04 December, 2023

Your short guide to opening Sydney Rock Oysters

Australia’s Oyster Coast farmers work hard to grow Appellation Oysters and we believe that they are best served freshly shucked in order to deliver the best possible experience. Spending some time learning the art of shucking will maximise the quality and eating pleasure of Appellation Oysters.



Take an Appellation oyster and with the cup of the shell facing down, wrap it in a clean cloth with the pointed hinge of the oyster facing out.

Place the cloth on a board, on a stable surface and hold down firmly.

Insert the oyster knife into the join between the top and bottom shells at approximately a 15 degree angle to the bottom shell.

Moving the knife in a rhythmical rocking motion, push the knife into the hinge until it has purchase, firmly wedged between the top and bottom shell.


With the oyster knife firmly wedged between the top and bottom shell, hold the oyster in the cloth firmly.

Twist the oyster knife sharply as if accelerating on a motorcycle and listen for the ‘pop’ as the hinge gives way.

The hard part of opening the oyster is now complete!


With the hinge now broken slide the oyster knife gently along the top lid.

At the two o’clock position on the top lid is the adductor muscle which holds the top and bottom shells together.

Simply slide the oyster knife through this muscle to release the top shell.


Having removed the top lid, snip the adductor muscle on the bottom shell to release the oyster.

If you want, you can turn the oyster over to have its ‘belly’ facing up (like they do in the shops with pre-opened oysters): gently slide the blade of the oyster knife under the gills and body of the oyster and roll the oyster over in the shell – this also allows you to check if there are any mud worms hidden under the oyster and ensures that the oyster will expel its natural liquor.

Try to keep as much of the oyster’s natural liquor in the shell as possible – it is delicious and is one the things that makes a freshly ‘shucked’ oyster so good.

The oysters are now ready to serve – place them on a bed of ice or salt to stop them tipping over and enjoy!


Oyster connoisseurs claim that cooking an oyster is blasphemy, preferring to eat them raw on the half-shell in their own liquor with nothing to overpower the delicate flavour. With oysters of this quality, we tend to agree.

The staunchest defenders of raw oysters might even sneer at any accompaniment, but many enjoy flavours such as lemon and vinegar, which can dampen the saltiness and enhance the sweetness. Grated horseradish or mignonette dressing are also common accompaniments.

Any cooking must be sympathetic to this fragile protein. As oysters are 95% gonad or reproductive organ, the protein is highly fragile meaning it is readily overcooked, resulting in tough and flavourless meat. Steaming or frying with a coating such as a crumb or a batter to protect the meat; quick stir frying or roasted whole in the shell (lid on) are methods that tend to provide the best culinary outcomes.

The most famous oyster dish is Oysters Rockefeller, which was created by Jules Alciatore, grandson of the founder of Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans. It was so named because the dish contains a lot of butter, making it as rich as the Rockefeller family.

Oyster sauce is a combination of oysters, soy sauce, salty brine and various seasonings, usually garlic, ginger, sugar, and leeks. It is used in many Chinese recipes.