How to Shuck an Oyster, and My First YouTube Video!
Updated: Sep 19
I love oysters. Growing up my dad was paranoid about eating anything remotely not burnt to a crisp. He demonized everything from medium-rare steaks to sushi. So I wasn’t exposed to a lot of unique foods until I was on my own. After moving out I’ve tried several unique raw foods including sea urchin, and octopus, and one of my absolute favorites is Oysters.
The reason I’m featuring Oysters is that they’re also an aphrodisiac which makes them perfect for a romantic month like February. Now, to be honest, there is nothing available that can increase sexual desire in people and frankly from what I’ve seen on Travel Channel and Food Network, the more disgusting the food, the more it’s marketed as some sort of sexual enhancement so take this with a grain of salt.
Regardless of whether or not you think these guys will spice up your love life, they are delicious, especially with a cold Chardonnay. The only problem for me was the price. I don’t know how much they cost in your area, but you can expect to pay at LEAST $24 dollars for a full dozen if not more and then add in the cost of wine and a tip, and it’s an easy $30.
My husband will tell you if there’s something I really like to eat at a restaurant, but it’s expensive, I’ll learn how to make it myself, and that’s exactly what I did here.
Shucking Oysters can be tough at first, but it does get easier. The first thing you’re going to need is a proper oyster shucking knife. These aren’t really useful for much else. They’re short, and kind of blunt and not very sharp. I also suggest that if this is your first time shucking your own oysters that you get a relatively thick tea towel that you won’t mind getting gunked up.
1.) Pick out the kind of oyster you want: There are several varieties. I tend to like meaty and briny ones (which means a little salty), but there are sweet ones and plump ones. Wellfleets are the ones I like the most so far and if you buy them in season (September through April) they tend to be around $1.00 per. (which means if you shuck them yourself, you’re paying around $12 for a dozen which is still way less than you’re going to find at any restaurant).
DO NOT PUT THEM IN A TIED PLASTIC BAG!!! The gruesome reality is that these are living creatures and they do need air to breathe until they are um…er…” processed”.
2.) When you get them home, be sure to wash them. They tend to have sand or grit, especially around the edge. I honestly like to use a little scrub brush that I have just for them. Nothing can ruin them faster than having sand or a piece of shell in them!
3.) Prep the serving dish. Sometimes you can ask the people you’re buying these from for a bag of chipped ice. If for whatever reason they won’t give you any, you can take regular ice and throw it into a food processor. This isn’t going to help the flavor any, but it is going to help keep those oysters sitting upright on your plate and it’s going to keep all the ocean juices they have from leaking out. The ice will also help keep them cool.
If you can’t do this, I like to take paper towels, and get them wet and then put them in the freezer. This will give the same effect of preventing the oysters from tipping over and keeping them chilled.
4.) Okay, now you’re ready to do some shucking. Get your first oyster and locate on the shell where it hinges together. That’s the area you’re going to want to try to insert with your knife first, BUT before you do that, I suggest taking some safety precautions. Now is the time to use that really thick tea towel I suggested at the beginning of the post. That’s to help you not just grip the oyster but to also to help protect your hand in case there’s a slip. Also, be sure to point the tip of the knife AWAY from your body (you want to shuck the oyster, not yourself).
5.) Inserting the knife between the shells can be tough, and depending on the type of oyster you get, the shell could be thin and break. Take your time, and be patient. Once you’ve broken the hinge, it releases the seal that keeps the shell closed and you’re in the home stretch! Take your knife and cut all the way around being sure to separate the meat from the top part of the shell that you plan to throw away. Once the top part of the shell is off, you’re going to want to wipe the knife off quickly and run it around the meat inside the shell since there’s usually an anchor point which will prevent the oyster from slipping easily from the shell into your mouth. Once that’s taken care of, you’re done! Congrats! Put it on your plate of ice. If you want to garnish it, I suggest having some apple vinegar and cocktail sauce, but honestly, they’re great just as they are. Have a sip of wine and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
So how did it go? If you tried it, tell me about your experience in the comments below! If you would like exclusive content into my life then feel free to follow my social media listed on the sidebar! Have a wonderful day! – Heather Autumn