Oyster Knife recommendations

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KenHash

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I lost my Oyster Knife moving in 2019. It was a cheapo Oxo and the blade had gotten pretty wavy after many years of use.
I am seeing Oyster Knives by many unknown (to me) names, but also by brands like Wustoff and Lagoile.
In Japan many Oyster knives have a guard, which I suppose makes sense, but I never really thought it was needed.
Some have pointed tips while others look rounder and blunt.
If anyone has a recommendation or even just an opinion I would appreciate it.
 

Bodine

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I have used Dexter Russell for years, not fancy, affordable and they work well.
I like the Galveston model, s137
 

stringer

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I lost my Oyster Knife moving in 2019. It was a cheapo Oxo and the blade had gotten pretty wavy after many years of use.
I am seeing Oyster Knives by many unknown (to me) names, but also by brands like Wustoff and Lagoile.
In Japan many Oyster knives have a guard, which I suppose makes sense, but I never really thought it was needed.
Some have pointed tips while others look rounder and blunt.
If anyone has a recommendation or even just an opinion I would appreciate it.
It depends on what the oysters you will usually be shucking look like and how many you want to open. I like different size and shape oyster knives for different sizes and shapes of oysters. For little ones (like Kumamotos or a lot of USA West Coast varieties) I prefer a really pointy one (this one is a flea market find, no idea on brand). For most USA East Coast oysters that are usually more medium sized, I like knives like the two in the middle (one is a Lamson and the other R. Murphy). And for great big Gulf Coast monsters I like something bigger. I also use that big one if I am doing a lot of volume. I have large hands and the smaller handles tend to dig a blister into my palm if I have to open more than a few hundred at a time. That big one is a cheapo from a Chinese grocery. I removed the guard and added that long handle. I find the guards to be clumsy and annoying, but somewhat effective at preventing knuckle damage on your knife hand. The long handle keeps my knife hand away from the shells. The wide blade gives you more leverage for torquing bigger oysters open. It tends to break oysters that are smaller or more delicate. But if you are opening a lot then speed is more important than whether you have to toss a few broken ones.


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stringer

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I will also say that your technique matters too. There are at least three different techniques for opening oysters.

I first learned to shuck oysters from Mexican line cooks in Chicago. They taught me to hold the oyster down against the table with a towel with my non-dominant hand and then jab the oyster knife in and use a combination of leverage and twisting to pop it open. The medium size knives are best for this technique.

The Haitian line cooks in Boston held the oyster in one hand and inserted the knife with the other hand. Twist and pop. I like the really pointy one best for this technique.

That big one is modeled after some oyster knives I saw guys using at oyster bars in Massachusetts and Maine. They would hold the oyster knife inverted with the butt of the knife on a piece of stone and the tip pointed straight up. Then they would take the oyster and place it on top of the knife tip where they want to pierce the shell. Then they lift the knife up and they oyster up a few inches and bring them both down together hard against the stone to force the knife in. Twist and pop. This method is also great for extreme volume. It will also work with a screwdriver or a butter knife. However, it is sloppy. You are more likely to have shell fragments than with the other two methods and you end up losing the oyster liquor.
 

big_adventure

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Honestly, it's all technique and experience. I have two cheap, plastic handled supermarket specials that I use for shucking, and I can casually shuck 50 in 12-15 minutes keeping everything neat or faster if it's for immediate consumption. I've used some nicer, high end models with shields and better steel and edges and... I can casually shuck 50 in 12-15 minutes keeping everything neat or faster if it's for... you get the drift. I've also used the knifeblade on a Gerber multitool to shuck most of 96 oysters for my girlfriend and I one night - it slowed me a little, just because it's longer and narrower and razor-ish on the edge, and I didn't want to slip and slice myself. The only thing that ever gave me trouble was a discount store one that had a blade too soft to actually go into the oyster without deforming. That was actually what I had when I started the 96 oysters just above, it was basically unusable after maybe 7.

I use the method I first saw from New Orleans shuckers as a kid - hold the oyster in one hand, angled down slightly, towel or not depending on your comfort level, insert knife into the gap, apply force straight, twist or rock gently to separate, sweep to cut the attach on the top, done. It's one 2-5 second gesture per oyster, depending.
 

btbyrd

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Agree that it depends on the size of what you're shucking. Most of the (limited) selection in my local markets are mid-to-larger sized oysters, and I quite like the my Victorinox Boston stabber for shucking duties. Bostons are on the long side, which gives you leverage to help pop the hinge; I've also used it as an ice pick. The handle is ergonomic, grippy, and bright red. And it's inexpensive.

When I'm feeling fancy or shucking smaller oysters, I love the shucker from Town Cutler. It's beautiful and does the job elegantly. It wouldn't be my first choice for high volume kitchens or commercial operations, but for shucking a dozen or two at home, it sure feels classy.
 

parbaked

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If you feel like spending more than $15...
 

DitmasPork

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My humble bivalve mollusc knives. Dexter clam; French; Masamoto; R Murphy New Haven (plastic handle); R Murphy New Haven. Think all are under-$20.

Of the 4 oyster shuckers, I prefer the R Murphy New Haven with green plastic handle, for small to medium oysters, has a thicker, sturdier blade than the wood handle one. The Murphys are a bit small for larger Pacific oysters, so Masamoto gets used for those. Much personal preference with shuckers, I'm a fan of the curved tip, New Haven design.

Round or pointed tip, both are fine to wedge into the oyster's hinge. You can even use a screwdriver in a pinch to shuck.

The French is very nimble, good for small oysters.

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McMan

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Agree with everything @stringer said.
My preference is an R. Murhphy New Haven. The New Haven style has the curved tip. I knew guys that could open oysters with a bottle opener!--not at the restaurant, but a good way to kiil two birds with one stone if you have beer and oysters and a sunny day...
After a New Haven, I have a regular Dexter and gulf-style one (for those big flabby oysters--not a fan of southern oysters 😛).
Agree that it depends a lot on the oysters you'll be shucking.
But I also think the regional styles of knives are impacted by tradition too. People get used to what they learned on, used to seeing everybody else use the same things, etc... Where I was, everybody used New Haven.
Agree that technique shapes knife choice too. We used flat on the table technique, so the bent tip of the New Haven helped. If you hold the oyster in your hand, the bent tip doesn't do much since you can angle the oyster any way you like. These two techniques, especially flat on the table, are the only way to keep the liquor in. I think some places shuck to lose all the liquor on purpose.
 
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Dendrobatez

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For small-medium oysters, get the stubby version for larger ones like belon
 

daveb

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Living in Fl, I've been shucking for many years - as long as the oysters were near the keg... :cool: Some variant of Dexter Russell was always at hand - still have a few.

I tried the above mentioned knives from Toadfish a couple years ago and while not life changing, they have quickly become my oyster knife of choice. I have one of each type and use the cloth as well. COASTAL KITCHEN

I gave one to the main oyster shucker at work and he loves it. Cheap bastard even bought a couple.
 

orangehero

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It's one of my favorites. The older version was walnut and has a sharp tip.
 
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