In five easy steps, learn how to shuck oysters with raw bar-level expertise
Regardless of type, oysters taste best when you’ve shucked your own. When it comes to opening one, keep a few things in mind. Always use protection: A glove or towel will keep your oyster-holding hand safe from the knife. Muscles attach the animal to both its shells—one is flat and one has a belly, which holds the oyster and its liquor. You’ll need to sever both of these muscles, sometimes a tricky task while simultaneously balancing the bivalve to prevent spilling. And remember, if you aren’t eating oysters immediately after shucking, store them in their juice in a clean bowl and use within 24 hours.
Step 1: Check Oysters
Sift through your oysters and discard of any that smell fishy, sound hollow when tapped with an oyster knife, or are open.
Step 2: Wash Up
Using steel wool, thoroughly scrub oysters on both sides under running water to get rid of any dirt, mud, or sand from under the outer shell.
Step 3: Knife in Hinge
Protecting your hand with a towel or glove, place oyster belly face down and insert flat side of knife into hinge and wiggle as far as it will go.
Step 4: Twist
Twist the knife with force, using leverage to pry the shell open. Wipe the blade clean, then sever the top muscle by sliding the blade against the shell.
Step 5: Sever and Flip
Discard the top shell. Holding oyster parallel to table so the liquor doesn’t spill out, sever muscle from bottom shell. Gently push oyster around or flip it over to ensure it’s free.