no longer fairly a yr in the past, I wrote a story in regards to the deserves of good oyster knives, getting a shucking lesson from a pro in the process. I walked away from the lesson with a refreshed appreciation for finding the proper software for the job, but what used to be most spectacular used to be the shucker’s methodology, which used to be like nothing I’d ever considered.
My lesson came from Lucas Stone, a shucker at Seattle’s unbelievable Westward restaurant, and he tested a delicate method with the formal beauty that recalled the tango. Choking up on the knife with one hand and palming the oyster within the other, he snugged the tip of the blade into the oyster hinge, then raised them collectively to his chest, and popped it open, virtually imperceptibly.
I returned to Westward lately, to get the skinny on the methodology, this time meeting with Ted Stearns, winner of the shucking competitors on the 2015 Bearfoot Bistro World Oyster Invitational & Bloody Caesar struggle in Whistler, British Columbia. Stearns, 29, has a callus on his right hand that’s suggested sufficient to notice while you shake it, a bump that’s the results of spending years working with an oyster knife.
on the competition, sterns shucked 30 oysters—10 Virginicas, 10 Pacifics, and 10 tiny Olympias—in 3 minutes and eleven seconds.
“I won as a result of I was shucking by means of hand, no longer desk shucking,” he says, breaking shucker-dom down into two tactics. table shuckers are the some distance more popular breed, in particular at residence, engaged on a countertop. while hand shuckers can work their manner in from the invoice (the larger, rounded finish of the shell), Stearns prefers starting on the hinge, aka “buttshucking.”
“I’m a buttshucker,” he says. “It’s the cleaner technique to go.”
Seattle-born Stearns established his methodology, cradling a Blue Pool oyster in his left hand with the more-deeply cupped half of the shell down. He choked up on the knife with his proper, then gently guided the tip into the hinge.
“You simply need to use the tip of the knife,” he says, “any more and also you’re just going to tear it all up in there.”
At this point, some hand shuckers convey both knife and bivalve as much as their chest for somewhat more leverage, whereas Stearns left them right in front of him to preserve as so much liquor within the shell as that you can imagine.
Stearns shimmied within the knife by way of really feel, found the sweet spot, and, as he places it, “twisted to pop.”
He stored prying, gently pushing the flatter high shell up and sliced cleanly during the adductor muscle, proper at the point the place it meets the highest shell. Stearns gently cleared a little bit of particles (“shrapnel,” in shucker-talk), pivoted the oyster 90 degrees and swept the inside of the bottom shell to chop the adductor.
It made for a pristine presentation.
nonetheless, Stearns has nothing towards table shuckers.
“It is dependent upon the way you learn. everybody swears by the way in which they learned,” he says. “I’m a buttshucker. With buttshucking, there’s at all times a method in, however in point of fact it’s whichever fashion makes you are feeling at ease.”
learn more About Oysters
WIRED recently visited the Hog Island Oyster Co. in San Francisco to get a primer on all issues bivalve.
meals author Joe Ray (@joe_diner) is a Lowell Thomas shuttle Journalist of The yr, a cafe critic, and creator of “Sea and Smoke” with chef Blaine Wetzel.
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