Shucking Oysters with Maison Premiere

A big plate of oysters from Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A big plate of oysters from Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Johnny Simon

We had a shucking good time at Maison Premiere’s oyster bar.

National Oyster Day is August 5! If you don’t know how to shuck one of the delicious bivalves, this is the perfect occasion to learn a new skill. 

Lisa Giffen, executive chef at Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave), teaches us how to shuck an oyster safely.

While shucking can be dangerous (even professionals slip up occassionally), Chef Giffen recommends going slowly and staying focused while learning to shuck. Make sure to point your knife down towards the table you’re shucking on (preferably a steady surface not the N train), rather than toward your hand.


Here are Chef Giffen’s steps for successful oyster shucking: 

  1. Wash the oysters
  2. Place oyster on a towel and cover the top with the other side of the towel
  3. Firmly place hand on top of the towel
  4. Insert the shucking knife into the top of the oyster (the narrower end) and move it around until you hear a pop
  5. Remove the knife and wipe the sand off on the towel
  6. Insert tool into oyster to lift top shell, slide entire tool into oyster and cut in a left to right motion until you disconnect the adductor muscle
  7. Take off the top shell and smell for freshness
  8. Slide shucking knife underneath the oyster and disconnect the adductor muscle on the other side
  9. Turn oyster meat over for presentation 

If you need a few more tips, stop by Maison Premiere for their $1 Oyster Happy Hour and chat up a shucker while you enjoy a drink of absinthe fresh off the drip.