Recipe Spotlight

The Best Tool for Shucking Oysters Is Your Oven

Five minutes in a hot oven makes oysters pop right open—no brute strength or raw-bar expertise required.

Published Oct. 7, 2021.

With the right technique, a proper knife, and a little muscle, most anyone can pry open an oyster’s tightly clamped shell—but it takes practice to do it efficiently and confidently. 

Want to skip the work? Try roasted oysters. Roasting not only renders them food-safe and allows you to dress them up along the way but also makes shucking a breeze.

Step 1

Place raw oysters on a rimmed baking sheet (nestling them, cupped side down, in a sheet of crumpled-then-uncrumpled aluminum foil will prevent them from tipping) and warm them in a 450-degree oven for about 5 minutes. At that point, their shells will have opened slightly because the weakened adductor muscle can no longer contract, making it easy to slip in and twist the knife blade to fully sever the muscle. (Oysters that don’t visibly open are safe to eat and will still be easier to shuck.) 

Step 2

Once all the lids are off, place the oysters back on the baking sheet, dollop each one with flavored butter (grainy mustard and herbs work well), and roast them for another few minutes until they’re fully cooked; the thickest part of the largest specimen should register 160 to 165 degrees. They’ll be festive and elegant, and the compound butter will meld with the liquor to form a rich, punchy sauce. 

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