Oysters in poultry

There’s a scene in Amelie in which a man who is carving a roasted chicken digs out these “oysters” and eats them. In a recent Emeril Live episode, a guest chef was boning/ carving a chicken & mentioned the “oysters.”

I’ve never heard of oysters in poultry before. Could someone please explain to me what exactly they are, where they’re located & why they’re apparently the best part of the bird? I’m hoping they’re not the same as Mountain Oysters… ‘cause I ain’t eatin’ that stuff!

BTW, I tried to Google this a few different ways & all I came up with was recipes for chicken with oysters and such.

AFAIK, the ‘oyster’ of a chicken is the pad of meat on the underside of the bird, towards the ‘parson’s nose’ end. Many people ignore it, but it’s actually a nice piece of meat, firm and gamey.

m-w.com defines it as “a small mass of muscle contained in a concavity of the pelvic bone on each side of the back of a fowl” so I would assume it’s a giblet or some sort of visceral organ?

No, it’s not any kind of internal organ. It’s just one of two smallish muscles on the lower back.

Ok… I’ll try to locate them the next time I roast a chicken. Do I need to go digging around, or are they something I’ll see and recognize what they are without doubt? I’m assuming they’re dark meat.

No, it’s really easy to find: it’s the pad of flesh on the underside of the chicken, just next to its ass. I’m 99% certain it’s dark meat (haven’t started my Sunday roast yet so can’t fully confirm yet).

It’s dark meat. They are located, side by side, on either side of the bone that runs on the “under” side of a roasted bird. when you are cleaning the last bits of meat off the bones to go into the fridge after eating, they just slide off with a press of the thumb. It’s located where the thighs meet the backbone.

They are VERY VERY VERY good, and should be hidden from any other member of the family.

In my immediate family (and that of the in-laws) it’s a treat that only the person cleaning the carcas gets to have. (unless I find it before it gets cleaned)


They are about the size and shape of an almond (one with the shell still on) - most of the reason that they are so nice is that they are on the underside when the bird is cooked, so they are steeped in the fats and juices which cooking and remain moist and tender. If you roast the chicken upside down (actually, the right way up anatomically speaking - breast downward is what I mean), the whole breast remains moist and tender, although perhaps not the same degree as the ‘oysters’ in a normally-cooked bird.

I think there is some confusion because of the reference to the “underside” of the chicken. They are actually on the chicken’s back, which is the bottom side on a cooked bird.

There are two depressions on the inner side of the pelvic bone that contain the chicken’s kidneys. These are different from what is being talked of here, which are muscle masses on the outer side of the pelvic bone. The kidneys are brownish gray when cooked and have a sort of liver-like taste and a soft consistency.

My mom puts oysters (the meat from actual bivalves) in her turkey stuffing.

Yum! Best part of the bird! Really good in turkeys (and larger).

Generally, I pull the fat off from around the vent and neck openings of the bird, then I loosen the breast skin and put the chopped fat between the skin and the breast. This makes for a self-basting bird. My sister-in-law uses butter, but after I described my method she’s converted to my way of thinking. I also stuff the vent and neck cavities with half an onion (quartered) and a stalk of celery (also quartered). I place the bird on a layer of peeled and sliced potatoes, with onion slices and chunked carrots on top. No matter how many potatoes I put in the roasting pan, there never seems to be enough of them. Between the fat and juices from the bird and the seasonings, those potatoes are absolutely delicious.