Shucking an oyster can seem super intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. With a little practice, pretty much anyone can become a pro oyster shucker. We spoke to some of our favorite professional oyster shuckers and gathered these tips to help get you shucking oysters like a pro.
Before you get started on your shucking journey, it’s important to have the proper tools.
Shucking Knife- having a good shucking knife is the most critical part of shucking oysters like a pro. You need a shucking knife with a strong point and a comfortable handle that allows you to grip the knife without shipping. We love these custom shuckers from Join or Die Knives because they’re durable and fit our hands perfectly.
Shucking Gloves- while not absolutely necessary, shucking gloves can be really helpful for a beginner. First, they’ll protect your hand from an accidental poke if you happen to slip and secondly, they’ll allow you to get a really firm grip on the oyster. Our shucking gloves are palm dipped to help keep your hands dry and slip-free when shucking.
Once you’re all geared up and ready to go, follow these steps to help make shucking oysters a breeze.
Step 1: Start by familiarizing yourself with the oyster to learn when your knife point should go and how to best hold the oyster. We recommend holding the oyster cup down with the hinge point toward you.
Step 2: Wrap the oyster in a towel or rag, or hold it in a gloved hand if you using a shucking glove.
Step 3: Work the point of your shucking knife into the hinge of the oyster slowly using a side to side motion as needed. Once the tip of the knife is about ¼” into the oyster, it should begin to ‘pop’ open.
Step 4: Once the oyster has popped, turn your shucking knife to run parallel to the length of the shell. Run the knife down the rest of the oyster to open the shell and cut the oyster free from it.
Step 5: Once the shell is fully open, use the oyster knife as needed to detach the oyster from the shell. Be careful not to spill any of the tasty liquor!
At this point, you should have successfully shucked your first oyster! It can take time to get it right, but practice makes perfect. If you need some visual help with our step by step guide, check out this video with Tom explaining how he shucks oysters.