Littleneck Guide To Shucking Oysters

When Brooklyn restaurateurs Andy Curtin (left) and Aaron Lefkove opened a clam shack in the up-and-coming Gowanus neighborhood, local residents couldn't get enough of their oysters, steamers and craft beers. Today, Littleneck (288 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, 718-522-1921) is the place to get your raw bar on. In fact, it's so popular that they will be soon be expanding with a new project, The Pines.

We recently stopped by to hang out, drink some beers (obvs) and find out how, exactly, the professionals shuck oysters. Here's a quick how-to, along with an animated .gif for reference.


Oyster knife

Kitchen towel

Platter of kosher salt or crushed ice for presentation

Fresh oysters. See our oyster primer with Kerry Heffernan


1. Using a folded kitchen towel, hold the oyster firmly against a solid surface with the rear part exposed. 

2. Carefully work the tip of your oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster until it is embedded.

3. Gently pry downward while sliding your knife into the oyster.

4. Turn your knife sideways and run it down the oyster shell to scrape the top abductor muscle away from the shell.

5. Scrape loose the bottom abductor muscle and flip the oyster over in one fluid motion. This is called the Philly flip.

6. Wipe clean any shell debris and place the oyster on a presentation platter. Season with a spritz of lemon, if you like, and enjoy.

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