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Wild Game Dirty Rice

wild game dirty rice

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun preparation, and it happens to be quite possibly the greatest use of giblets ever — especially to those who think they hate eating offal. What makes the rice “dirty” is ground up gizzards and minced liver. And when I say “minced,” I really mean chopped almost into a puree. You really never know you’re eating giblets.

But this rice is roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head good! I mean, really, really fantastic. Spicy, meaty, and richly flavored, dirty rice is a perfect side dish.

Do me a favor: If you don’t have any wild game giblets — because you don’t save them — make this recipe with regular chicken giblets. Please. Then come back and tell me how sorry you were for not saving the gizzards, hearts and livers of all those ducks or geese or pheasants you shot.

I most often use duck giblets for my dirty rice, but pheasant, grouse, wild turkey or really any game bird will do. The only caveat is that small birds like teal or quail are really not worth cleaning the gizzards from. I mean you can if you want, but you get only a smidge of meat. Mallards and pintail are ideal, as are wild turkeys and pheasants.

Serve this as a side dish to my “Empty-the-Freezer” gumbo and you’ll be in Cajun heaven!

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 cup duck, pheasant or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat, butter or lard
  • 1/2 to 1 cup livers from pheasant, duck, goose or chicken
  • 1/2 to 1 pound ground gizzards or other ground meat
  • 2-3 jalapenos or 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 green onions
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning


  1. Cook the rice. Rinse the rice well and put in a pot with the duck broth and water, plus a little salt. Cook until done. Move the cooked rice to a sheet pan and lay it out to cool.
  2. If you are using gizzards, clean them of grit and that silver membrane and either chop fine or grind in a meat grinder. A meat grinder is better, but not everyone has one. Alternately, you can use any ground meat.
  3. While the rice is cooling, heat the duck fat over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the ground gizzards, jalapeno peppers, onion and celery and brown well. Take your time.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the livers very fine. It’ll almost be a puree.
  5. About halfway through the browning process, add the chopped liver and mix well. Let this cook for a minute or two. Sprinkle some salt over everything.
  6. If the pan gets sticky, add a little water or duck broth to loosen.
  7. Add the rice and a little water to the pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the Cajun seasoning. Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry this for 2 minutes, or until the rice is well coated and beginning to brown.
  8. Add the green onion, toss to combine and serve hot.

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