Why You Should Never Forget To Remove The Giblets From Turkey

Whether it's your first time or your twentieth making a Thanksgiving turkey, it's frighteningly easy to goof it up by forgetting to remove the giblets. Giblets are made up of the heart, liver, neck, and gizzard of the turkey, all placed in a plastic or paper bag and stuffed up into one of the turkey's nether regions (the neck or the larger main cavity), according to MyRecipes.

Whatever you do, it's important to remove the giblets. If you don't, you run the serious risk of burning them and affecting the overall turkey flavor, MyRecipes explains. It's also a pretty big safety issue. If giblets are packaged in paper, then accidentally cooked, it's no big deal. "If the giblets are wrapped in plastic, however, the plastic may melt inside the turkey and release harmful chemicals," says Williams-Sonoma. "In this case, discard the giblets and the turkey if the plastic has started to melt." 

How to remove turkey giblets

Gross though the items sound, giblets are used in many other recipes, like giblet gravy, Thanksgiving leftover casserole, stuffing, and even as pan-fried snacks all on their own, per epicurious. Or, opt out of giblet-related goodness and simply throw 'em away. No one will judge.

To remove the giblets, LEAFtv suggests taking the following steps. First, remove the turkey from the plastic packaging. The legs will be held together with either a plastic or metal piece. Take that off. Then, reach inside the cavity. If the turkey is totally thawed out, the neck will come out on its own. If it's not, it'll probably be stuck to the still-frozen giblet bag. At any rate, remove both. If the giblets are not in that cavity, try the neck.

Worried you're going to mess up this all-important step? "If you fear you'll forget the giblets, make yourself a note and stick it to the oven door or on the roasting pan," suggests MyRecipes.