If you haven’t shucked your own oysters, well, ever, you’re not alone—and this might be the summer that all changes. Especially when you realize how easy it is to prepare one of summer’s briniest delicacies on your own.
New Suffolk-based company Peeko Oysters just launched a home delivery and pickup service, where you can order anywhere from two dozen to ten dozen oysters (as well as a shucking knife and a “Turning Water into Brine” tee, if you want to go all out). It was a quick pivot on founder Peter Stein’s part after he saw business come to a “grinding, screeching halt” in the second week of March after restaurants everywhere closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I didn’t know how to comprehend what was happening—the magnitude of it,” he says. Up until that point, his entire business had been wholesale. “After those first few weeks, I thought, ‘let’s try selling these things to people.’ How big of a market is that? I don’t know. But what I do know is that nobody’s consuming them right now, and it’s not because they don’t want to; it’s because they can’t get them.”
It inspired Stein to launch the delivery and pickup service, spreading the news via word of mouth. He took orders through a Google form, before upgrading to take online orders through the company’s website, peekooysters.com.
And, because Stein realizes oysters can be a little intimidating, he launched a YouTube channel to provide video tutorials on storing oysters, shucking them—even if you don’t have a knife handy—and easy recipes you can make with them if you’re not into devouring them raw (or with a squeeze of lemon).
Preparing them yourself can be surprisingly easy. “You don’t need oyster-shucking gloves or anything like that,” Stein says. “You just need to pick out a dish rag—the oldest one you have—and have a little self-confidence.”
In fact, even if you don’t order a shucking knife—or if the thought of using one freaks you out—Stein has a hack for that: “Put the whole oyster on the grill, and just as you start to see daylight between the two shells, take them off the grill. At that point, all you need is a butter knife and an oven mitt in order to shuck it.”
From there, he recommends taking the top shell off, topping the whole thing with a little compound butter, and putting it back on the grill for a few more minutes. “You’ll be in heaven, it’s so good,” he swears.
Pickup will be available all summer long, though the home delivery service—which spans Suffolk County, with occasional trips to Rye, Brooklyn and Manhattan—is subject to change. Visit peekooysters.com for the latest information on that front.
And, if you’re still feeling unsure of preparing oysters at home, we have one question for you: Why the shuck not?