What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving turkey? Drumstick? Breast? Gizzard?
Odds are that not many readers would choose the third option. That is, unless they live in Potterville, Michigan (Eaton County) where poultry gizzards are considered haute cuisine. Potterville is the home of Joe’s Gizzard City, a restaurant that prides itself on its deep-fried chicken gizzards to the point of inspiring an annual, citywide festival -complete with giant, fiberglass chicken mascot. Over 15,000 fans flock to Potterville every summer for their yearly gizzard fix.
There are children dressed as chickens, a parade, people singing chicken songs, but above all, mounds of delectable gizzards to be consumed, with around 1500 pounds downed by festival-goers each year. Joe’s holds a gizzard-eating contest to see who can ingest two pounds of the fried bits the fastest.
Gizzards, muscular organs that help birds grind up whatever they peck out of the dirt, require a sure hand in the kitchen to make them edible, and Joe’s claims to have perfected the process. A generous dunking in cocktail sauce helps them go down even easier. The next Gizzard Fest will be June 10-13, 2010.
Gizzard Fest is also featured in Strange Michigan; More Wolverine Weirdness, published by Trails Books.