Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chicken Feet - Uses

I gave a chicken butchering demo recently and someone asked what I do with the chicken feet. I had set them aside rather than throw them nto the slop bucket, so it peaked a person's curiosity. I do one of two things.....use them for chicken broth, or give them to the dogs as a treat. 

#1- Chicken broth. If I'm going to eat something made from chicken feet, then those feet need some good cleaning. Yup, they're pretty disgusting. The first thing I'll do us wash them well in soapy bleach water and give them a good rinsing. Use a brush. I prefer a toothbrush. Once visually clean, they get dipped into a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Cool them off in cold water then peel the skin off. It comes off easy by just rubbing or a little encouragement from a kitchen knife. Now clean, they are ready for cooking. 

I usually save the cleaned feet in the freezer until I have 10 or 12. To cook them I simmer them in a pot of water for a few hours. Yes, hours. So I usually put the pot on the woodstove in the morning when I'm taking the chill off the house. The feet will make a slightly gelatinous broth. I'll beat the cooled broth with a spoon or fork before discarding the feet, but I try not to handle the feet with my bare hands because the gelatin tends to stick to your skin. Sticky fingers are hard to clean up afterward. Of course you could use your hands if you don't mind. It's just that I don't like to. This broth makes a wonderful mouth texture when added to soups and sauces. 

My grandmother always used chicken feet in her chicken soup, so I grew up loving it. 

#2- Dog treats. My dogs love raw chicken feet. They'll eat them fresh or frozen. I don't cook them for the dogs, just give them raw. 


  1. Question: when you give them to the dogs, do you do the bleach and skin thing first? Or just give them 'as is'?

  2. I don't bother cleaning the ones that I give to the dogs. I simply cut them off the bird and feed them as is. The dgs love them.....but then again, they love whole, live chickens too if they can catch them!