How to Shuck an Oyster

How to Shuck an Oyster

Matt Caudle

Choosing the right knife:

Depending on shucking style and which variety of oyster is being opened, some knives are more suitable than others. A pointy blade will give maximum penetration. A broad blade will give maximum leverage. A large handle will give maximum torque.

Knives are also made from different materials. Blades come in carbon or stainless steel, and handles are made from wood or plastic depending on the manufacturer. The salt water from oysters will rust a carbon steel knife, so they require the most care. Stainless steel requires the least amount of care but just like a chef’s knife, regular servicing is required.

Oyster anatomy:

The most important thing to know before opening oysters is the basic anatomy. The shell consists of two halves called valves: the top is called the lid, the bottom is the cup, the front is the spoon, and the back is the hinge. Inside the oyster the key points are the Adductor Muscle, Gills, Stomach and Mantle.

How to shuck an oyster:

Using a knife, gently penetrate the hinge and with a twisting action, “pop” the two shells apart. Sometimes it is necessary to enter the oyster from the side as opposed to the hinge. A cloth over your hand may reduce chance of injury, and aid in holding the oyster. Keeping the knife tight to the top shell, slide in and sever the adductor from the Lid.

At this point the most common mistake is to damage the stomach or tear off the Lid before completely severing the muscle, which will result in tearing the Mantle.

Turn the oyster 180 degrees, and using the sharpened edge of the blade, sever the Adductor from the Cup. Make sure to completely sever the muscle from the shell. Shucking too fast will result in a messy plate and increase chance of injury.

Serve oysters on ice with tabasco sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon, or your favourite dressing. Oysters are best eaten straight from the shell! You want to eat all the meat and the liquor that comes with it to truly get the best flavours.

Are you ready to try your hand at shucking an oyster? Order oysters now!