Shuck– to remove the shell from an oyster. Many people do not eat seafood at home because it is a lot of work. Shucking can be intimidating and messy for the faint of heart, but here at S&B we love to get down and dirty to get to the pearl.
A common mistake when shucking an oyster is most people are too timid. In order to shuck an oyster properly, you have to use force. Don’t be afraid of the knife, but rather embrace the sharpness to crack the ‘code’. Wear a glove or use a kitchen towel, hold it tight, set the knife in the valve, swipe right, and twist. The sound of the crack is the sign it has popped open and ready! You must take the knife and slide it under the bivalve to separate the meat from its shell.
NEVER dump the ‘liquor’ for its the brine that’s fine and gives it the flavor.
Oysters come in many shapes and sizes, making some easier to shuck than others. If you are a first-time oyster-shucker, look for oysters that are thinner and more “shell-shaped.” Usually, East Coast are the easiest to open. The West Coast are smaller and at times more warped in shape with a denser shell.
Oysters can be gritty, but they aren’t hard to clean. When you are shucking oysters, use ice water as a cleanser for both your hands and the knife. Once you’ve shucked your dozen make sure you add an accouterment. Here at S&B, we serve our oysters with lemons, cocktail sauce, and mignonette, which is a vinegar-based sauce with shallots, pepper, and our house bacon:)
If we got you in the mood for oysters then swing by for Happy Hour 3-6. Our shuckers would be happy to teach you how to shuck an oyster or you can just watch as they fly out the door! We have specials every day for lunch and dinner and half-price oysters & cocktails at Happy Hour.
Salt & Barrel: 61 West Main Street in Bay Shore, New York.