You have probably tried to use a traditional kitchen knife, screwdriver, a spoon or even your car keys to shuck an oyster. However, if you are an oyster lover, you know that having an oyster knife makes shucking quite effortless.
Oyster shucking requires a sharp and sturdy knife to get through the top shell gently. The best oyster knives have short blades with a pointed tip at the top that gently loosens the oyster hinge. However, since they are available in different designs, sizes, and shapes, finding the best oyster knives may be challenging.
Stick around to see our favorite oyster knives and a buying guide to help you shuck oysters in a stylish and effective way.
What Is An Oyster Knife?
An oyster shucker knife is a specialized knife specifically designed for shellfish shucking, oysters and clams. Unlike regular kitchen knives, an oyster knife has a small, sturdy blade pointed at the tip to get through the hinge of the oyster shell.
Oyster knife blades are thick at the center and pointed at the tip. This ensures that it is easy to shuck open the oyster shell. However, the blade is also not ultra sharp since an oyster knife is meant to open and not cut the oyster.
Shucking oysters require accuracy and precision. For this reason, the best oyster knives have a non-slip ergonomic handle to ensure you have a firm grip while wiggling the tip through the oyster hinge. In addition, the handle fits comfortably in your hand, so you can pop open the oyster shell with confidence.
Let's get into the best oyster knives on the market.
1. HiCoup Oyster Shucking Knife
- HIGH CARBON BLADE: The finely crafted artisanal oyster shucker features a blade forged with...
- SAFETY: The pakka handle is furnished with a hand-guard and fits comfortably in your palm. A...
- DURABILITY: This oyster knife shucker, measuring 6-1/2 inches from tip-to-tip with a 2-1/2 inch...
- COMPACT: Tiny enough to handle small oysters yet sturdy enough to tackle large ones, the oyster and...
- ADD SOME JOY TO THE HOLIDAYS: Good things come in small packages. Whether it is as a stocking...
The HiCoup oyster shucking knife makes opening oyster shells a breeze. This professional-grade oyster opener features a high-carbon 420-type stainless steel blade that is sturdy and durable. The two-and-a-half-inch blade is formed with a mirror finish that makes it very appealing and somewhat deadly.
This HiCoup oyster shucker boasts an aesthetic design that blends well in every kitchen. The wooden handle securely holds the thick blade to ensure it doesn't fly off while in use. To ensure that the pakka handle is secure, the handle has three rivets that are compressed and carefully placed.
Safety is paramount when shucking. For this reason, HiCoup includes a hand-guard in the knife design to protect your hand should it slip during use. This makes it possible to use the oyster knife with wet hands. In addition, the company also adds a glove set in the package that protects your hands while shucking clams and oysters.
2. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Oyster Knife
- Sturdy stainless steel blade
- A bent tip makes prying open oyster shells easier
- Soft, comfortable handle won’t slip in your hand, even when wet
- Dishwasher safe
OXO good grips is a favorite among many for shucked oysters. This stainless steel knife is sturdy and durable to last you a long time in the kitchen. In addition, the blade has a bent tip that makes it easy to pry open the oyster shells.
The OXO good grips handle is soft and stylish. However, this non-slip handle is comfortable and fits in your hands to provide grip. In addition, the sturdy grip is made such that there is no knife slipping, even if your hands are wet or oily. After shucking, you can put this knife into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
3. Dexter-Russell New Haven Style Oyster Knife
- New Haven pattern with a Sani-Safe handle
- High Carbon, High Alloy, Stain free DEXSTEEL
- This knife is NSF certified
- Care: Hand wash and dry after use
- Made in USA
Dexter-Russel is a renowned brand in the cutlery industry, so you are guaranteed that their oyster knife is of great quality. Made of high-carbon and high-alloy stainless steel, this oyster knife blade is solid and sturdy to pry through the oyster one. In addition, the blade has a bent, curved tip that makes shucking oysters super easy compared to regular oyster knives.
When it comes to the handle, this Dexter-Russell knife has a New Haven pattern with a New Haven-style with a Sani-safe handle. This unique, high-quality design enhances your grip to prevent accidents even when your hands are wet. Additionally, this knife is heavy enough for leverage but also light to use to shuck oysters.
4. Victorinox Oyster Knife
- Compact and sturdy
- The world's most know brand for multi-tools and pocket knives
- Made is Switzerland
- Ergonomic, supergrip handle slip resistant even when wet
- High carbon steel blade
Made by Victorinox, a brand known worldwide for multi-tools and pocket knives, this great oyster knife prys through the highest to effortlessly crack open the top shell. The high carbon stainless steel blade is 4 inches long, making it perfect for shucking large oysters. Additionally, the blade is thin if you want to use the side method to open the oyster.
