How to Shuck an Oyster

No matter the oyster, the technique is always the same


To open an oyster you will need a few things. First, grab two clean towels and fold one of them over a few times. This will keep your oyster from getting away from you and most importantly it will protect your hand. Second, you will need an oyster knife. Oyster knives come in all shapes and sizes as do oysters.

The size of your oysters will determine how long or short your knife blade needs to be. A high-quality blade will be made out of stainless steel and be embedded in a wooden handle. This design ensures for good leverage when the time comes. The oyster knife is made so that one edge is sharp for cutting through the abductor muscle (that is the part of the oyster that keeps itself together) and the other side will be blunt for scraping the delicate flesh.

Once you have decided on the proper knife to use, find a flat surface and lay down one of your towels. This will keep the oyster stationary to avoid any accidents. Next, cover the broader side of the oyster with your folded towel. Place your hand on top of the towel to secure it and insert your blade at the back of the oyster, which is called the hinge. Use a gentle rocking motion to get your blade into the hinge. With time and patience your oyster should pop open with ease. After removing the top part of the shell, next run the blade of your oyster knife along the shell (underneath the oyster) to sever the abductor muscle. (Make sure to keep your oyster flat, as you do not want to lose any of the delicious liquid.)

Serve and enjoy.

Click here to see the Salmon and Oyster Tartar recipe.

Click here to see Jeff Tunk's Charbroiled Oysters recipe.


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