When you think of an oyster, immediate characteristics come to mind. The texture, flavor, and physical traits are all pretty well-known at this point. That doesn’t mean we have oysters all figured out! In poultry, there exists the chicken oyster, and Oola’s going to break down all the vital info regarding them… including what the heck they even are.
What Are Chicken Oysters?
Unlike your classic oyster, the chicken oyster doesn’t come in a shell. Instead, it refers to pieces of dark meat at the back of a chicken’s thigh, near the backbone. They’ll be easy to spot, though, since they share a similar shape to their regular oyster cousins.
What Do They Taste Like?
Roasting an entire chicken often means two things: a delicious dinner and moist meat. When birds are cooking, the juices and moisture are pulled to the center of the chicken. What this means is that not only does the chicken oyster roast in juices and fat, it’s also protected from scorching temperatures because it hides inside the body.
All these components combined means the chicken oyster is flavourful, savory, tender, and arguably the best part of the bird. They’re even referred to as “The Chef’s Reward.”
How Do I Remove Them?
You should be able to locate two oysters in every chicken, but removing them can be tricky. Before you get going, though, you’ll want to make sure your blade is dry before cutting. Removing the chicken oyster takes precision and you won’t accomplish that with a wet blade.
Chicken oysters are located between the thigh and the pelvis in a small indentation. To find it, follow these simple steps:
- When your chicken is fully cooked, turn it onto its breasts.
- Let the chicken cool so you can easily slice through it with your blade. A carving knife works best in this situation.
- Hold the thigh away from the breast and use your carving knife to slice down into the chicken. Continue cutting until the thigh is removed from the bird.
- Peel the skin away and the chicken oyster will be located at the back of the thigh.
- You can easily remove it by gently sliding your knife under the oysters and popping them out from the indent in the thigh.
It may seem daunting to follow written instructions, so you can always visit YouTube for a tutorial. Additionally, Gordon Ramsay has a tutorial teaching home cooks how to remove chicken oysters from a raw bird.
How Do I Prepare Them?
Whether you’re preparing them on their own or digging them out of a whole chicken, you should keep some rules in mind. Some essentials guidelines when making your chicken oysters are as follows:
- Use a sharp knife when dealing with chicken, especially when it’s raw.
- Don’t ever undercook your chicken. It doesn’t matter what part you’re dealing with, undercooked chicken can lead to salmonella and food poisoning.
- Avoid freezer burn by sealing your leftover chicken and oysters in a freezer-safe bag. This prevents freezer burn and frosting.
Chicken Oyster Recipes
Pan Fried Oysters
Deep fry your chicken oysters with a recipe that calls for breaded chicken bits and dip. Whatever flavor you think works best with your chicken is what you can use for a dip (think BBQ sauce or ketchup). Alternatively, you can let the oysters speak for themselves since they hold plenty of flavor on their own.
Roasted Chicken Oysters
You already roast an entire bird, so why not roast the very best part? This recipe allows you to mix roasted oysters with smoked cod and egg yolks. It won’t take you much time to put together and it’ll be a great side dish before your main course.
Fried Oysters With Spicy Mayonnaise
Feast your eyes on a recipe that lets you make your own spicy mayo and chicken oysters in under 40 minutes. Fry your oysters and mix them in a blend of Tabasco, mayonnaise, salt, lemon, and paprika. You can serve them with fries, coleslaw, or a salad.
Tempura Chicken Oysters
You no longer need to race to your go-to sushi spot for some tasty tempura. This quick recipe turns your average chicken oyster into a side dish perfect for popping one or two at a time. The bread mix consists of salt and pepper, flour, and olive oil.
The chicken oyster is arguably the best part of dinner. But since they’re so easy to miss, they’re often chucked away with chicken carcasses. Look for these two flavourful bites the next time you’re cooking and you’ll never discard them again.