How To Shuck An Oyster

Here's everything you need to know before enjoying a delicious bivalve

There's nothing better than a tray of fresh-from-the-sea PEI oysters on a hot summer day, and happy hour shouldn't be your only opportunity to slurp down a dozen or two. Oysters are easy to prepare right at home if you know what you're doing. The biggest challenge of any oyster party is prying open those stubborn shells, but don't let that discourage you from serving delicious raw oysters at your next get-together.

Though there's more than one way to shuck, we recommend a handheld grip for the most control. Follow these steps, and you'll be a shucking pro in no time.

Place a triple-folded kitchen towel in your nondominant hand. Then place the oyster, flat side up, in the center of towel with the rounded edge facing away from you.

Take the point of the oyster knife and, using firm pressure, wiggle and push it between the shell's lips until the tip of the knife is securely in the oyster.

Push down (like pulling a beer tap) until the top lip comes up by about a quarter inch.

Remove the knife and wipe off the tip. Turn the oyster 45 degrees, reinsert the knife into the lip and run it along the top to separate the oyster from the flat part of the shell.

 Remove the top shell and run your finger around the outer edge of the oyster to remove any broken shell fragments. Run the knife along the bottom of the curved shell to separate the oyster. At this point, you can flip the oyster for a prettier presentation.

This article was originally published on 9/25/2013 and was updated by Delia Mooney with additional content and photos on 7/17/2017.