How to shuck
Shucking an oyster is a primal skill, but don’t be intimidated. If it’s your first time shucking, take it slow, wear a pair of gloves, and enjoy the process.
Prep. Put on gloves, grab a tea towel, a bowl for your top shells, and find a flat surface. Hold the oyster with the top valve facing up and scoop pointed down. With your less dominant hand, apply pressure to the top of the flat shell.
Find the hinge of the oyster. It’s that tiny little crevice that often furls into a teardrop. Take your oyster knife and with easy pressure, wiggle the knife’s tip horizontally into the hinge. Pushing it too hard can thrust your knife all the way through the oyster, so take it slow and steady.
You know you’re in when you can life the oyster up with the tip of your knife like a lollipop. Once you’re there, twist the knife like you’re starting a car ignition. You should hear a nice “pop.” Take your time to make a couple twists if you need to.
Now, here’s where the shuck can go awry. Your goal is to ensure the meat’s intact, and the top adductor muscle is still attached at this stage. You’ll want to to slice outwards with your knife horizontally in a swift motion, away from the hinge. This will cut through the adductor and make it easy for you to remove the top shell like a hat.
The bottom adductor is still attached, so take your knife and scoop underneath your oyster in another swift movment. Don’t be afraid to get a little bold and “scrape” against the bottom shell to ensure you’re detaching the adductor without letting the meat drag or tear.
And. . . That’s it! Head to my TASTE Section to learn how to properly slurp an oyster. Practice makes perfect and repetition emboldens your handling. Be THAT friend who handles the seafood shellfish at a dinner party. They’ll never forget it!
The Perfect Shuck
Oysters are a raw food. Consider the knife used to cut quality shashimi. Texture means everything.
A quality oyster shuck is critical to your experience. The meat should look as if you’ve lifted the top valve off and the oyster appears “untouched.” It’s not easy, but it’s the ultimate goal and worth the practice.