Opening an oyster is a three-step process, and it's easier than you think!  All you need is a hard, flat surface, a hand towel or protective glove, and an oyster knife. 

There's more than one way around how to open an oyster, but for beginners we recommend shucking on a table and going through the hinge.  Oyster knives can be found at any cutlery store and there are a variety to choose from.  For recommendations, visit our Resources page. 

Step 1: Enter through the hinge

Hold the oyster firmly under the towel on a cutting board or table top, cup side down.  Wiggle your knife between the two shells at the tip of the oyster as shown in the picture. 

Hold the oyster firmly under the towel on a cutting board or table top, cup side down.  Wiggle your knife between the two shells at the tip of the oyster as shown in the picture. 

By carefully pushing the knife down into the oyster while simultaneously applying a twisting  force (like turning a set of keys) you should be able to pop open the hinge.  This will be apparent when you can slide the knife into the oyster.    

By carefully pushing the knife down into the oyster while simultaneously applying a twisting  force (like turning a set of keys) you should be able to pop open the hinge.  This will be apparent when you can slide the knife into the oyster.    

Use your knife or fingers to slightly pry the top shell away  from the bottom shell. You'll feel quite a bit of resistance because the adductor muscle (a large muscle towards the middle right corner of the oyster) is still attached. 

Use your knife or fingers to slightly pry the top shell away  from the bottom shell. You'll feel quite a bit of resistance because the adductor muscle (a large muscle towards the middle right corner of the oyster) is still attached. 

Step 2: Sever the top adductor muscle

Slide the knife around the outside of the shell to loosen the top shell from the bottom.  Presentation is important so try not to damage the meat or spill any of the liquor.  To remove the top shell you must cut the muscle in the middle of it.  This is done by scraping the knife along the underside of the top shell, the top shell can then be removed and discarded.

Slide the knife around the outside of the shell to loosen the top shell from the bottom.  Presentation is important so try not to damage the meat or spill any of the liquor.  To remove the top shell you must cut the muscle in the middle of it.  This is done by scraping the knife along the underside of the top shell, the top shell can then be removed and discarded.

Step 3: Sever the bottom adductor muscle

The final step is to separate the meat from the bottom shell.  To do this, scrape the knife along the inside of the bottom shell under the meat.  Remove any bits of shell or debris with your knife. Once the meat is loose the oyster is ready.  

The final step is to separate the meat from the bottom shell.  To do this, scrape the knife along the inside of the bottom shell under the meat.  Remove any bits of shell or debris with your knife. Once the meat is loose the oyster is ready.  

We recommend adding three small drops of fresh lemon and eating it raw, right out of the half-shell. Enjoy! 

We recommend adding three small drops of fresh lemon and eating it raw, right out of the half-shell. Enjoy! 

Other Shucking Methods

Side-entry method: a technique that helps when you're dealing with oysters that have brittle shells or obscured hinges. 

Microwave method: if you need a hands-free way of opening many oysters quickly for cooking, this is a great time saver! 

Can Someone Do it For Me?

If you're not in the mood to open your own oysters, but still want to enjoy fresh Fishers Island Oysters at home, consider hiring a shucker! If you're based in New York City, we recommend Open Oyster