Reader Says He Found Brains In His KFC

UPDATE: This is probably deep-fried small intestine, according to commenters, for some of whom finding this in their KFC is apparently a common occurrence.

John says he found some brain in his KFC chicken thigh in Raleigh, NC. We asked him if he was sure it wasn’t just skin and fat mixed together.

Pretty sure, yeah. Fat usually has more of a yellow tint, and is more gelatinous on chicken. This was a solid looking piece, a little more than 1/4th of an inch thick at the widest part, and it had the unmistakable “lines” that you see in the brain organ. It was also firm to the touch, unlike rubbery fat. If it was a piece of skin/fat, it sure pulled off a good look alike.

Look on the bright side; at least now we know KFC uses real chicken.

More gruesome pix, inside…

Says John,

Needless to say, we’re never eating at KFC again. (Especially after looking at these greasy close up shots.) It’s not worth the time to take it back to the store, seeing as how all they’d do is give us a gift certificate to come back.





Edit Your Comment

  1. JayXJ says:

    I just ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken today. I really, really didn’t need to see that.

  2. juri squared says:

    Even the little picture is really gross!

  3. MiltyKiss says:

    Thank god, I stay away from most fast foods (most meaning that I’ll eat at one, once a month… maybe).

  4. cozygal36 says:

    it sure looks like brain matter… what the hell is that black stuff or is it dark green? GROSS!

  5. castlecraver says:

    Oh sweet Jesus that is DISGUSTING

  6. Namrepus says:

    Thank you consumerist…

    You’ve made atleast one person physically sick with those images…me

  7. bluegus32 says:

    Um, so? People eat animal brains all the time. Nothing wrong with that.

  8. OKH says:

    Would chicken brains have sulci like a human brain?

  9. bluegus32 says:

    Not to mention, this guy just bought a bucket of artery-clogging nastiness and he’s complaining about brains. Brains are arguably much better for you than the deep-fried animal skin he was about to feast upon.

    What weird lines we draw in this country. We’ll eat animal muscle and skin deep-fried in animal fat but God forbid we eat brains.

  10. Yep says:

    Given that a chicken’s brain is tiny, that’d have to be the whole thing. Unless…it’s not a chicken brain! (cue ominous music)

  11. ChrisC1234 says:

    That just makes me want to puke… I’d have to agree, they definitely are brains. Now what I really can’t understand is why anyone would eat KFC in the first place. Their chicken is just nasty, especially compared to Popeyes or Churches.

  12. B says:

    From my experiences with KFC, I’d never expect to find brains anywhere near that place.

  13. North of 49 says:

    i’m going to barf.

    and never eat kfc again. ever.

  14. bonko5 says:

    It’s a chicken liver – not a brain. They are often found in thigh meat. This one doesn’t look like it’s cooked (which I admit is gross), but it’s not brains.

  15. Craig says:

    He’s lucky they didn’t charge him extra.

  16. narcolepticdoc says:

    Umm.. To interject some sanity into this:

    1. Chickens don’t have brains in their THIGHS.

    2. Chickens have brains in their skulls, like most creatures.

    3. Chicken brains are… um… how shall we say this in a manner so as not to offend any chickens out there…. um… Not Very Big At All.

    Most likely this was some kind of visceral organ meat.

  17. bluegus32 says:

    @narcolepticdoc: I hear ya.

    Course, in looking at the picture, I can’t tell you what I am more disgusted with. The entire subject matter looks awful, not just the brainy part.

  18. Eilonwynn says:

    iirc, brains are actually notoriously difficult to cook such that they don’t turn into a simple gelatin. Has dude NEVER seen an uncooked chicken drumstick with the skin still on it? Probably the skin from the *attatched* drumstick had something *slightly* funky happen to it and it didn’t get all the way cooked or all the way unattatched before the stuff hit the spices or the fryer. Pick it off and eat the rest if you’re so inclined.

  19. PenguinBlue says:

    Uh, you ARE eating a dead animal. Why don’t the bones gross you out just as much?

  20. Televiper says:

    That appears to have the same pattern that raw chicken skin and turkey skin has.

  21. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Looks like a lump of skin and fat to me. Chicken skin puckers like that.

