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Dec 11, 2003 09:30 AM

Chicken Thigh-Organ

  • m

OK, folks, this poultry-anatomy issue has been bugging me for a VERY long time...WHAT is that tasty organ-meat-like appendage found attached to the underbone area of a chicken thigh called???

I'm betting that Chowhounders are better informed than a Google-search.

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  1. t
    the doll face

    my bubbie always called it the oyster.
    and i always got it since i was the only one that liked the dark meat. she also said that there was only one per chicken.
    though, in thinking about it, since i never make a whole chicken, and certainly not thighs w/bones any more, maybe there are really 2 per chicken and she just ate the other one.

    12 Replies
    1. re: the doll face

      Ahhh, the beloved oyster!...Indeed there are TWO in every chick and turkey I've ever known...bubba was right, in that she hid one in her own cheek!

      BUT, that's not what we're talkin' 'bout here...the oysters are on the outer bone, whereas this gnarly-exotic-tasting-elongated thing is clearly attached to the thigh underside - and is also associated with the kidney. I dunno, could they possibly be the chicken's ovaries?

      1. re: Mike R.
        the doll face

        then what is it called??
        maybe kosher chickens only have one.

        1. re: the doll face

          Geez...I didn't know this would encourage such serious, stimulating discussion...

          My personal poultry preferences, thigh-organs notwithstanding, include necks, butts, the thighs themselves, and the organs - liver, gizzard and heart.
          (Did you know that the KFC on Coney Island Avenue & Kings Highway used to have a "liver & gizzard" plate?)

          Unfortunately, a growing and disturbing trend (especially in the glatt-Kosher ranks) is to exclude the giblets or to package with "certain giblets may be missing" on the label (Empire, Aaron's Rubashkin's, others). Definitely disheartened that our last two Thanksgiving turkeys have come up short as well.

          1. re: Mike R.

            Remember when you could actually get a package of chicken hearts? My gravies and stuffings are not the same with just the gizzards.

            1. re: Karl S.
              the doll face

              Maybe you just live in the wrong area, or shop at too high a quality store.
              When I lived in Indiana for a very short time, I saw hearts at Krogers on a regular basis.
              Here in DC I would think that you could find hearts at Magruders or an ethnic market. They are around since I know they serve them at the Brazilian Bar-b-que place in Rockville.
              Funny thing, my boyfriend who grew up in Indiana, thinks that hearts & gizzard sautéed are delish, which I refuse to touch, but thinks that my broiled livers for chopped liver are disgusting. I guess it all depends on what you are used to.

              1. re: the doll face

                Chicken hearts disappeared from ordinary Boston-area markets several years go. The mechanization process was the cause, that was what I was told.

                1. re: Karl S.

                  Lame excuse...and totally heartless business decision.

                  1. re: Mike R.

                    Maybe they didn't want to stick their necks out...

                    : D

                    1. re: Kirk

                      Sorry, that was offal!

                  2. re: Karl S.

                    Market Basket sells them.

                  3. re: the doll face

                    I grew up in Anaheim, California, right next to Buena Park where Knott's Berry Farm is located. They have the Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant (which uses tons of chickens) and they used to have a retail store that sold chicken parts so we'd go and buy hearts by the pound. Dreged in seasoned flour and deep fried they are delicious. Alas the store is no more but hearts can be special ordered at most any market here in southern California.

            2. re: Mike R.

              Maybe its the 'Love Handles'??

          2. Technically, it's the ilium.

            Check the thread I'm about to add above.

            1. Is it about an inch or so long, and kind of bumpy-looking?
              I think that's the ovary.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Zorra

                Zorra - I'm tending to agree with that, not knowing for sure...but, if so, it only makes sense - it appears to be attached to what looks like a Fallopian Tube! - Mike R.

                  1. re: Zorra

                    Uh, I mean, I guess you're a more adventurous eater than I am. I would ask, what does it taste like, but of course the answer is "chicken"!

                    1. re: Zorra

                      Could this lead to a "chicken & egg" debate?

              2. It seems conclusive that the organ in the hollow of the chicken thigh bone is its kidney.
                Based on anatomy photos and a written description I found on the internet this "organ-meat-like appendage found attached to the underbone area of a chicken thigh" is the chicken's kidney. By the anatomy photos, the ovary is literally bubbles connected together; however the kidney is a solid form. And at the second link below the kidney is described as being under the thigh bone in a chicken. As well the fact that, when opening up the organ, you find a large vein running through the middle.

                I used this link for anatomy photos:

                I used this link for description of kidney (page 8 under 'Urinary System'):

                1 Reply
                1. re: JJournale

                  Wait, the nasty looking purplish things (two, one on each side) that I have been instructed by my mother to pluck out with a thumb when I clean a whole chicken are EDIBLE? Really?

                  I always assumed they were the kidneys, and while I eat whatever it is that is the delicious green thing in lobsters, I would never eat a chicken's kidneys.

                2. IF your chicken is so badly cut that the thighs include part of the pelvis, then those lumpy things in the hollow underside are the kidneys. I am always careful to detach the thigh-bone from its socket on the pelvis, and to treat the back (including said pelvis) as a separate piece, to be cooked and then eaten by whoever gets it first. INCLUDING those kidneys!

                  I never, ever saw a thigh that had any pelvis attached until I was introduced to this weirdness by Colonel Sanders. I still consider it eccentric. And wrong.