friendship alive, for a very, very long time.  No joke.

Start by cleaning the feet in warm water, feel free to use a nail cleaning brush to give them a good scrubbing.  Me? I allow them to soak for a few minutes and give them a good rubbing with my hands.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking

Once you’ve finished washing them, submerge them in a pot of simmering water for roughly 10 seconds.  If they are difficult to peel after the initial 10 seconds, feel free to return them to the simmering water for another few seconds.  

Start peeling from the top of the knee knuckle down to the foot, the skin should peel right off without any issues.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking

The last step will be to remove the nails with garden pruners.  If the nails do not bother you feel free to leave them on.  A quick note, pick up a new pair of garden shears and add them to your butchering kit.  They will come in handy when cutting through smaller bones.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking

Cleaning the Gizzard

The gizzard is much like chicken and turkey feet, either you love it or you don’t, but I highly suggest you give it a try.  The gizzard is considered a muscle meat, and is quite tasty breaded and deep fried or even slow cooked to soften the meat.  Unlike the heart or liver, the gizzard will need to be cleaned prior to consuming it.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking
Grit in the form of small pebbles can often be found in the gizzard

Once you’ve emptied the food and grit from the gizzard, trim the fat found around it. The inside of the gizzard contains a tough yellow lining known as the membrane and it’s not something you’ll want to eat; the yellow lining is extremely tough and chewy.

How you complete this next step is up to you.  Some are careful as to how the gizzard is cut in order to remove the membrane, but then you have individuals like us who will cut it in half and flip it inside out.  There’s no art to our method, we just don’t invest the time to make it look pretty. 

Once you’re able to separate the membrane from the meat it is extremely easy to peel.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking

How to Make and Use Bone Broth

There are a few options in regards to what appliances to use when making bone broth ~ we love our roaster oven, while others enjoy using their Instapot.  Learning and Yearning provides easy steps on making bone broth in a slow cooker.

how to clean chicken and turkey feet - along with the gizzard - prior to cooking
Grass feed beef bone broth with chicken feet cooked in our roaster oven

Small Footprint Family makes and amazing stock containing chicken feet. 

Though sipping bone broth is excellent for your overall health, cooking with it will elevate the flavor of anything you are preparing.  This Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings by Reformation Acres is an absolutely fabulous recipe. 

If you’re looking for something to sooth your cold bones on a cold day look into this Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup by Grow A Good Life.

Hopefully I have convinced you to utilize your poultry feet and gizzard, if not you now know how easy it is to clean them!


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