    I don’t see what’s so gross about these pictures anyway. Is this one of those “I can’t eat meat that looks like it came from an animal” things? Meat is animal corpse parts — if you can’t deal, don’t eat it.

  22. pestie says:

    It’s amazing how many people get so squeamish when they’re shown something to remind them that meat is made of dead animals. Yeah, I get it, brains seem kinda gross, and the pictures are pretty icky, but seriously, brain is reasonably nutritious.

  23. wesrubix says:

    It’s not brain, it’s intestinal track that’s commonly found inside a chicken breast piece under some bones.

  24. hc5duke says:

    It’s Raleigh not Ralleigh.

  25. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Eilonwynn: I can hang with the brain and or skin…I have eaten worse but WTF is that greenish stuff near the bone?

  26. Voyou_Charmant says:

    Thats not where the brain goes.

  27. ZonzoMaster says:

    HOLLY CRAP, i like KFC, but that chicken looked like hell, damn…

  28. ZonzoMaster says:

    And eating brain isn’t that bad, try it sometime (BUT NOT LIKE THAT, GREEN STUFF WTF!!!).

  29. alhypo says:

    I’m going to have to go with the people who say it is not a brain. It is way too big to be a chicken brain.

    If it is some other animal’s brain then… oh god, I don’t even want to think about that.

  30. Spiny Norman says:

    From the tightly packed nature of the coils and the proximity to the thigh, I’m guessing you’re looking at deep fried small intestine. If you really must eat that oil soaked artery cement, it’s probably better not to look too closely.

  31. kerry says:

    I see a lot of internal organs where I work (human ones, not chicken ones) and I’m with Spiny Norman. My first reaction was “guts.” Brain would either be recognizably shaped like a brain, or be completely broken down into gray goo from the frying. The intestines come in a little membrane sac, and this looks very much like a tiny version of the human small intestine. Still kind of gross, but really, ultimately just chicken chitlins. Except not cleaned, and thus full of poop and digestive juices.
    If you want to do something about it, report this to the department of health. I realize that your local store didn’t slaughter the bird and package it up for frying, but the health department can get the ball rolling with KFC corporate.

  32. pirate says:

    Gross, but what do you expect from the Colonel?

  33. Smashville says:

    That is so obviously not a chicken brain. Although the intestine theory sounds good.

    Thanks for making everyone vegetarian for a little while, consumerist.

  34. DocRaf says:

    I agree with Kerry/Spiny Norman/Narcolepticdoc,

    Looks like organ meat. My guess is the pancreas.

    And why is everyone making such a big deal out of THAT. I’m more disgusted by how much that piece of chicken is glistening from the sheer amounts of grease. ughh

  35. philipbarrett says:

    What’s the problem here? KFC = Kentucky Fried Chicken, it doesn’t say what part of the chicken.

  36. ivieso says:

    I think that is the guts. The trail endings are cosidered very good. You ever eat the the guts behind the thigh quarter of a KFC fried chicken? They are very tasty. Just eat it.

  37. jamesBrauer66 says:

    I would chomp that right down. Isn’t brain what makes pepperoni spicy? I did my time as a vegetarian and now embrace my omnivorous position in the food chain. If we weren’t designed/evolved to eat meat, then why the canines?

  38. alk509 says:

    Gotta echo a few other posters here: nevermind the brain/pancreas/skin/intestines, or whatever it is, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SOYLENT GREEN SHIT NEXT TO IT?!?! YUCKA!

  39. Caprica Six says:

    @alk509: “Soylent Green is People” Please don’t forget :)

  40. notebook says:

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  41. uricmu says:

    It’s obviously intestines. Not cleaned (problem) but then again, not brains. Actually, franks used to be made out of pig intestines (hopefully clean).

    I’ve once had a (kosher!) fried chicken squirt blood on me. (For those who don’t know, it means it wasn’t really kosher, because kosher food is salted to death to get the blood out).

    Still, yuck.

  42. Thrust says:

    Never liked KFC. Don’t think they can possibly win me over now, unless I suffer blunt head trauma and start thinking I’m Hannibal Lecter.

