A Quick Broil Is The Secret To Easy Oyster Shucking

Delicious when paired with champagne, a martini, a Bloody Mary, or a Guinness, oysters are often served in high-end restaurants, with high-end prices to match. Savoring oysters don't have to cost a fortune though and you can enjoy them at home by buying oysters straight from an oyster farmer, from your local fish market, or even having them delivered straight to your door these days. The downside? You have to shuck them yourself.

And while there are specific steps you can follow for shucking an oyster, it can still be an intimidating task, especially after a few drinks. The trickiest, and most dangerous, part is getting the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster — that's when the knife is most likely to slip and stab you in the hand instead, making you question just how much you really like oysters anyway. Luckily, there's a trick for easy oyster shucking that lets you skip that dangerous step and all you need is an oven with a broiler function. Turns out, a blast of high heat causes the muscle holding the oyster shells together to release, causing the oysters to open on their own.

Extreme temperatures to the rescue

To use this technique, you'll need a baking sheet, sheet pan, or roasting pan and something to keep the oysters steady, like crumpled aluminum foil, coarse salt, or a wire cooling rack. Place your oysters flat side up in a single layer on the pan, place the pan in the upper rack of your oven, and set your oven to broil. Bon Appétit recommends checking the oysters after 5 minutes, and removing any that have opened, but you may want to start checking even sooner and remove any oysters as soon as they crack open, so as to not overly cook them. Discard any oysters that haven't opened at 10 minutes as a lost cause.

Once the oysters have cracked open, you can easily insert an oyster knife or even a butter knife to fully open the oyster, which should be "still mostly raw but warm to the touch," per Epicurious. Top with lemon juice, a mignonette, hot sauce, or a dollop of caviar, and slurp away. If you have more time to plan ahead, you can also try the freeze and thaw method, which is another effortless way to oysters, and one that won't sacrifice the texture, since it doesn't cook your oysters at all.