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Jun 20, 2011 08:22 PM

Chicken Thigh Gizzard?

I was wondering what organ/part of the chicken the gizzard-like thing is on the underside of the thigh? It rest in a notch protected by bone and is my favorite part. any ideas?

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  1. You're not alone:

    I love the stuff too and have been wondering the same for years. :)

    1. They're often called the "oysters," and they're my favorite part of a chicken. I always order thighs, just hoping for those perfect dark little morsels, and if I'm preparing a whole chicken, they never even make it to the serving platter.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

        I don't think tws is referring to the oysters, which are the somewhat oyster shaped pieces of meat embedded in that concave section of bone. I think it's about the little liver tasting things under the thigh. (?)

        1. re: inaplasticcup

          Not the oysters. The liver thing under the thigh, yes.

          1. re: theworkingstiff

            I'm sure that's the part I like, but I've always (mistakenly) called it the oysters. Definitely a oval-shaped, dark, livery piece of delicious meat.

            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

              This YouTube video shows a chef deboning a chicken leg. While there is no mention of the organ meat mentioned here, it does show the oyster very well. The chef points it out at about the 15 second mark.


              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                Cutting up a chicken in the manner shown in the video does not result in the topic of this thread (the liver-like stuff) being a part of the thigh. When commercial poultry operations cut up chicken, the backbone is often included in the hindquarter, that is, the leg with the thigh still attached.

                1. re: John E.

                  Right. I was simply clarifying that the piece described truly is not the oyster, and showing what the oyster actually is.

                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                    Oh, ok you're right. We also know it's not the kidneys too. I still think it's just blood-filled tissue of some sort.

      2. If they're located inside the body cavity (one on each side of the spine), probably kidneys -- soft texture similar to liver?

        9 Replies
        1. re: Stephanie Wong

          The 'oysters' in chickens are not organ meat. They are round-shaped muscles located near where the chicken's leg is attached to the body. Apparently, the oysters are also not the part to which the OP is referring.

          1. re: John E.

            I know -- that's why I specified within the body cavity. Was wondering if OP's "on the underside of the thigh" was external (as in "oyster") or internal (as in organ meat). Sorry if I wasn't clear.

            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              I Replied to your post by mistake, sorry.

          2. re: Stephanie Wong

            It would appear from JJournale's response on this thread


            that it is indeed the kidneys, and Stephanie Wong takes Chicken Anatomy for $1000, Alex.

            1. re: inaplasticcup

              Actually, the kidneys are shaped like kidney beans (thus the name) and are about the same size as the large kidney beans. They are removed from the chicken during processing and are not returned like the gizzard, heart, and liver. The cooked stuff the OP first posted about is not an organ. When I run across it when cleaning raw chicken, I usually take my thumb and run it along the bone and remove it. What we need on this thread to make sure everyone is referring to the same stuff are photos.

              1. re: John E.

                Then is it the ilium as another person suggested? I really want to get to the bottom of this. :)

                1. re: inaplasticcup

                  I looked at the diagram in the provided link and understood the ilium to be a bone that it part of the pelvis. I'm not really fond of chicken liver, so I remove this 'stuff' when cleaning the chicken. I am positive it is not the kidneys because it is the wrong shape. I think it is just internal tissue with a lot of blood vessels running through it. Maybe it is for increased blood-flow to enable the chicken to run around after it has been decapitated.

                  1. re: John E.

                    " enable the chicken to run around after it's been decapitated."

                    That's very funny. I needed that laugh today. Thanks, John. :)

                2. re: John E.

                  I've had to remove the kidneys from chickens for years; they are not removed during processing. I learned about them from Barbara Tropp, until she wrote a book containing the instructions for removing them I had no idea that they were there.

                  It's a bit fiddly, but well worth the few minutes that it takes to get them out. I do it under running water, you pretty much have to get in there with your fingers to dig them out. Ever roasted a chicken with stuffing, and had the stuffing taste a bit horrid? It's the kidneys that it's nestling up against. Ick.

            2. The kidneys. The best thing to do is to scoop them out with a paper towel before cooking (something older butchers used to do, but now with industrial processing is often omitted or badly done) and rinse off. The kidneys are relatively bitter and unless you like that are best removed to avoid tainting one's eating.

              Much nastier than the kidneys, though, is the gallbladder, which one sometimes finds attached to chicken livers (or sometimes one finds the livers got a nasty splash of bile when the gallbladder was removed).

              1. This has been addressed before. In addition to some threads mentioned above, here is another from 2007, which also doesn't appear in the list below, at least not yet.


                All of the various threads on this topic have folks who say it is the oyster, but that's not correct. Apparently kidney is the winner.

                For me, I love them both.

                1 Reply
                1. re: johnb

                  I'm with you in loving the kidneys -- if well rinsed and then well-seasoned. In fact, my fav piece of fried chicken is the back assuming the oysters were left intact.