Wes Cordell

How To Shuck Oysters Without a Shucker

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of ingenuity. During a recent date night, my boyfriend and I were craving oysters. I had recently found a local seafood shake that sold them and bought a dozen to bring home in a plastic bag. Upon placing them down on the kitchen counter I remembered we didn't have an oyster shucker and the probability of a local store selling them was zero to none. So how do you shuck oysters without an oyster knife? Well, you probably already have the tool in your toolbox.

How to Shuck Oysters with a Screwdriver

Before you can even think about shucking oysters, you need to find some oysters. Check your local grocery store or fish market and inquire about fresh oysters. Depending on where they are grown will affect the taste. Rappahannock Oysters from Chesapeake tend to be sweet while Shigoku oysters in Northern Washington taste like cucumbers.  Oysters should not smell fishy but rather briny. Plan on using the oysters the same day and keep chilled on a bed of crushed ice.

Before you get your knife blade close to the live oyster, its good to familiarize yourself with it. The oyster shell has two sides, a bottom shell which is shaped like a spoon, and a top shell that is flatter. To make sure all the oyster liquor stays in the shell, always shuck oysters with the cupped side down and the flat side up.

Rinse the oysters in running water to remove any debris from the shells. Using a kitchen towel, hold the back of the oyster steady as you insert a flathead screwdriver into the hinge of the oyster, moving the screwdriver back and forth in a wiggle motion where the shells meet. Once it seems like the shell has loosened slightly, twist the screwdriver, popping open the shells with a twisting motion.


Once the shells are popped, use a paring knife the remove the raw oyster from the shell. You need to do this on the top of the shell first. Repeat with the bottom shell and serve the shucked oysters on the half shell. Dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and hot sauce and slurp to your content.

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