Shucking, Serving & Enjoying Fresh Oysters

Shucking, Serving & Enjoying Fresh Oysters

Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell are one of the great seafood experiences.  We've worked with Ismael and his team at Puget Sound Shellfish to bring you this guide for properly shucking your oysters, and getting the most out of your oyster experience.




Always shuck your oysters right before serving, so they are fresh as possible.   If you plan to store your oysters before using them, place them in the refrigerator in an uncovered container, and cover with a clean wet towel.  Serve your oysters within 3 days of delivery.


Shucking an oyster can be a delicate process, but with the right technique, it’s easy to enjoy fresh, delicious oysters at home. Here's our step-by-step process: 


Oyster on the half shell


Tools Needed

  • Oyster knife (a short, sturdy knife with a pointed tip)
  • Clean kitchen towel or oyster glove



Holding the oyster firmly with the towel or glove, deep side down, and locate the hinge. The hinge is the point where the two shells of the oyster meet. Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge, positioning it at a 45-degree angle. Gently wiggle the knife into the hinge while applying downward pressure. Once you have leverage, twist the knife to pop the oyster open.


Slide the knife along the top shell to cut through the muscle that connects the two shells. Keep the blade as close to the top shell as possible to avoid damaging the oyster. Slide the knife under the oyster meat to detach it from the bottom shell.





Serve the shucked oysters immediately. Ideal presentation is to place your shucked oysters on a bed of crushed ice when serving.  Be careful not to spill the liquid that's in the shell -- this is called oyster liquor, and is definitely part of the overall experience.


Serve with your choice of accompaniments such as:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Cocktail sauce,
  • Mignonette sauce (recipe below)
  • Hot sauce

Also, SeaBear's Artisan Compound Butter and even our Crab Captain's Vinaigrette are great with fresh oysters.


To Make A Mignonette Sauce - This is a classic sauce to serve with fresh oysters on the half shell.  There are many variations, but at it's core it is a very simple recipe, combining just vinegar (1/3 cup -- red wine or rice wine), minced shallots (2 TBS) and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.  Mix, chill overnight, and serve.  Want to make it a bit spicy?  Add some finely chopped jalapeno. Fruity? Add some chopped apple, mango, or even some tangerine.  Sweet?  Mix in some brown sugar, to taste.



Finally, it is time to enjoy-- take your time!.  Start with a SIP of the oyster liquor from the shell, then SLURP the oyster meat into your mouth.  But don't immediately swallow it; instead CHEW it a bit first, to experience all the flavors, and the texture.  Place the empty shell back down on the plate, and take a sip of your favorite wine or craft ale. Now, repeat!