How to Shuck an Oyster

Learn how to shuck oysters in this Howcast food video with Chef Brendan McDermott.


What we're going to do today is shuck oysters. Shucking oysters is actually a really easy process but you have to be careful because you can really get hurt doing this if you do it incorrectly. What you really need is you're going to need an oyster knife, or a shucking knife. They're pretty dull, pretty straightforward, and the fact that they are so dull and kind of thick is kind of what makes them dangerous, because you're not really going to get a really nice sharp edge in there. You need something that's going to be able to pop it open, but because you're using force, if your hand slips you can really get yourself badly. What I like to do is I like to make sure I've a kitchen rag or, you know, a basic kitchen rag or a good face cloth folded over a few times, at least four times, so that you can really have a nice safety net.

All we're going to do is we're going to take the oyster and put it down there and then literally fold it over to really make sure my hand is safe. The number one rule with any knife is always think about where it could go if it slips, so I'm not going to try and jab upward or go into my hand. I'm actually going to try and go down as much as I can so if it slips, it just goes to the table or even below my hand. All I'm going to try and do is brace myself a little bit and get a little bit of stability.

Take the oyster knife, and what we're going to do is go in down to where kind of the spine is, or the hinge I should say, right down here at the end. If you try and come in up by the mouth, where it opens up, you're going to fight it, you're going to crack it, you're going to end up - it's not really going to work very well for you. So we want to come up from the back and really come in right where it, you can see it actually fits in there nicely, right? Now what I can do is I can cover that up, take my shucking knife, get in there, and then just whittle a little bit until it pops. And it should pop right open.

Once you've got that cleared, once you've got that open, just to make sure you get any sand or dirt off, you can clean off the knife, and then go in and pop that up, come up underneath. And underneath, right in here in the back, there's actually a little bit of a muscle. So what we want to do is take the knife and just kind of scrape that out to release the whole entire thing. And now you can just shoot it.

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