How to Shuck an Oyster Like a Pro

There’s just something about oysters.

Whether you prefer them with a squeeze of lemon or with a spicy kick of horseradish, that unmistakeable brine-y taste can make you feel like you’re right by the ocean, even when there’s no shoreline in sight. They make a great interactive party appie when served with a crisp, refreshing wine like New Zealand’s Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc.

Still, even the biggest oyster lovers can be intimidated by the prospect of serving them at home. After all, shucking them requires a special technique that might make you think that you’re better off leaving it to the professionals.

However, you’d be surprised to learn that anyone can shuck an oyster in just five simple steps. Here’s how:

Step 1: Grab your tools.

You’ll need a clean dish towel and an oyster knife. And some fresh oysters, of course. Make sure to pick oysters that are tightly closed, slightly rounded, and evenly shaped. Avoid any that smell off or feel hollow.

Step 2: Know what you’re dealing with.

There are three parts to an oyster. The flat part of the oyster is the lid and the rounded/deeper part is the cup – this holds the oyster and the briny liquid. The pointed end is the hinge. Lay the oyster cup side down onto a dish towel and use the towel to securely hold the oyster down, with the hinge facing out.

Step 3: Do the twist.

Insert the knife through the hinge with the knife angled down. Twist it around until you feel the hinge open up.

Step 4: Release the muscles

You can do this by scraping the knife along the top and bottom of the shell. Be careful – you don’t want to damage the oyster meat and you want to keep the liquid in the shell. Also check for any grit or shell fragments.

Step 5: Serve ‘em up

Serve them immediately on crushed ice or rock salt and prepare any topping you’d like to accompany your oysters. Lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and horseradish are classic picks but feel free to get creative. And don’t forget a cold glass of white wine. The citrusy notes found in Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc are the perfect counterpoint to a fresh salty oyster.

Bon appetit!

And if you’re still a bit hesitant, check out this video for a step by step guide.