Luscious picture courtesy of ROADFOOD and Shealy's BBQ
How many folks these days do you think even KNOW what these are? Especially by that old-timey name they’ve been called all my life---the coveted piece all my childhood, and the second-place honor of being granted a chance at the wish with someone else, as you grasped one side of that slick thin "V", closed your eyes, and wrestled that limber talisman for the granting.
We simply assumed that the magical properties rendered any residual spit harmless, and grabbed hold of the proffered chance with thumb and two fingers. A tiny “crack,” a little wrestle-pull of the slick twig, and there was YOUR half, with the extra crook on YOUR SIDE showing your luck.
A Pulley Bone is sort of a by-gone thought nowadays, unless you cut up a whole chicken the “real” way---the fourteen-piece way, starting with severing thighs from body, then drumsticks from thighs. That tricky little operation out of the way, the wings removed, and you sliced up and down each side, halving the football into back and front.
With the breast part uppermost, the knife was brought down about a third of the way from the top, where you judged the little roundy-flat tip of the pulley bone to be. A soft severing upward through the softness, and there it was in your hand---a smooth lump like plump little pink harem-pants, with a small divining-rod of bone running through.
Only then did you place the cleaver straight up and down on the breastbone, putting a good weight on the whole operation, as the give of cartilage and crack of bone made two neat halves of the breast. Little collops from each half were nice, as well, but you could just cook each half as is.
The back took similar cleaver-weight and cracking crosswise, unless you were one of those rough-and-ready cooks with strong enough hands to break it manually, separating the lower, oyster-bearing half from the rib cage with one firm hold-and-snap.
There you had it---fourteen pieces: two drumsticks, two thighs (second joints, I learned from relatives who visited from “off”), two breast halves, two wings, two back halves, neck, liver, gizzard, and PULLEY BONE.
I hope you get to enjoy one soon. And make a wish.