  43. Amiga_500 says:

    If this is a chicken thigh, which I believe it is, it’s not intestines or brains. It’s actually the kidneys. You will find this on most every piece of store bought fried chicken thigh and even fresh cut chicken. It’s located where the thigh meets the spine


    “The kidneys are on the interior, running along either side of the backbone, near the tail. They are about 1 to 2 inches long, and roughly the diameter of a pencil. They are somewhat rough and bumpy rather than smooth. Bright red when raw, they cook to a brownish gray. They have to be “dug out” of their veterbral nest with the tip of the little finger or a chopstick.”

  44. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    MUNLAWIN I beg to differ with you. Apparently “Soylent Green is Nasty Effing Chicken” I can’t understand why the dude complaining didn’t even mention the green shit on the chicken and I really appreciate the rest of you doing so because I was looking at the picture going ummm I don’t see brain but I sure see snot, spinach, something nasty green. Oh yeh and I was eating when I saw them, I have a stomach that is pretty strong but I almost threw up over that green stuff in the pic.

  45. Consumer-X says:

    As a result of the discovery of deep fried brains in a bucket of KFC, a new Zogby poll has found that among Zombies of all ages, 98.7% stated that they would be more likely to eat at KFC in the future.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Fuck that. Seriously, I was just sitting down to dinner.

    You bastards.

  47. timmus says:

    Well, fortunately the odds of getting a helping of worms in that intestine segment are not too high: []

  48. MaximuM_MayheM says:

    Thanks Consumerist, now I I just lost my appetite. For a week.

  49. XianZhuXuande says:

    Screw the brain thing… that can be plucked off. The green goo, however, has just ensured that I won’t be eating KFC for the next few months.

  50. Rusted says:

    @Spiny Norman: No, I just savor it, eyes closed. I’ve seen worse. Ever open a pot and see a pig’s head staring up at you? One of the benefits of country living.

  51. caseykay68 says:

    I have to add into this discussion. While the people who have brought some sanity into this discussion are mostly right, that piece is not intestine but kidney. The way KFC separates the pieces the backbone is generally partly attached. The kidneys sit on either side of the backbone by the leg/thigh. I think the problem is most of us are used to seing our food sanitized, and in the case of chicken, skinless and boneless.

    I usually see that part on the thighs from KFC, my dog loves it!

  52. Ncisfan says:

    I think i just puked in my mouth a little bit.

  53. joeblevins says:

    This is kind of crap is below the consumerist. This obviously is just some wussy child that is afraid of food and has never had fried chicken before. Even worse then the fool that thinks it was brains, is this website for putting forward this as fact.

    I can imagine the complainer has never cooked thier own food. I can also assume prior to this it was only chicken fingers and McNuggets.

    Disgusting that people freak out about this.

  54. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I think The Colonel’s face says it all.

  55. gamble says:

    Holy shit that’s gross. But then again, I think that any close-up shot of KFC just might be equally as disgusting.

    Hmm…I wonder if this will stop me from eating KFC.

  56. DTWD says:

    I think the “green stuff” is the bones. When I worked at KFC the bones on the thighs and breasts were black.

  57. Mom2Talavera says:

    muscle, skin, brain….it doesn’t matter its all from a dead animal.
    It annoys me when western omnivores think its gross when omnivores in other parts of the world eat brains, frogs, turtles, cats, dogs, horses.….its all relative.

  58. shiftless says:

    I’ve seen a number of posts online about brains being found in KFC. It frightens me to think of how many of these go unreported or unnoticed. I’m just glad I stopped eating KFC period. They would always screw up my order anyways.

  59. Graciela says:

    That’s soooo totally not brains. I’ve had that squiggly thing in my KFC chicken, in fried chicken from other stores, and in whole chicken that I’ve butchered and cooked myself. It’s almost always in the thigh.

    I’m no chicken anatomy expert, but I’ve eaten my share of variety meats and I don’t think it’s small intestine. Intestines are muscle tissue and that mystery part is too soft and textureless to be muscle. It seems like a bundle of blood vessels or nerves or something.

  60. sassmenagerie says:

    He should be grateful. The brain is probably the only part of the chicken that hasn’t been smeared for months with the feces of its owner’s compatriots.

  61. superbmtsub says:

    I stopped eating at KFC’s after reading about the way they make their chicken on this site.

  62. Yeah, that’s pretty disgusting! I gagged when I saw it.

  63. “Look on the bright side; at least now we know KFC uses real chicken.”

