Best of Philly Spotlight: How to Shuck an Oyster with Fishtown Seafood

Fishtown Seafood owner Bryan Szeliga explains the step-by-step basics of breaking into bivalves.

shuck oyster

Learn how to shuck an oyster with our Best of Philly 2022 winner

At the new Fishtown Seafood, owner Bryan Szeliga only stocks thoughtfully sourced, chemical-free fish and shellfish, including small-batch East Coast oysters dug up from Jersey to Maine. His Monday classes will teach you the fine art of shucking for just $20 — and send you home with 15 oysters so you can hone your skills in your own kitchen.

Below, Szeliga explains the basics of breaking into bivalves. Illustrations by Kyle Hilton.

1. Gather Your Tools

shuck oyster

You’ll need a flat surface, a kitchen towel, and a knife with a thick handle and a pointed blade. Tuck the oyster into the towel to hold it in place.

2. Wedge in the Shucker

shuck oyster

All oysters have a hinge and a “cup” or “belly” side. Position the belly side down so the flat part of the oyster is facing up. Gently work your knife into the hinge, and you’ll hear a little pop.

3. Cut the Muscle

shuck oyster

The goal of shucking an oyster is to separate the abductor muscle, which connects the top and bottom of the shell. Slide your knife from the hinge to the right to sever the muscle.

4. Clean Out the Debris

shuck oyster

Open the shell and wipe away any fragments that may have fallen inside.

5. Top it Off

Add a few dabs of fiery fermented kanzuri or a splash of mignonette and start slurping.

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Fishtown Seafood is located at 339 Belgrade Street.