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How to Shuck Oysters

Featuring seafood on the menu is a great way to diversify your offerings. Specifically showcasing oysters will elevate the status of your restaurant while providing a fun, interactive dish for your customers. Presenting a plate of beautiful oysters on the half shell creates an instant first impression, and learning how to properly shuck an oyster ensures it’ll be a good impression.

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How to Shuck Oysters Video

Learn how to serve oysters on the half shell by following our step-by-step video on shucking oysters, demonstrated by Chef Larry Williams.

Oyster Shucking Tools

Inserting knife into oyster
  • Oyster shucking knife
  • Oyster shucking glove
  • Two clean towels
  • Bed of ice in a serving dish (if serving oysters on the half shell)

Oyster Shucking Instructions

Shucking oysters easily and quickly is essential to work in any seafood or high-end restaurant that plans to serve oysters on the half shell.

  1. Start by acquiring an oyster shucking knife to do the job easily and seamlessly. An oyster glove can also be used for extra protection. If you do not have an oyster knife to shuck the oyster, you can use a butter knife, paring knife, and even a screwdriver. However, these are not the safest options due to their design.
  2. Make sure your oysters are as fresh as can be. Your guests are eating them raw, so make sure you know how to properly store oysters before serving.
  3. To start, place your oyster cup side down on one half of a clean towel and fold the other half to almost completely cover the oyster, leaving the hinge exposed.
  4. Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster, which is the pointed, V-shaped end of the oyster.
  5. With gentle pressure, wiggle the knife into the shell until it pops open. Wipe your knife off on a clean towel to remove any extra sand or grit.
  6. Place the knife back into the oyster and bring the knife towards yourself, keeping the knife along the top of the shell, unhinging the oyster's shell and separating its adductor muscle, which keeps the oyster shut.
  7. Removing oyster meat with a knife
  8. Once the top shell is completely unhinged, scrape the meat that's attached to the inside of that top shell back into the bottom shell where the rest of the oyster's meat and liquid sits.
  9. Discard the top shell.
  10. In one swooping motion, run your knife along the bottom part of the bottom shell under the oyster's meat to detach it, then flip the oyster’s meat so the smooth part of the meat comes up to the top.
  11. There might be grime or mud on the shell that was stuck in the inner clamp. If you come across this, do not rinse the oyster. Instead, take a clean towel and carefully wipe off any grime or mud.
  12. Place on a bed of ice with other shucked oysters and serve.

Shucking oysters requires practice, but in due time, you’ll be an expert. Learning how to do it quickly and effortlessly will make serving time speedy, which is imperative when serving fresh oysters on a bed of ice to your customers.

Posted in: Food Safety | Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Val Goodrich
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