    Good point, but back on topic… That shit is just disgusting… Popeye’s it is!

  64. TVarmy says:

    My insula must be broke. I’d say I have a somewhat addictive personality, and I don’t get grossed out that often.

    I love to eat “natural casing” hot dogs and sausages (intestines) and I’ve eaten pig’s intestine straight. But I feel like puking now

  65. Bay State Darren says:

    They should market it towards chicken zombies. [Stupid comment? Yes, I know. But my mind kept replaying Living Dead soundbites of “Braaainnnss!” and wouldn’t shut up until I posted this.]

  66. Agent Cow3.14 says:

    Unless they gave him part of the head, I doubt that’s brain. Probably fried up the intestines of a chicken that just ate it’s last meal.

  67. SJActress says:

    While I can say that I don’t think eating brains is gross, but popping open THE CHICKEN THIGH that I ordered and finding BRAINS INSTEAD is just sick (even if it isn’t brains–it ain’t chicken thigh).

  68. miborovsky says:

    The chicken sure looks bad but that doesn’t look like brains to me.

  69. DocRaf says:


    Well, at least it IS chicken. It could have been ethylene glycol from China. Or the straps from a Walmart flip-flop that would give you a “chemical burn”

  70. Ryuuie says:

    AUGH! Why did we need to see it SO enlarged? :(

    I too think it’s just small intestine…but what part of the chicken was he eating?

  71. DocRaf says:

    Wait a sec, that’s the chicken thigh (not to be confused with the drumstick) and the green part is the bone. Hmmm, I’ve run across this a lot when I eat that part.

    Which is why I’m a breast man.

  72. Pipes says:

    Just another reason to not eat at KFC…a coworker found maggots in her chicken once. Inside her chicken. She ripped off the skin and there they were.

    And nothing freaks me out more than maggots. I just can’t eat the stuff now. Thanks for the reminder!

  73. xstephx says:

    If you don’t want to eat brains or whatever part of dead animals you find disgusting, just don’t eat dedad animals. It shouldn’t be too difficult.

  74. DTWD says:

    @Pipes: Pics or it didn’t happen. Also, where was this?

  75. night_sky says:

    Vegetarianism, here I come! Oh wait, I’m already vegetarian. Nevermind. :P Seriously though, I agree with what some people are saying, atleast it’s part of the animal itself and not some other unrelated animal/human part. It looks gross, but atleast you know it’s real chicken. If you want safely prepared meat, prepare your own, but don’t expect a fast food company (which shouldn’t be known for quality food) to provide the same.

  76. middy says:

    Man, I’m hungry now.

  77. The Bigger Unit says:

    I always love the predictable responses of the holier-than-thous who say “Bah, no biggie”. Sure, they are buying dead animal, but you buy it with the reasonable expectation that you’re not going to get a round of intestines and green glop/chicken shit served to you. No one here would happily scarf it down and not say anything or mind. Get off your high horses.

  78. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Hasn’t anyone ever seen a raw chicken wing before? That’s all that looks like.

    I have to say – Consumerist, you’re definitely help me curb my fast food habits, one chain at a time!

  79. Candyman says:

    Hnh. No biggie. I love organ meats, myself. Barbequed chicken intestins go for a quarter a stick in Thailand, and make great munching between bars! But I prefer the hearts myself! :-)

    @ amiga_500
    Thanks, dude! That’s my favorite part of the thigh! I always thought it was a little bit of the liver! Now, where can I get a bucket of chicken kidneys? :-)

  80. fatal616 says:

    Thank God I’m a veg. I hope the rest of you catch Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease, cancer, and all that other pretty stuff that you get when you eat death. ;]

  81. bluesunburn says:


    You get CJD from eating brains. Severely undercooked brains that are infected with a specific prion, to be precise.
    Infection rates are insanely rare (according to Wikipedia, the infection rate rate is somewhere around one case per million people per year), but it sounds sexy for news people to say “Mad Cow!” at the tops of their lungs and incite panic.

    If we weren’t meant to eat meat, we wouldn’t have canines or incisors. :-)

  82. nidolke says:


  83. jigiwiffit says:

    In response to narcolepticdoc, who makes the claim that this is “likely visceral organ meat” i’m sure most readers will be infinitely relieved when they realize they’re eating a colon or a liver as opposed to the brain. Inject sanity? Perhaps standards is a better goal.

