The heart, liver and gizzard of the chicken are often referred to as giblets, with the neck sometimes being thrown into the mix. Interestingly enough, the giblets that come with your bird are usually not those that the chicken was born with. Although these tiny delectables are often found stuffed inside the chicken, cooking them where they lie is not a recommended practice. But, if truth be told, accidents sometimes happen, and depending on how your giblets were packaged, the bird might be salvageable.
Remove loose giblets from the whole chicken immediately, and store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Giblets in a bag stuffed inside the bird's cavity can safely remain inside the chicken during refrigerator storage, but should be removed from the chicken prior to cooking. Always cook the giblets separate from the chicken to ensure thorough cooking. Refrigerated giblets keep for up to two days, frozen up to four months.
Whole chickens that you purchase from the supermarket often have the giblets stored neatly in a bag, stuffed inside the body cavity. Giblets stored in a plastic bag inside the chicken pose a health risk if the bag melts during cooking, rendering the cooked chicken unsafe for consumption. If the giblets are inside of a paper bag, and the bag is forgotten inside the cooked bird, the chicken is still safe to eat, provided it's fully cooked.
Before cooking the chicken, reach in and pull out the giblets, refrigerating them immediately afterward. Clean the cavity by giving it a cool water rinse to remove bacteria and excess fluids, patting the entire chicken down afterward with paper towels until dry. Cook the bird, making sure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you eat it. A meat thermometer pressed into the chicken, away from the bone, can give you an accurate temperature reading.
Giblets are best cooked outside of the chicken. Whether they are fried, broiled or simmered, the juices that leach from the giblets should run clear, and the giblets themselves should be firm in texture after a thorough cooking. Cook chicken giblets to an internal temperature of 165 F, checking with a meat thermometer for doneness before eating. Leftover dishes containing giblets require refrigeration within two hours of cooking.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images