November is National Oyster Month! We’re ready to celebrate our favorite mollusk at events like the Urbanna Oyster Festival and around our own dinner tables. There are few people who love oysters more than Deborah Pratt, international championship oyster shucker and Urbanna native.
“Oysters have taken me around the world,” she said.
After all of her travels, she still calls Urbanna her home: “It’s just a small town. It has clean water, beautiful scenery, you need to come here to look around… It’s a great place to have a giant oyster festival.”
As you embark on your own oyster celebrations this November, we wanted you know how to shuck an oyster like a champ. Here are Deborah’s tips…
How to Shuck Your Oysters
Begin with a knife and gloves.
The gloves keep your hands safe from the sharp edges of the oyster and your knife. Knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Start from the “front” of the oyster.
The back of the oyster is also known as the “hinge” where the two oyster shells meet. Deborah says if you go from the back, you’ll get excess dirt and grit in your oyster.
The front of the oyster is the larger and wider opening. Begin at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, or 9 o’clock, you can always get in through the front of the oyster.
Wiggle your knife in the front opening.
Deborah calls this “twisting.” Once you’re knife is half way inside the oyster, you are “in.”
Leverage the knife to pry it open.
This doesn’t take much force. The hinge will give and then you will see your oyster!
Behold your oyster!
Take a good look at your oyster. It’s ready for eating. To help it go down smoother, use your knife to detach it from the back of the shell.” Slurp it back raw, roast it, or fry it. There’s no wrong way to eat an oyster.
Where to Buy Your Oysters
Ready to host your own oyster feast? Visit one of these River Realm spots to bring oysters to your dinner table. Many of these businesses sell other fresh seafood and prepared dishes to go along with your oysters.
J & W Seafood: 16552 General Puller Highway, Deltaville
Chesapeake Bay Oyster Company: 1379 Wake Road, Wake
Deltaville Oyster Company: 210 Circle Drive, Deltaville
Farmer’s Daughter: 10935 George Washington Memorial Highway, Gloucester
Shores & Ruark Seafood: 453 Johnsons Drive, Urbanna
Dutton’s Seafood: 9900 Davenport Road, Gloucester
When you’re ready to get your oyster on, make sure you give us a tag on social media! We’d love to hear about your oyster successes and funny fails. Follow us on Instagram at @virginiasriverrealm and on Facebook. Tag @virginiasriverealm and use the hashtags #virginiasriverrealm, #loveva and #findyourshoreline.