Jamian LaViola of Jamian’s shows PieHole how to shuck an oyster. Click here to watch if the video isn’t displaying on your device.  (Video by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge)


Ever since our conversation a few weeks ago with food history author Karen Schnitzspahn, when she spoke how abundant oysters used to be at Red Bank’s bars and taverns, PieHole has had bivalves on the brain.

Since then, we’ve been craving the cold and briny mollusk so much that we’ve decided oysters ought to be on our Thanksgiving table this year.

To see what kind of preparation would be involved to get oysters ready for Thanksgiving, we stopped by the Lusty Lobster (the folks who bring Red Bank the oysters for Oysterfest) and picked up a dozen Maryland oysters ($5/dozen) so that we could hone our shucking skills before the big day.

But mere seconds into our first attempt at prying open a shell, we were fumbling through the medicine cabinet for band-aids and combing through our Facebook friends to see if anyone could show us how to shuck an oyster without requiring a trip to the hospital.

Jamian LaViola from Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street in Red Bank answered the call.

A few hours later, we showed up at his restaurant with a bandaged hand and a bag of oysters. We asked him if schucking oysters is something we should even be trying at home.

“I don’t see why you shouldn’t have oysters at home,” he said. “Opening oysters isn’t something to be scared of. Just pay attention to what your doing.”

“If you really want to get into a traditional Thanksgiving feast,” says LaViola, “I would almost guarantee you that oysters were part of those [first Thanksgivings] because that was part of the food that was in this area.”

Big PieHole thanks go to Brian Donohue for his awesome video skills help here, and for helping us make sure that no oysters went uneaten in the making of this video.