Whenever I read instructions on how to cut up a chicken, the writer seems to invariably talk about the 'oysters'. What are they and how do I find them?--Sandy
They oysters are small tender pieces of dark meat situated just forward (toward the front of the chicken) of where the thighs meet the backbone. Because they do very little work, they are quite tender. In fact, some restaurants collect the oysters as they break down chickens and serve them as a specialty dish. There are two per chicken.
It is easy to find the oysters if you have a leftover carcass you can look at as a reference. Just ahead of the hip joint, where the thigh connects to the pelvis is a small scoped out area called the ilium. That is where the oyster is found. The oyster is about the size of the last joint of your thumb, and rests in this indentation.
To find the oysters, place the chicken breast down on your cutting board. Pull the thigh slightly back, away from the wing. The skin in front of the thigh is loose and will pull away from the body. Using your chef's knife, cut through the skin in front of the thigh, just where it attaches back to the body. Now if you were to feel under the skin just ahead of the joint and you would find the oyster. It can be removed along with the thigh, or you can go back to get it after you are finished breaking down the rest of the bird if you want it separate.
If you are taking it out with the thigh, run your knife under the oyster and then continue back along the pelvic bone to sever the joint.
The easiest way to remove the oyster if you left it until later is to make a small cut at the front end of the oyster and then slide your thumb underneath, using your thumbnail to free and lift out the piece of meat.