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How to Shuck Oysters

It’s Oyster season! From September to April, visitors and locals can look forward to enjoying fresh oysters in Hilton Head Island. Opening oysters, commonly referred to as  “oyster-shucking”, is a skill that requires a little patience. Have you ever shucked an oyster? No? No worries just follow these simple steps and you will learn.

  • Choose a place where you can be messy. It is ideal to shuck oysters outdoors if possible.
  • Here are the tools you will need. You should have a shucking knife, a pair of gloves because oysters are sharp (cut resistant gloves are recommended), paper towels or a rag, plates and a large bowl for the oysters. There are specific gloves you can purchase to open oysters such as Oyster Shucking Gloves, the Yellow Rubber Oyster Shucking Glove or the Rubber-Dipped Oyster Shucking Gloves to protect your hands since they are designed for this activity.
  • Find the sweet spot. Hold the oyster flat side up in your hand or on a hard surface and using your knife, slide the blade between the shells and twist until the shell pops. You may not be able to open all oysters. You may have to try more than one until you find one that will open. It can take a little time until you get a feel for it. It can become a little addictive once you get the hang of it.
  • Give it flavor and slurp it down. Once you split the shell and open it up, feel free to add Tabasco sauce, lemon juice or cocktail sauce and using your knife swish the sauce with the oyster and consume directly from the shell. You can also use the knife as the utensil.



There are different types of oysters in Hilton Head such as Blue Points and Wellfleets. After you purchase the oysters from a local supermarket, you can steam them for less than a minute to make it easier to shuck. A recommendation – eat the oysters the day you purchase so you’ll have them as fresh as possible.

Fresh local oysters are best when eaten cold. They are salty, tasty and succulent. Enjoy!


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