If you are a fan of eastern oysters, you will love this Victorinox knife and its rounded tips. The handle of this oyster knife is made from Fibrox, a rubberized material. This design choice provides an excellent grip for shucking. In addition, the handle has a pear shape, with a protruding rear and front. This provides additional support for your palm and thumb.
5. Mercer Culinary Oyster Knife
- Textured poly handle for sure grip, rounded handle back for comfort
- High carbon, stain-resistant steel blades for durability and sharpness
- Rounded blade tip for safety
- Hand wash knives for blade edge and surface care
This Mercer Culinary oyster knife in Boston style is perfect for shucking beginners who don't want to spend much. At 3-inches, this knife has a polypropylene handle that is functional and active. In addition, the handle has a rounded design for comfort and grip to prevent cases of the knife slipping.
The stainless steel blade is durable thanks to the high carbon and sharp enough to open the oyster shell. To prevent injury from accidents, the blade has a rounded tip that promotes safety. Considering how inexpensive this oyster knife is, its quality and effectiveness are remarkable.
How Do You Choose the Best Oyster Shucker Knife?
An oyster shucking knife is not always a priority when shopping for kitchen accessories. However, this handy tool is essential to have in your drawers. But how do you choose a great oyster knife? Below are a few features to consider.
1. Type of Oyster
Oyster knives are designed with the type of oyster in the region in mind. However, some knives will be strong enough to crack stubborn shellfish. For example, a clam knife is not strong enough to shuck an oyster, while you can use an oyster knife for clams. Therefore, you want to focus more on oyster species than clam species.
The most popular oysters hail from Europe, the Pacific, the Atlantic, Kumamoto and Olympia. Since each has a different size and flavor, choosing the best oyster knife for your preferred species is advised. This is because different oyster knives will work differently for shellfish. For example, a Frenchman knife is perfect for small European oysters, a Galveston blade is suitable for larger oysters and a Boston knife shucks all sizes.
2. Knife Type
Oyster knives are available in five different categories, all named after regions that popularized them. For example, new Haven Blades are short, wide and feature a curved blade, while Providence Blades, although similar to the new havens, do not have a curved blade.
Galveston and Boston blades are long and narrow, with pointed and tapered tips. Finally, the Frenchman blades are short, wide, and have sharper edges or sides, which help locate the oyster shell's weaker part.
3. Blade Type
The type of blade is yet another essential consideration when choosing an oyster knife. The blade length is usually between two and four inches. Some oyster blades are sharpened on both sides and others only on one side. In addition, an oyster knife can have a concave curve, like the New Haven, or a flat design.
Some blades have tapered, rounded ends, while others do not when it comes to the tips. The blade material also differs in that some have a stainless steel blade and others have carbon. The difference between the blade material is that carbon blades are tougher and more durable than stainless steel blades. However, carbon knives are prone to corrosion and discoloration.
Finally, you want to have a sturdy blade that will not bend, crack or fly off its handle when you open oysters.
A good oyster knife handle should be comfortable and fit in your hand. This helps to provide an ergonomic grip during shucking. Apart from being sturdy, the handle should be non-slip and heavy enough to provide leverage, but not too much that you can't comfortably hold it.
Oyster knives' handles are often made of wood or plastic. They are also dishwasher friendly, meaning that you don't have to clean the sticky fish residue by hand. In addition, a plastic handle is often preferred to a wooden handle since it is waterproof and fish contains moisture.
5. Knife Guard
Safety is important when shucking to prevent you from getting injured, even if you are a seasoned foodie. A knife or hand guard protects you should your hand slip when opening oysters.
How To Use An Oyster Knife
First, you will need an oyster. Lay a clean kitchen towel on your cutting surface or countertop. Next, place the oyster on the towel with the flat side facing up. Next, use the towel to fold over the oyster so that only the hinge is exposed.
Hold the oyster from the top to keep it stable using your non-dominant hand. Then, using the dominant hand, locate the hinge, where the oyster knife fits in and gently wiggle the blade into the hinge, twisting subtly until the top shell opens.
Having run your knife to the top of the oyster, scrape the muscle of the top shell to separate it and remove the entire top shell. Finally, slide your oyster knife through the bottom half shell to free the oyster meat. You can proceed to clean the raw oyster meat if need be or straight up enjoy it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you use a regular knife for oyster shucking?
A regular knife should not be used for shucking oysters. This is because it has sharp blades that could injure you should your hand slip. Additionally, the hard oyster shells are damaging to a regular kitchen knife, not to mention the risk of cutting the oyster meat.
2. Should an oyster knife be sharp?
No. Oyster knives don't need to be sharp. In fact, it is the dullness that makes them perfect for opening oysters.
3. What is special about an oyster knife?
An oyster knife is sturdy, with small blades and tapered tips to fit into the oyster hinge. In addition, it has an ergonomic design on the handle to offer grip when shucking.