Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Pass the gizzards, please, or not February 28, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I’VE HEARD OF PIE, hot dog, even sauerkraut, eating contests. But a Grackle Gizzard Eating Contest? Never.

But that contest opportunity happens during Winthrop, Minnesota’s 35th annual Grackle Days from April 5 – 7. What’s a grackle you ask? A blackbird.

Participants won’t gobble down grackle gizzards, though. Rather, organizers of this first-time contest have substituted turkey gizzards.



Grackle. Turkey. I don’t care what type of gizzard is on the table. I won’t be among those flocking to sign up for a contest limited to 10 competitors on two teams. Just the thought of eating a gizzard grosses me out.

How about you? Would you eat a gizzard? Have you eaten a gizzard?

Hand me a plate of sauerkraut and I’ll happily indulge. But a plate of gizzards? No thank you.


© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


35 Responses to “Pass the gizzards, please, or not”

  1. Lynne King Says:

    Yes, I have eaten chicken and turkey gizzards. In Indiana and Kentucky, and other “southern” states, you’ll find them on the menu at restaurants. In my hometown, we have a diner that serves chicken gizzard and liver dinners. Livers and gizzards on the same plate, with mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    This cracks me up. A gizzard eating contest would not pull me in that is for sure but I have eaten chicken gizzards and liked them. My grandma used to make a pretty awesome fried gizzard. 🙂

  3. Brenda Says:

    I have never eaten a turkey gizzard and don’t plan on any time soon! My husband eats them and watching him eat one almost gags me.😝 Yuk! I definitely won’t be entering that eating contest or even going to watch it! Just the thought of it does me in! I would join you eating sauerkraut though!! 😀

    • I’m sorry, Brenda. Are the gizzards he eats pickled ones. Randy mentioned that some bars have pickled ones available for purchase.

      Henderson, Minnesota, used to have a sauerkraut eating contest, which I attended once as a child. I don’t know if that river town still celebrates Sauerkraut Days.

  4. I can say I have eaten chicken gizzards – one and done for me. I agree in that I could handle sauerkraut. All in FUN, right! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. Ummm…..that would be, “No.”

  6. Joyce in Kansas Says:

    Other than being tough, gizzards aren’t so bad. Chicken gizzards anyway and I’d guess turkey gizzards would be the same.

  7. Almost Iowa Says:

    Grackle Days! Seriously?

    Grackle Gizzard Eating Contest? Uff Dah!

    Well, I guess the name of the event served its purpose. It generated press. 🙂 🙂

  8. BERNADETTE Thomasy Says:

    Yes, when I was growing up our family ate chicken gizzards. We did not throw away any useable chicken parts when we butchered our own chickens. I remember them tasting especially good in chicken soup. I can still see the kind of blue tinge to the meat and it had a rubbery, muscled kind of texture — qualities that most people may not find appetizing,

  9. wow! Well, I guess with the long winters, you need more options for entertainment. 🙂 I’ll pass on the gizzards, thank you!

  10. pkpm519 Says:

    Audrey, you may have eaten them as a child…Moms are good at hiding the things kids don’t like in something else. Maybe chopped up in the stuffing, chopped finely in the gravy, etc. (My sister hid broccoli in lasagna…and her kids loved it!)
    I love gizzards…chicken and turkey. When I worked at the turkey factory in Faribault, I used to buy cases of the gizzards for a friend of mine, who ran a bar, so he could pickle them. He also bought turkey drumsticks to smoke!
    I like them cooked with salt and pepper, cooked then deep-fried, and pickled! Yum!
    Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in the food world!
    Love reading your blog and the comments from others! Emily

    • Now there’s an endorsement for gizzards if I ever heard one. How sweet of you to buy them for your friend who ran a bar.

      Moms can be sneaky. My niece recently put grated carrots in BBQ and her kids thought it was cheese. And these are kids who eat any vegetable, maybe just not in sloppy joes.

  11. krcc Says:

    Whoa. Bet theyre a bit tougher to chew and swallow quickly.

  12. Your title on this post made me choke on my coffee, ha ha. This is hysterical!

  13. Gunny Says:

    OK, My Grandma LOVED Chicken and Turkey gizzards (whatever they are – don’t tell me, I do not want to know). but a Grackle here in Texas is a real bird – not a turkey! Grackles are black have tail feathers that are “A” framed and these are some mean nasty birds!

    The old saying “it tastes like chicken” is a sure fire way to ensure I do not eat it!

    • Oh, yes, the “it tastes like chicken line.” How familiar.

      You’re right, don’t google gizzard if you don’t know the role it plays in a bird’s body. The Winthrop organizers are only replacing the grackle gizzard with turkey gizzards, not confusing the two birds.

  14. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    No gizzards here but I do like the occasional mountain oyster

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