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How to Shuck Oysters

Freshly Shucked Oyster on Wooden Surface with Oyster Knife

If you are wondering how to shuck oysters, don't worry! We got you covered. Just follow these simple steps to safely shuck fresh oysters.

Serve raw oysters on the half shell on a bed of crushed ice or rock salt, with lemon wedges, mignonette sauce or hot sauce.

TIP: To keep oysters alive until you are ready to shuck and enjoy them, they should be stored in an open container in the refrigerator covered with a damp towel to maintain humidity.

How to Shuck Oysters at Home

Before we get started shucking oysters, make sure your work surface is sturdy. We recommend using a cutting board on a counter or table. Make sure you have a towel so you can firmly grab a hold of the oysters. Use an oyster knife for best results.


Oyster on Wooden Surface with Towel and Oyster Knife
1. Wrap the oyster in a towel and place it securely on a cutting board with the hinge at the end of the oyster facing out. You want to place the tip of the knife on either side of the hinge. Using a good amount of pressure, push the knife into the hinge. Twist the knife from side to side in order to pry the shell open.
Towel over Oyster on Wooden Surface with Oyster Knife in Hand
2. Oyster shells are brittle and splinter easily; if the shell splinters and the knife isn’t angled so that it is pointing down, it is easy to lose control of the knife. Hold the oyster firmly on the cutting board to keep the oyster from sliding.
Towel over Oyster on Wooden Surface with Oyster Knife Inserted into Oyster
3. Once the knife has popped the hinge, pry the lid open wide enough to fit the top of your thumb inside. Insert your thumb into the oyster to hold the lid open. Do not plunge the knife into the oyster once the hinge has popped.
Towel over Oyster on Wooden Surface with Oyster Knife Along Roof of Oyster
4. Slide the tip of the knife inside the oyster. Keep the tip slanted upwards and slide it along the roof of the oyster. The tip should glide along the roof until it reaches the muscle that connects the two shells, then slice through the connective muscle. Cut the muscle from the top of the shell without piercing the oyster itself. Lift off the top shell.
Towel over Oyster on Wooden Surface with Oyster Knife Separating Shells
5. Because the shells are fragile, there are often small fragments that break off in the process of oyster shucking. These little bits of shell can resemble sand, so scrape them away being careful not to pierce the oyster in the process.
Oyster Opened on Wooden Surface Towel and Oyster Knife in Hand
6. Carefully slip the tip of the oyster knife underneath the body of the oyster into the connective muscle where the muscle meets the shell. Slice through it. At this point the oyster has been dislodged from the shell completely and can be served or cooked.
Fresh Shucked Oyster on Wooden Surface with White Oyster Knife
7. If you are planning to serve the oyster on the half shell but accidentally damage the oyster in the process, simply slip the knife underneath and gently turn it over. Save as much of the oyster liquor as you can.

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