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The Knack - How to shuck an Oyster
Illustrations by Joe McKendry

Things you'll need

01. Oyster knife
02. clean kitchen towel
03. rubber gloves
04. CRUSHED ice
05. a serving tray
Things you'll need

First off, purchasing oysters of the highest quality from a reputable source is the most important task when learning to shuck. Oysters should be bought from your local seafood market, shellfish farm or grocery store. The quality of the oysters is directly related to the length of time they have been out of the water. You should ask the person selling them to you to show you the shellfish tag, which has valuable information about where, when and by whom the oysters were harvested. Oysters should be from water that is approved by your department of health, and should have been harvested as recently as possible.

AND HERE's the knack

Step 01

Step 01
First, rinse your oysters in cold running water and scrub them if they are really dirty. If you are not shucking them immediately, store them in the refrigerator in a perforated container with a wet towel and ice covering them.
Step 02

Step 02
Using either a rubber glove or a clean kitchen towel to protect your hand from the shell and the knife, hold the oyster cup side down in your palm with the hinge towards you and the knife in your dominant hand.
Step 03

Step 03
Insert the knife into the hinge of the oyster. Once the tip is inserted about a quarter of an inch, twist the knife to pop the seal. Follow the contour of the top shell with the knife, cut through the adductor muscle and remove the top shell.
Step 04

Step 04
To cut the adductor muscle on the bottom of the shell, guide the knife under the oyster from the top and slice the muscle, keeping the oyster intact and preserving as much of the oyster liquor as possible. Serve on ice.
Rushing it
Not taking the time to clean out any shell fragments left in the oyster can leave your guests spitting.
Losing hope
You won't be an expert shucker at first, but the more you shuck the easier it will get.
Making a
mush of it
It is very important to keep the oyster meat fully intact so it doesn't appear to be fresh from the blender.
Letting go
A firm grip on oyster and knife will keep you out of the Emergency Room.
Some common mistakes
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