What Are Chicken Oysters? 2023

Chicken oysters are two small, succulent pieces of meat found on the underside of the chicken. These pieces are continually bathed in roasting juices and protected from harsh heat during roasting, making the meat pieces the juiciest, most tender parts of the whole chicken. There are only two chicken oysters on a single chicken, so they’re highly valued amongst chefs and cooks.

Where Is the Oyster on a Chicken?

The two oysters on a chicken are located in a hollow on either side of the bird’s lower backbone. To find the oysters, lay the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board and lift the bird by the legs. You should notice a bumpy area on either side of the backbone that’s darker than the rest of the chicken. This is the oyster meat.

How to Cut Out a Chicken Oyster

To cut out a chicken oyster from a raw chicken, gather the following tools:

  • A chopping board
  • A long sharp knife
  • A short sharp knife

Instructions:

  1. Lay the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board
  2. Lift the left leg of the chicken and pull it away from the bird, stretching out the skin
  3. Begin to cut off the leg with the long knife angled towards the left. Once the skin is cut and the leg starts to break away from the body, stop cutting
  4. Pull up the leg until it cracks, then use the long knife to cut straight down
  5. Use the short knife to cut the oval-shaped section of meat away. You should be able to see the small oval-shaped oyster
  6. Repeat the process on the other leg to cut out the other oyster

To cut out the oysters from a cooked whole chicken, you will need:

  • A carving fork
  • A long sharp knife
  • A short sharp knife

Instructions:

  1. Roast the chicken breast-side up then leave the chicken to rest for 15 minutes
  2. Push a carving fork into the right thigh to hold the chicken steady, then cut vertically down the body to split the thigh from the rest of the bird
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut the oyster away. The circle of dark meat should be visible at the back of the split-off thigh
  4. Repeat the process on the other side of the chicken to cut out the other oyster

Chicken Oyster Meat Taste & Flavor Profile

 

Chicken oysters are composed of dark, tender meat and have a sweet, juicy, succulent flavor. Many chefs and cooks regard chicken oysters as the best-tasting meat on the whole chicken. Chicken oysters have similar juiciness and tenderness to chicken thighs.

Chicken oysters have a smooth texture due to their exposure to juices and fats during cooking, but they don’t taste fatty.

Cooking Chicken Oysters

Chicken oysters are traditionally prepared and cooked as part of a full-roasted chicken. However, the oysters can be cut from the raw chicken and roasted alone to speed up their cooking time.

Ingredients and foods that go well with chicken oysters are lemons, rosemary, thyme, celeriac, white wine, roasted carrots and potatoes, garlic, and olive oil.

The best ways to cook chicken oysters are to roast, fry, air-fry, or grill them.

Roasting

Tools and Ingredients:

  • An oven, preheated to 425°F
  • 2 medium-sized bowls
  • 2–4 chicken oysters
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • A small roasting dish
  • Seasonings of choice, such as fresh red pepper flakes, lemon, and rosemary

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken oysters in a bowl and season them with salt and pepper
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and the minced garlic
  3. Place the chicken oysters in a small roasting dish and drizzle them with the garlic olive oil
  4. Roast the oysters for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Check that the meat’s skin is crispy and its internal temperature is at least 165°F. If it’s not, return the oysters to the oven for another 5 minutes
  5. Serve the chicken oysters warm with your seasonings and side dishes of choice

Foods that go well with roasted chicken oysters are green beans, roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, and creamed spinach.

Frying

Tools and Ingredients:

  • Large non-stick frying pan
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2–4 chicken oysters
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Seasonings of choice, such as fresh rosemary and thyme

Instructions:

  1. Set the frying pan on medium-high heat and add the olive oil
  2. Place the chicken oyster meat in the pan, cook for 3 minutes, then flip the oysters and cook for another 3 minutes
  3. Drain the excess fat from the pan, then add the butter and seasonings
  4. Cook the chicken oysters for one more minute, then remove from the pan and serve

Foods that go well with fried chicken oysters are steamed carrots, side salad, and garlic dipping sauce.

Air-Frying

Tools and Ingredients:

  • A medium-sized bowl
  • 2–4 chicken oysters
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • An air-fryer, preheated to 400°F
  • Seasonings of choice, such as roasted garlic, rosemary, and thyme

Instructions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the chicken oyster meat with olive oil, and season the meat with salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice
  2. Place the chicken in the air-fryer basket and fry for about 10 minutes. Check that the chicken is crispy and cooked all the way through. If not, return the chicken to the air-fryer for another 5 minutes
  3. Serve the chicken with your choice of toppings and side dishes

Foods that pair well with air-fried chicken oyster meat are roasted veggies and salad.

Grilling

Tools and Ingredients:

  • A small bowl
  • A grill
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Seasonings of choice, such as fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 2–4 chicken oysters

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the liquid ingredients together in a small bowl, then add the chicken oysters and toss to fully coat in the marinade
  2. Place the bowl in the fridge and leave the chicken oysters to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2–4  hours
  3. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat
  4. Remove the chicken oysters from the bowl and place them on the grill. Grill the oysters for 3–5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F
  5. Leave the chicken to cool for five minutes before serving

Grilled chicken oysters pair well with steamed broccoli, potato wedges, and tomato salad.

Chicken Oyster vs. Turkey Oyster

Chicken oysters come from chickens, while turkey oysters come from turkeys. Turkey oysters are bigger and provide more meat. These pieces from a turkey also have a richer, meatier taste than chicken oysters. Both chicken and turkey oysters are sweeter, juicier, and more tender than the other birds.

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