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how to shuck an oyster

Once you eat a freshly shucked oyster complete with its little pool of delicious sea-juice, you can never go back to those disgusting, stultified pre-opened smears of sludge in trays from the fish shop.

Things you will need:

1 oyster, 1 oyster knife, 1 tea towel, 1 board / bench

oyster11. Buy a lovely fresh, unopened oyster – we like Sydney rocks the best. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

oyster212. Hold the oyster firmly on a board, covered by a tea towel to protect your hand, with the hinge end of the shell protruding. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

oyster33. Take the oyster knife (at a pinch, a screwdriver would do – as practised by my friend Jane’s farmer dad – but can be dangerous!) and dig slowly and firmly into the hinge with a burrowing motion. Don’t use too much force or you’ll slip and cut yourself (hence tea towel. Best to actually wrap your hand in it to be safe until you get better at shucking).

4. Eventually you will feel the knife penetrate the shell; give it a twist and you’ll hear the little pop as it opens. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

oyster4

5. Slide the knife along beneath the top shell, and once the lid is off, if you can be bothered, slide the knife beneath the oyster to cut the adductor muscle which attaches the critter to the shell. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

oyster56. Flick out any bits of shell, and put the oyster on a bed of ice for at least 5 or 10 minutes – they have to be served chilled! Don’t lose any of the sea-water – it’s part of the joy… Serve with a squeeze of lemon and sourdough bread. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Photos by me. Shucking by Sean (just in case you thought those mitts were mine …)

7 comments

  1. […] The Roo Brothers gave away jars of chilli jam and some pretty good oyster knives – but I do believe our shucking instructions are better than theirs) I was very excited to hear that the Stuff White People Like man himself, […]


  2. […] freshly shucked of course and served on, but properly freed from, the shell, with some little lemony/vinaigrette […]


  3. […] Oysters – of course! Buy them unopened a few days before Christmas and keep in a bucket with a wet towel over them in a cool place – they keep for a couple of weeks. […]


  4. […] open systems using sticks, ropes, racks and cages but natural feeding. The latter is used for oysters (hooray!), mussels and other filter-feeder […]


  5. Another trick is to remove the oysters from the fridge for about 1/2 an hour before shucking. They open up a tiny bit making them easier to shuck without loosing any fingers!


  6. Thanks for the lesson, I am now an expert. We had coffin bay oysters, lemon, sourdough and Chardonnay (you forgot this vital ingredient)


  7. […] Shucking oysters can be intimidating, but in fact they’re simple to open. There is a very clear tutorial here. […]



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