How To Open Oysters
Whatever shucking method you use, start by scrubbing the oyster shell
clean under cold, running water (never let oysters sit in fresh water),
and keep the oyster cupside down to retain the juice. Always wear heavy
gloves in case the oyster knife slips.
For the novice, and easier way to open oysters is via the microwave oven.
Put six oysters on a plate, cover with wax paper and microwave at full
power for 55 seconds. Let them sit in the microwave oven, power off, for
another 15-20 seconds and remove. The meats won't be cooked, only warmed,
and the shells more amenable to opening by whatever method you choose.
Once opened, chill before serving.
When oysters in the shell are suddenly exposed to extreme heat, they will
automatically open their shells. Place half a dozen oysters in the shell
in a pie pan and put the pan in a hot oven for a few minutes. Remove quickly
and you will see their shells have opened enough to insert a small sharp
knife. Probe gently on the inside upper shell and cut the muscle from the
shell. Pry off top shell. Then cut the muscle from the lower shell. If
you want to serve the oyster on the half shell, quickly place them in the
refrigerator with the oyster meat still in the lower shell. Chill 15 minutes
before serving, and the oyster will be fresh and delicious.
Stabbing or sticker method
With the left hand, brace the oyster on a non-slip surface, flat side up,
with the widest part of the shell or "mouth" facing you. The hinged end
should be backed up against a stop of some sort.
With clockwise and counterclockwise twists of the wrist, work the point
of the knife between the leading edges of the shells until it penetrates
With the seal broken, insert the blade fully. With the left hand, pivot
the oyster sideways so the knife severs the upper abductor muscle or "eye".
Turn the oyster over with the same motion of the left hand and cut the
bottom abductor muscle close to the point of its attachment to the shell.
Grasp the wider end of the oyster in the palm of the left hand, cupside
down, with the hinge end pointed towards you.
Press the point of the oyster knife firmly into the hinge, rotating the
knife with clockwise and counterclockwise wrist movements. The upper shell
should pop open.
Cut the upper abductor muscle by sliding the knife between the shell and
Move the knife under the meat to cut the bottom abductor muscle; remove
Side Knife Method
Grasp the oyster in the left hand, cupside down, mouth towards you.
With thumb extended on blade to within 1/4 inch of the tip, curved tip
facing downward, place the knifepoint on the outer edge of the shell as
shown; wiggle the point between the two shells.
Push the blade in over the meat to server the upper abductor muscle. Remove
the top shell and shell particles.
Turn the curved tip up and pass it under the meat to sever the bottom abductor