oyster shucking

Mike Bourie of Oysters XO (right) gives an oyster shucking demonstration to Caitlyn Mayer and Peter Bierce of Charleston Oyster Farm. Stephanie Barna/Staff

Mike Bourie of Oysters XO, a mobile oyster shucking company, recently took a tour of the Charleston Oyster Farm with Caitlyn Mayer and Tom and Peter Bierce. A native of Boston, Bourie's not quite in love with local oysters yet, but he's developing a taste for them. Part of the tour includes sampling the freshly harvested oysters pulled from an icy cooler. After eating a few and watching Peter shuck, he offers a quick lesson in proper oyster shucking.

Here are Bourie's five steps for shucking an oyster without damaging its meat or chipping the shell.

1. Take your knife and make a lollipop. Find the hinge, wiggle the knife until it locks on the oyster shell. You should be able to let go of the oyster with one hand and hold the oyster by the knife tip. 

2. Turn the knife like a key in the lock. Give it a 1/4 turn to the left or right. You don’t need muscle if you use the right technique.

3. Slide your knife two-thirds of the way up the right or left edge of the shell and then cut across to the opposite side. You should now be able to pull the top off.

4. Slice through the curved abductor muscle, push the foot to make sure it’s detached.

5. A perfectly shucked oyster should look like an eyeball. Now lift the oyster to your mouth and let it slide right off the shell onto your tongue. 

Follow Stephanie Barna on Twitter @stefbarna.