Image: Aly Zorn
Image: Aly Zorn

Oysters… a favourite treat of many. Some would even go so far as calling them jewels of the sea. While they taste wonderful, like all good things, they don’t come easy. I’m not the first person to say they’re a total bitch to get open. They’re a tease; they know their worth and they’re not willing to give it up easy.

Before you try prying one open, butcher knife in hand, save yourself a trip to emerge because, like any high-class, righteous individual, they have a soft side if you make the right moves. And while eating them in restaurants is fine and good, wouldn’t it be nice to switch things up and feel like you’ve earned it?

That’s why I attended Shuck U! oyster shucking class ($55 per person) at Oyster Boy on 872 Queen St. West. Led by master oyster shucker, Adam Colquhoun, I learned a lot about oysters but most importantly, how to shuck the right way. And while a couple “fuck you’s” were said under my breathe, by the end of the class they had all but turned into “shuck u’s” and “shuck ya’s.”

Image: Aly Zorn

If you choose to take the class at Oyster Boy, all the tools, plus detailed instructions will be provided to you – we’d suggest this if you’re a total newb. Otherwise if you have some experience or are just a brave soul, here’s what you need to shuck successfully at home: anything with a blunt flat end like a screwdriver, a towel, a cutting board and ice (to keep the oysters chilled).

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Something else you probably don’t know, is that not all oysters are created equal. It’s important to use “choice oysters” rather than “standard oysters.” Standard oysters are all your misshapen ugly ducklings – while not bad for the oyster, this is bad for you as it may be harder to pry open. Choice oysters are like the celebrity oyster. They are beautifully shaped with few to none abnormalities, which makes for an easier shuck.

Image: Aly Zorn

Confused? Then you should probably just take the class. Still feeling brave? Well, then I’ll impart on you all the shucking steps I learned at Shuck U!

  • Place the oyster on top of the towel/cutting board and use the towel to prop up the end of the oyster
  • Make sure it’s facing up (the flatter side is the top of the oyster) and use one hand to brace
  • Use your tool to pry open the abductor (the clasp that holds the oyster together)
  • Once the abductor is split, slide the blade around the edge of any unopened shell, and open fully
  • Slice the piece of muscle that is attached to the inside shell and clean off any ocean residue
  • Hold up to your mouth, slurp and enjoy!!!!

*Optional: add any seasonings you desire

Image: Aly Zorn
Image: Aly Zorn

Sounds easy right? Well, let’s just say practice makes perfect, and while I still had ten fingers when I left Shuck U! I was wearing a band-aid or two. That being said, your safest bet is to take the class at Oyster Boy where you will not only receive hands-on instructions and some background information on the oyster, but you’ll get to eat all of them in the process with a group of like-minded, oyster-happy people.

For all you risk takers out there, your second best bet is to buy a shucking knife ($9.00) at Oyster Boy to use at home. Oh, and if you’re concerned about eating a bad oyster, don’t worry, you’ll know!!! It smells quite literally like something that died at the bottom of the ocean. So use caution and sniff each oyster before eating to be on the safe side. Happy shucking!!!

Interested in attending Shuck U! at Oyster Boy? Enter to win 2 tickets below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

  • One (1) winner will receive two (2) tickets to a Shuck U! class (RV: $110)
  • Entrants must live in Ontario
  • Entrants must be 16+ to enter
  • Contest closes Monday, May 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Tuesday, May 16, 2017
  • Winners will have until end of day Tuesday, May 16, 2017 to claim their prize. If the winner does not respond, they forfeit the prize & a new winner will be picked
  • The prize in non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash

Related Link: Get Shucked: The Best Buck-a-Shuck Deals in Toronto

Will you attend Shuck U! and become a shucking pro? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe