How to Shuck an Oyster – The Nation's #1 Shucker Shares His Technique

This is a tiny snack of a post.

Consider it a 4-Hour Chef amuse-bouche. Amuse-bouche literally means “mouth amuser” in French, and it’s a single-bite hors d’œuvre served at the beginning of a meal.

While in Seattle for mischief with the Delve Kitchen boys, I ended up at Taylor Shellfish Farms. There, I had the good fortune to meet David Leck, America’s #1 oyster shucker and all-around good guy. Below is a video guide to his technique…

For the uninitiated, oyster shucking consists of forcefully wiggling a knife in between a shell’s hinge, twisting the blade until the shell “pops,” opening the oyster by severing the muscle from the shell, and then separating the oyster meat from the bottom half of the shell.

The average person can shuck one oyster in 30-60 seconds, assuming they don’t mangle their thumb or the precious oyster meat. David’s record? 24 oysters in just under 2 minutes.

Here’s how he does it:

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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38 Replies to “How to Shuck an Oyster – The Nation's #1 Shucker Shares His Technique”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Tim! I’ve mangled my hands more than a few times before I figured out the popping technique. Never thought about the way he cut them though. Gonna try this for my wife soon! 🙂

  2. Good stuff. Would be great to see more videos like this from the interesting people you meet while putting together the new book.

  3. Now I’m craving seafood. And seafood isn’t my preference. At all.

    By the way, I finished your book recently. It got me pumped! There’s little I can apply from the book, since I’m a teen, but I’m using 80/20 and I’m using your speedreading tips to further increase my reading. Hopefully, it won’t tarnish my fiction experience.

  4. Hey, Tim

    If you’re looking for a day trip from San Francisco, head out to Drake’s Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes, fantastic oysters. The Lunny family also produces grass fed beef.

  5. Hey Tim,

    This is neither here nor there, but quick question: in several posts you mention lactose-free, unflavored whey protein powder. Is there any particular brand name that you recommend?

  6. Tim,

    Seriously this needs to be done with gloves on and a proper oyster shucking knife (clams require a different knife).

    Cheap mans guide: a decent hand towel wrapped around the oyster shell laid down on the counter works just fine. This puts the knife into the counter and not your other hand holding the oyster. The knife should be dull and rounded as well.

    1. HI Andrew, I have used this towel around the hand technique because where I live in France the oysters are larger and have lots of sharp edges. The hardest part is to find the little opening to put the knife in.Then it gets easy.

      Bon appetit,


  7. I could swear there was a different post yesterday when I came to the blog…it seems it was removed….Am I right?

    Or am imagining things?

  8. I would eat a whole meal made of amuse bouche… how about tapas style restaurant for non spanish food, tons of cool food to just try out?

  9. hi Tim, where did your post with Jack Canfield go? Did not get to watch the whole video and now its gone 🙁


  10. It would be really nice to hear the absolute truth–the “behind the scenes” truth–for once.

    What happened to yesterday’s post and why? This one:

    Ah, isn’t the internet a beautiful thing?! We no longer have to live with mistakes, because they can be erased with the push of a button, and we will all forget after being served an amuse-bouche . . . . .

    Why not just put up a post admitting whatever intent, agreement, or arrangement was behind the post, and an expression of regret for posting it to your very loyal followers.

    We are all human, and we all understand mistakes. We will respect you more for admitting them and living with them rather than sweeping them under the rug . . . .

    1. Hi Doug,

      That post wasn’t erased. It’s right down the page. I redated it (as I do every few months) to be next to the other post on bestseller lists and it was pushed down.

      No conspiracy, no hidden agenda behind the post, and I don’t have any regret in posting a content-rich video to my followers. Frankly, it’s odd to see readers who’ve read my blog content for years — representing 1,000s of hours of unpaid work — get upset over…. Over what? Posting links to program that is sold instead of free?

      I would hope more from them.



      1. Hey Tim & Doug,

        Reading this post, I am struck by the power assumption has to unravel communication and connection. And I say this with absolutely zero judgement…and a big chuckle because truth be told, I too couldn’t find the Jack Canfield post and automatically jumped to all kinds of solutions and assumptions about why the post was “erased,” which clearly it wasn’t.

        So I’m wondering, if assumption is based on stories we have in our heads rather than the reality/facts, then why the hell do we operate from there? Maybe it’s an unconscious reaction. Maybe we get to play the victim. Maybe it’s to defend a perspective we hold and our assumptions are a form of justification, even though they’re often unfounded and untrue. Maybe we get to be “right” in which case we have to make others wrong. Maybe it’s all just the ego throwing a tantrum to get some attention. It’s all so fascinating!

        As you can see, this conversation has opened up a whole inquiry into where else assumption causes breakdowns in communication. And I’m laughing because I can already see where it’s been my undoing. Thanks for the indirect learning!

      2. Many times I would think the same way…always assume the worst about a situation or about rhe person.

        If someone didnt reply immediately to my call or email I would think they are ignoring me…..if someone didnt immediately confirm my facebook friend request…i thought they didnt like me…..i was weong of course….this one time, someone took a year to add me, simply because they didnt know how to confirm someone

        Our brain likes to make false assumptions.

        I learned this trick from this old Muslim guy I met on the train. He told me anytime I encountered a similar situation, I should make 70 excuses for that person. I should come up with 70 reasons as to why that person maybe late in arriving…or late in replying…or did something seemingly wrong

        Once you get into the first 5-6 reasons, you will feel much better about the person and the situation and your mind wont be so suspicious anymore

  11. I like weird foods, but raw oysters never did much for me. people seem to have so much fun eating them; I wish I could get into them more, but they just aren’t my thing.

  12. Hey Tim, I just wanted to tell you that I am one of your 1000 true fans! The principles and possibilities that you have opened me up to has had a huge impact on how I do life!

    Thank you,


  13. Seafoods are great for me but as as Joe said I don’t like oyesters much. I tried that one time but felt horrible. But I saw the video it’s good. but the word Amuse-bouche literally means “mouth amuser” touched me 😛

  14. Hi Tim,

    I started the slow-carb diet 5 days ago and I have a question about legumes:

    I live in Japan and sourcing tinned legumes which don’t have added sugar in the canning liquid is proving quite tough. So far I’ve only found cannellini beans which come in just plain water.

    Am I sabotaging my efforts by including black/pinto beans (tinned in water, sugar and salt) in my diet? I have been rinsing them thoroughly to remove the canning liquid.

    Based on the comments on this website, it seems that small details can significantly influence the results so I would really appreciate your advice.


  15. Hi Tim, can’t wait until 4hr Chef comes out – am eagerly awaiting pre-ordered book!

    Have you checked out Chef John’s videos on The guy is hilarious and guides you through humour and the easy way he breaks down complicated dishes to give you the confidence to try to cook. If anyone’s using the Pareto method it’s Chef John as he cuts through all the crap to give you the essence of what you need to understand to cook (p.s. Boing Boing just featured one of his videos on how to flip a pan like a chef).

  16. Hi Tim,

    I can not find a link to various useful links mentioned in the book FHWW on your website, are they there??



  17. Hey Tim –

    I enjoy your blog posts and your cool ideas. Would be great if you could create a youtube channel with all your tips and tricks in one place. I saw a nice video on the Vinturi thingy, as well as one on ‘de-shelling’ hard boiled eggs. Your quest for efficiency sure leads you to interesting stuff.

    Also enjoy the Random Show.

    Keep it up. Cheers.

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  18. I have just tried this and it is much harder than it looks! This many turn out to be an expensive skill to master…!

  19. Cool video.. didn’t know you like oysters Tim. You should swing by our warehouse here in the City; we’re doing some cool stuff with seafood and, in particular, oysters.

  20. I can’t stand oysters. It’s not so much the taste as it is the texture. No thanks.

    It sort of reminds me of mushrooms. I used to love mushrooms…until I got food poisoning. Now I can’t stand mushrooms because the thought reminds me of running back and forth from my bed to the toilet so as to get rid of every ounce of mushroom in my stomach. Sorry, but that’s what I’m reminded of when I think of oysters. 😉

  21. Hello Tim, I from Russia. Recently read your book 4-Hour Workweek . Steep book. I carry out of the job, and I want to interview you. Don’t you mind? Fix time also date convenient for you!

  22. I used to think shucking an oyster looked easy… until I tried it! This method seems to help a little bit. It’s still a pain to shuck enough oysters for a group of people, but man are they tasty! 🙂

  23. Thanks for pointing out that it’s not actually that difficult to shuck an oyster, you just need to wiggle a knife in between the shell and twist until it pops. I think that it would be a lot of fun to do one of those oyster pearl openings an make a ring or something out of the pearl. Thanks for telling me how to do it, and now I’ll just need to find someone who offers the openings.