Dec 21, 2011

Failed (but not wasted) Attempt at Chicken Giblet Sausage

One of these days I’m going to get serious about answering a question that’s been nagging me for a while: how many uses can I get out of a single chicken?  Let’s see…if a whole roast chicken is the primary meal, I can use leftover meat to make my ever-popular “chicken balls” with hand made pasta.  I can use the carcass, feet, and neck to make stock for a hearty soup.  I can use the giblets for…well, if there’s only one heart, gizzard and liver, not much - and they might as well go into the stock pot or in stuffing.  But if I have a whole mountain of chicken hearts, gizzards and livers (as I often do right after volunteering to help slaughter chickens at Glynwood farm) then I’ll definitely make at least three additional dishes:  chicken liver paté, teriyaki chicken hearts, and deep fried chicken gizzards.  Oh my!  But back to the story.  I wanted to create something new with my bags o’ giblets this time.  Could I manipulate them into some form of chicken sausage?  I’d never made any kind of sausage before. 

After a day of experimentation, the answer was “maybe”.  I failed to make sausage but I think it’s still a good possibility with some – or maybe just one – pretty significant modification of the ingredients. 

Follow the Read More link below to see exactly what I did (wrong) and what I’ll do next time…

Can I make sausage with chicken hearts, gizzards and some fat and skin?

My research indicates that keeping everything cold (or frozen) is the key to sausage making.  I started by freezing the skin and fat.  

While the skin was freezing, I "filleted" the gizzards.

I'll use the fillets and throw the silver skin outside for the crows.

I bisected the hearts - only because the hearts of these pasture raised chickens are twice as big as the grocery store variety.

I added lotsa herbs and spices.  No salt yet because I don't want any water coming out of the meat.

I mixed it up.

Then I popped the meat into the freezer with the fat and skin.

I also put my grinder in the freezer.

I read that adding some liquid helps "bind" the sausage together so I'll use some chicken stock.  I'll dissolve the salt in here.  

I cut the frozen skin and fat into smaller pieces.

Meat and fat into the grinder.

Hmm...pretty much looks like sausage...

...but I can tell something isn't right.  

I suspect that the main problem here is that chicken fat is too soft for sausage making.  Compared to beef or pork fat, it's really soft and loose at room temperature.  I bet using some pork fat instead could make this work.  But that kinda bums out my mission, which is to make what I can from only chicken parts.  Kind of a silly mission, so I may try this again some time with a different type of fat.  

I'm not going to let a texture problem stop me from sampling this meat, so I added the salted chicken stock...

...and mixed it in.  

I formed a couple sausage patties and tossed 'em in a hot pan.

They didn't hold together and the texture was all crumbly and wrong, but the failed chicken sausage experiment tasted great.  I used some of the meat to make a bolognese sauce that my husband loved (he has declined to eat my chicken liver pate, teriyaki hearts or fried gizzards).  I'd use it on pizza, and I think it would make a great country gravy to go with buttermilk biscuits.  


  1. Did you ever get that to work? I'd love a recipe!

  2. Hello Frankie,

    This looks like a nice start, but may I suggest that you add the salt earlier, it is necessary to release the water soluble proteins which bind the meat, a little mustard powder or a larger quantity of milk powder can also be added to help the bind. If you grind the meat after adding the salt and seasonings, and work it either by hand or using a mixer until it becomes sticky, you will find that you are able to retain the fats and moisture within the forcemeat and they will have a nicer texture.

    You can find some tips on my Blog

    Best Regards,