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Jan 8, 2007 06:44 PM

in the chicken cavity - kidney? liver?

I made Marcella's roast chicken with lemon for the 4th or 5th time this weekend. I noticed that one of the other times I made it, there were organ-y bits in the juices that seemed to run out from inside the cavity, despite rinsing.

This time, when I rinsed, I inspected more closely and was able to dislodge soft pink-brown pieces lodged under other tissue in the cavity. What is it and why is it in there?

I have never read about removing anything (beside the bage of giblets) before. Does anyone else find this mystery part? These weren't the highest quality birds - could that be the problem?


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  1. If it's soft and comes in blobby bits, it's probably liver. However, it's more common for the heart to remain stuck to the ribcage through cleaning and cooking.

    1. Was it a freshly killed chicken or one from the grocery wrapped in plastic? A lot of times when the chickens are in teh grocery they use a standard method of taking out the "guck" and leave some behind under some of the bony parts near the spine....
      Check when you buy the chicken if there are soft mushy parts up near the spine of the chicken (in the cavity)....they come out fairly easily but because it's usually between the ribs it's hard for a knife to take out, but easier for you to take out with your hands. They won't make you sick, but if you don't like the taste of liver, you won't like how they taste....

      1. Someone who's chopped far more chickens that I have once told me that the small amount of organ tissue that's stuck to the backbone is the spleen. Don't know if that's true.

        1. The somewhat amorphous organs pressed tightly against either side of the lower spine that are often left in the chicken body cavity are the kidneys. The spleen (which isn't a "paired" organ in any case) is elswhere. Here's a diagram that may help:

          1 Reply
          1. re: FlyFish

            I used this diagram a few times in the past. I often find 2 little organs up near the backbone far down in the cavity. They have to be kidneys. Certainly not liver, lungs or spleen

          2. I know exactly what you're talking about - it's not a heart and it's not anything remotely close to a liver. They look like small kidneys to me. I've always been unsure what those little things are! Considering that all chickens we buy are hens, (unless it's a capon) it may be an ovary(?). I'd tend to think that kidneys are much larger, but I'm certainly not a bird expert. Who knows. The diagram shows the spleen too far away from the spine and these things (if I may interject here) are attached to the spine - correct sloped?