How to Shuck an Oyster and Other Truths

how to shuck an oyster

Knowing how to shuck an oyster with speed and agility is as much an art form as it is a skill. Learning how, at the very least, takes considerable practice. Know-how requires a few steps, a little determination, and a bit of patience to gain access to the fresh, briny delecacies within. If you find yourself craving oysters after reading this, you’re in luck – Klenda Seafood ships fresh Maine shellfish anywhere in the U.S.


To learn how to properly shuck an oyster, keep reading our guide below.

Reasons to Love Oysters

Not only do oysters taste good, they are good for you. Loaded with vitamins and nutrients, oysters are filled with vitamin B12, vitamin A and C, and good fats, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and protein. Even better news, some of the best tasting oysters in the world are found off the coast of Maine. Locally sourced, responsibly harvested Maine oysters ensure sustainability, too.

A variety of the Atlantic Oyster, Maine oysters are found along its jagged coastline. With its distinct characteristics and taste, these oysters are smaller, but packed with meat, exceptionally flavorful, smack of brine, and offer a long-lasting pleasant, herbal aftertaste. The key to properly shucking one is to free the meat (the oyster’s muscle) from its shell, but spilling the least amount possible of the briny liquid found inside the shell. That liquid, the oyster liquor, is the oyster’s juice that keeps the muscle alive when it’s out of water and also adds to its flavor.

How to Shuck an Oyster

  • To prepare, first wash and scrub the oysters thoroughly in cold water. Put them on a plate, cover with a towel and place in the fridge until ready to shuck. Never place oysters directly on ice or in cold water before shucking. It can kill them.
  • Next, pick your shucking tool. You will need a flat-edged device to pry the oyster open—an oyster knife would be nice, but a table knife or even flat head screw driver will get the job done. After that, you’ll need an oyster glove to wear. An oven mitt or thick kitchen towel will do the trick, too. The protection is advised for shucking to prevent cuts, both the oyster shell and knife have very sharp edges.
  • In the palm of your hand, hold the cupped side of the oyster down (flatter side up). Grip it firmly and keep it level. Insert the knife along the edge of the oyster near the hinge, the part where the oyster shell narrows at the end, and work the knife in, rocking it slightly and twisting until you pop the hinge open.
  • Keep the shell level while you lift its top, the flat side of the shell, off. If there is any meat attached to it, scrape it off into the other half of the shell, the cupped portion, where the majority of the oyster meat is, resting in briny oyster liquor. Separate the meat from the bottom of the other shell by slipping the knife’s edge under the meat and scraping, careful not to lose any liquor brine if you can.

How to Eat Fresh Oysters

Oysters should be served immediately after shucking, laying the half shells in a bowl of crushed ice. There are also many recipes for oysters—baked, fried or raw.

Though there are several ways to prepare them, many simply prefer the old fashion way of slurping down the briny liquor and raw meat right out of the half shell. Some prefer squeezing a tad of lemon or Tabasco before slurping, or preparing a mignonette of red-wine vinegar and shallots for dipping or drizzle. Cocktail sauce, though frowned upon by purists, is still a favorite dip. You can also grill or barbeque oysters with olive oil and garlic seasoning, or add them to your favorite seafood chowder recipe.

Maine’s clear, clean, frigid ocean waters produce some of the best seafood in the world. Locally sourced, responsibly harvested Maine oysters are a favorite among them. No matter how enjoyed, with a little patience and practice, you now know how to shuck an oyster!

Fresh Maine Oysters Delivered to Your Doorstep

At Klenda Seafood, we harvest the most delectable Maine oysters and Gillardeau oysters found on the East Coast…and we deliver! Klenda Seafood offer three types of shipping methods for your convenience, ensuring your seafood will arrive in non-toxic packing while following humane shipping practices. We guarantee the integrity of our shipments. To order our oysters or other fresh seafood, contact us today!