Updated: Mar 10, 2021
How many oysters will you be able to shuck after reading this article?
Shucking fresh oysters is the delicate process of entering the shell and removing the meat without losing the oyster's nectar, the delectable juice inside. Breaking into the tough shell to get to the succulent parts requires a firm hand and the right tools. Learn how to choose oysters for shucking, the proper technique for shucking them, and how to slurp them when they're free from their shells.
1. Understand oyster anatomy. Before you start shucking, take a close look at an oyster so that you know the right way to handle it while shucking.
The hinge is the muscle that connects the top and bottom shells at the pointy end of the oyster. Opposite from the hinge is the rounded front of the oyster.
The top of the oyster is the flatter shell. The bottom shell is cup-shaped.
2. Put on the gloves. Oyster shells are sharp, and you'll definitely cut yourself if you aren't wearing a pair of tough rubber or canvas gloves when you're shucking them. Don't forget this simple safety measure.
As you handle each one, make sure the oysters are alive and fresh.
3. Grasp an oyster in one hand, cup-side down. The curved side of the oyster should be against the palm of your hand. The point, or hinge, should be facing toward you.
4. Insert the oyster knife into the hinge and run the blade along the top of the shell.
Continue using a twisting motion to separate the top and bottom shells.
The shell will be very tightly closed, so be careful not to let the knife slip as you do this.
Do your best not to break the shell into pieces. A few stray bits may get inside, but the shell should stay mostly intact.
Don't tip the shell from side to side or turn it over, or the delicious juices inside will pour out.
5. Open the oyster. When the top and bottom shells are separated, open the oyster, taking care to hold it level. Run the knife along the top shell to separate any remaining meat.
Check the oyster for shells or grit.
Now, carefully separate the oyster meat from the bottom shell and the oyster is ready for serving.
6. Squirt some sauce onto the fresh oyster. Use hot sauce, vinegar sauce, or lemon juice and enjoy.