How to Shuck Oysters in 4 steps

shucking oysters

I did a fantastic oyster shucking class the other weekend at Pacific Gourmet in Happy Valley. While I was more interested in the eating than working for food, it was really good fun and very educational. I’m not very well versed in oysters, usually going with the French Belon and Gillardeau (I know, I’m so spoilt, both I love dearly). Other times at buffets, I’ve had mostly coffin bay Australian oysters and in China I tried a range of Chinese oysters from Guangzhou, Qingdao etc, which taste vastly different.

At class, we shucked 3 Australian oysters from Coffin Bay, Duck Bay and Bruny Island respectively. The oysters are flown in every Thursday at Pacific Gourmet, so as a tip, perfect to get them on Thu through the weekend.

Coffin bay oysters brings back lots of childhood memories when my dad had a boat and we went out to sea every weekend, swimming, fishing and collecting seashells. The oyster first taste like seawater before you creamy the creamy sweetness.

Most of the class loved the Duck Bay oyster best, the sweetest given their large abductor muscle, but I preferred the Bruny Island Oyster that finishes sweet and creamy and a little tangy.

I wish I had better skills and knowledge to identify the origins of the oyster based on shell shape and size.

how to shuck oysters
From left: coffin bay, duck bay, Bruny Island oysters

From my notes, the how to step-by-step:

1. Wrap the oyster in a towel with the hinge sticking out, chip away loose shell and flat side up, insert the knife in any nook you can find at an angle of 15º and use a rocky motion to gain entrance between the upper and lower shells.

2. To ‘pop’ open the shell, ‘rev’ the knife twisting it as if accelerating on a motorcycle until you hear the hinge pop. Be careful as it often happens suddenly at the knife dives into the shell.
I applied pressure to dive in but at the same time use a screw driver twisting motion clockwise and anticlockwise. And viola it unhinges

3. Now you have access, gently slide the knife along the inside of the top of the shell to sever the abductor muscle, releasing the top shell.

4. For good presentation, first loosen the meat from the bottom shell and flip it over!

Was great fun, would definitely recommend a class at Pacific Gourmet!

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