  84. coconino says:

    Chicken brain is white in color and it is not attached to the thigh.

  85. Mom2Talavera says:


    I would also like to add The “T” in a T-bone steak is a vertebra from the animal’s spinal column and as such main contain a section of the actual spinal cord. Other potentially contaminated cuts include porterhouse,standing rib roast,prime rib with bone,bone in rib steak and chuck blade roast with loin. These cuts may include spinal cord tissue and or so called dorsal root ganglia,swelling of the nerve roots coming into the meat from the spinal cord which has been proven to be infectious.

    Spinal cord contamination is probably most abundant in ground beef products:hot dogs, hamburgers, meat based pizza toppings and taco fillings.

  86. Phyltre says:

    @Mom2Talavera: And this is what makes those products most delicious among the foods of Man.

  87. Ryuuie says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: That is in no way a raw chicken wing….seriously.

    I handled raw chicken wings yesterday for dinner..that isn’t raw chicken wing. That’s something entirely different.

  88. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Geez, enough with all the “meat comes from animals, if you cant look at it dont eat it” comments.
    Food turns into crap, so should we handle and view our own feces? Maybe we should tell people “if you cant look at and handle your own poo, you shouldnt be eating food!”

    If a person pays for a bucket of deep fried chicken muscles, they should not have to hope that the bucket doesnt contain some other part of the animal.

    Next time you get a salad, should you have to worry that there are poison ivy leaves in it? Thats a leaf too, right? If you cant deal with eating all kinds of leaves, you shouldnt eat any at all.

    (by some peoples logic at least)

  89. maciejb says:

    I’m not exactly a fan of KFC, so I hate to say it, but I don’t think this reflects on KFC in any way.. their suppliers are the same people that make the same chicken you eat anywhere else. Odds are some one on the evisceration line didn’t quite get all the guts out. Not a good thing, but it’s a symptom of eating chicken, not a symptom of eating KFC.

    And no, it couldn’t be the brains. Chicken heads come off very early in the slaughter process, are not split open, and even if by Act of God a head split open and the brain found its way to the thigh, there is not a chance it would stay there through the rinsing, chilling and 9pc cutting.

  90. thinker017 says:

    I just ate KFC tonight and found the same organ in my food. I actually think it is a lung. You can notice the bronchial tubes leading to the organ and some of the ribs surrounding the lung.

  91. Josh Foit says:

    lol dude thats not brains of a chicken, I’m a cook at Kfc and I have been for abuot 2 years now. It looks like to me that its a thigh piece of meat. When cooking thighs you have to break the hip bone outta place. The raw piece of meat that you see looks like skin that didnt get cooked all the way. this happens alot in pressure cookers that we use in Kfc for orignal chicken. If anyone who worked at a Kfc currently or ever has, they would say the same thing. It just looks like its under cooked meat. Getting chicken that is under cooked is very comman at Kfc because of the time it takes to drop chicken in the fryers and its demand by customers.

  92. Tan Xiao Hui says:

    Thanks for the news.
    I will take this photo on my mobile.
    So that I wont eat fastfood again.
    Help me to lose weight
    Hahahahahas :)

  93. bredwine says:

    I just now found what I know without a shadow of a doubt to be a chicken brain in my 10 year old son’s KFC meal. I have not eaten there in ages, but my kids got a craving for fried chicken, so we ordered a 7pc. meal. In the middle of eating it, my son jumped up from the table, freaking out about something being in his chicken. Upon looking closely at what he was pointing at, I couldn’t believe it – it was most definately a brain. It really doesn’t look like the picture submitted here – what I’m looking at has the tell tale signs of a brain – about the size of a pecan – grayish in color, and with the zig-zag lines of a brain – it also has some sort of stem coming out of the bottom of it. I tried taking a picture, but my camera wouldn’t get a good close-up shot. I’ll try uploading the picture I have – it’s hard to tell from the picture, but there is no doubt that it is a brain. I’m so grossed out. I will never eat at KFC again and I’m regretting that we ever did in the first place. I want my money back, to say the least. Ugh.