Posted on July 17, 2019

The Fine Art of Shucking: How to Properly Open an Oyster

Shucking an oyster is an art form. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can not only leave with an unopened oyster but could do some damage to your hand! That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process in case you’re ever facing the challenge of opening an oyster.

Step One – Get Your Gear Together

First, you need to have your tools at the ready – a towel or glove to protect your hand and your knife to do the actual shucking. And not just any knife! It needs to be an oyster knife – a small, very sharp blade that can easily be inserted into the closed shell to help pry it apart. The rounded handle gives you the leverage you need to pop open the oyster.

Oyster knives are specially made for shucking. Using any other kind of knife, such as a butter knife, steak knife, or even a screwdriver, won’t work.

Step Two – Know Your Oyster

Now it’s time to face your oyster. Take a minute to examine it and know where you should insert the knife. First, know which shell is the bottom one and which is the top one — the top shell is usually flat whereas the button is cupped. So before shucking, make sure the bottom is in the downward direction to preserve the liquid inside. That’s the good stuff!

You will want to stick your blade in the hinge of the oyster — the spot where the two shells are joined together. You can also try to attack it from the side, which can be a more accessible location on some types of oysters.

Step Three – Just Wiggle It!

Once your knife has found the sweet spot, it shouldn’t take that much force to open it. You’re not dealing with a crab or lobster, after all! You’re going to want to wiggle the knife into the hinge until the knife is secure. You should still be able to lift the blade without the oyster moving.

Once the knife is in position, twist it like you’re turning a key. And then pop! The shells break apart. After the pop, slowly pry open the oyster. Don’t go too quickly or you might break your knife! Just run the knife around the side of the oyster, and it will open.

Step Four – Clean It

Now, you don’t want to eat the oyster there and then. It needs some cleaning first! Chances are the meat is covered with fragments of the top shell as well as some dirt or grit. So, scrape the knife around the top of the muscle to make sure all the debris has been removed.

You’re going to want to cut the bottom adductor muscle to get the oyster away from the shell. Once it’s cut, it’s time for the slurp!

Step Five – Repeat!

The only way to get your shucking ability right is to repeat! Remember, practice makes perfect.

If you love oysters and don’t want to go through the trouble of shucking, fortunately, Kevin’s has you covered. Each Tuesday we have Buck a Shuck Night all evening long! Each oyster is only $1, and because we’re so nice, we’ll even shuck them for you!

To reserve your table for Buck a Shuck Night, make a reservation online or give Kevin’s a call at (570) 285-3071.