Best Oyster Knives

Professional Shellfish & Oyster Shucking Knife 3" | Gladiator Series

Best Oyster Knives Overview

  1. Professional Shellfish & Oyster Shucking Knife 3" | Gladiator Series
  2. Professional Oyster & Clam Shucking Knife 3.5" | Shogun Series
  3. Oyster Shucking Knife 2.75" | Gladiator Series

A dark plate of oysters and garnish beside a premium oyster knife

Professional Oyster & Clam Shucking Knife 3.5" | Shogun Series

Content Table

  1. What Is An Oyster Knife?
  2. How To Shuck An Oyster
  3. The Style Of An Oyster Knife Is Key
  4. The Best Oyster Knives
  5. Everything You Need To Know About Oysters
  6. Dalstrong Film - Oysterland

1. What Is An Oyster Knife?

An oyster knife resting on a several fresh clams on a wooden table

Professional Shellfish & Oyster Shucking Knife 3" | Gladiator Series

Just as there are specialized knives for many requirements, an oyster knife is a purpose-made tool specifically for oyster, clam, and shellfish shucking.

Though not often thought of when shopping for kitchen tools, any fan of oysters will tell you that a great oyster knife needs to be robust, safe to use, and last a lifetime.

Generally, the short blade of a clam knife incorporates a distal taper: A blade that thickens in its center. The taper promotes easier prying open of an oyster shell because of its centrally wedged shape.

There is no need for an ultra-sharp blade for greater leverage and extra safety, as its purpose is to open the oyster and not cut.

2. How To Shuck An Oyster

An oyster shucking knife next to a dark plate of oysters

  1. Roll a cloth kitchen towel into a long tube.
  2. For protection, grip one end of the towel and wrap it around the hand to hold the oyster shell.
  3. Place the rest of the towel on a cutting board or countertop to prepare for the shucking phase.
  4. With your wrapped hand, hold the shell so that the oyster’s hinge faces outwardly.
  5. Carefully insert the pointed tip of the oyster blade into the hinged end until there is a sufficient amount to gently pry open the two sides of the oyster shell (you’ll instinctively feel when the resistance is broken). 
  6. Take out the knife and clean it to remove any possible grit from the shell, which may contaminate the oyster meat.
  7. Insert the knife again to separate the membrane and completely remove the upper shell.
  8. Finally, slide the oyster knife under the meat to completely free the oyster meat from the bottom half shell.

When indulging in the delicacy of oyster eating, it’s fitting to make the practice memorable and lasting. The correct choice of oyster knife displays your gourmet skills and will impress your guests, and doesn’t food taste better when it’s ritualized anyway?

A robust, sharp (though not unduly sharp) knife design should make oyster shucking a simple repetitive process. Unless you’re an expert, the traditional Swiss army knife will NOT suffice in this instance! Nor will any folding knives. (For those feeling adventurous)

Anyone who’s attempted to open an oyster without the precise tools will attest to how difficult and often futile an exercise this is!

To become a connoisseur of oyster and clam preparation, follow this compilation of guides, products, and information will ensure that you won’t go far wrong.

Note : Where you buy oysters is key. If at all possible, shop with a local fishmonger.

3. The Style Of An Oyster Knife Is Key

A large plate of eight oysters and garnish on a wooden counter next to an oyster knife

Professional Oyster & Clam Shucking Knife 3.5" | Shogun Series

‘Shucking’ (the method of oyster shell removal) is an art in itself.

The ergonomics of an oyster knife design take into account its function and form.

These features contribute to a safer oyster knife that not only is a pleasure to use but offers a more incredible speed of action.

An oyster shucker knife should possess a textured grip to reduce the chances of the blade slipping out of your hand. 

The blade needs to be strong and preferably with a short but pronounced curved tip blade acting as a wedge when opening an oyster, clam, or similar shellfish. 

For good measure, the tip section should have a beveled edge to increase the effectiveness of the point. You don’t want a poor-quality blade that ends up blunt or with a bent tip after just a few uses.

A hand guard should incorporate a bolster to prevent injury to fingers slipping down onto the blade.

For extra rigidity and strength, stainless high-carbon steel is used in higher quality blades and continues as one piece into the handle: A full tang blade.

A stainless steel blade not only looks impressive but will resist rust and wear for many years of trouble-free use.

4. The Best Oyster Knives

1. Professional Shellfish & Oyster Shucking Knife 3" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

Professional Shellfish & Oyster Shucking Knife 3" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

PROS

  • This is a sturdy example of craftsmanship and will not let you down.
  • The 3.5” long stainless steel high carbon blade is forged to last for years.
  • Full through tang for extra strength and reliability, making this the perfect oyster shucker.
  • A precision-made pointed tip to ease and shuck the tightest of oyster shells to reveal the succulent salty taste we all recognize from oyster meat.
  • A triple-riveted handle made from a super-strong laminated epoxy material.
  • Safety has been exhaustively tested. The ergonomics of the handle and blade are complemented with a protective handguard bolster. The knife is specifically designed for the art of shucking oysters.

CONS

  • The handle may be less preferred as it’s distinctively larger than its 2.75” bladed counterpart.
  • The blade is half an inch longer and the smaller bladed alternatives may be preferable to some.

2. Professional Oyster & Clam Shucking Knife 3.5" | Shogun Series | Dalstrong ©

Professional Oyster & Clam Shucking Knife 3.5" | Shogun Series | Dalstrong ©

The ability to shuck a raw oyster is paramount, but to be able to do it with stylish seafood tools is a bonus! The ‘Shogun’ 3.5” oyster knife fits the bill perfectly with its sleek design and dark wood handle.

PROS

  • The high alloy Japanese stainless steel blade is dense and heavy, and the metal continues through the handle in what is known as a full tang for extra rigidity.
  • A slightly longer blade permits even more leverage over the 2.75” counterparts.
  • It’s no accident that the engraved rivets resemble a plateful of oysters!
  • A beautiful ergonomically designed handle.

CONS

  • Design is subjective, so some may prefer the broader handguard of the ‘Gladiator’ range.
  • The blade length may be a little long for some.
  • You may prefer more traditional looking German steel over this Japanese steel.

    3. Oyster Shucking Knife 2.75" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

    Oyster Shucking Knife 2.75" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

    PROS

    • This 2.75” bladed ‘Gladiator’ oyster knife is our shortest and perfect for the small oyster selections such as the small Pacific Oyster or the Japanese Kumamoto- a delicate melon-scented oyster from an area in Japan formerly known as the Higo Province.
    • Wood effect laminate handle made from dense and super-strong ‘Garolite,’ specially imported from Spain (think circuit boards and how strong they are).
    • Still robust as the ‘Gladiator’ name implies, this oyster knife is full tanged (The metal runs through the handle to the blade point in one piece) high-carbon stainless steel.

    CONS 

    • Some may prefer a slightly longer blade for deeper insertion into larger shellfish
    • Others still may prefer the thicker handles of other ranges

    5. Everything You Need To Know About Oysters

    Prawns and oysters and clams next to a oyster shucking knife on a black surface

    Oyster Shucking Knife 2.75" | Gladiator Series

    What can an oyster knife be used for?

    The blade is specifically made to shuck oysters and shellfish; It’s not recommended that you use them for anything else.

    What is the best oyster shucking knife?

    There is no honest short answer as it depends on the type of oyster (over 200 species known) and the ease of opening the clamshell. The best design is a blade that is thick, wide, and allows for comfortable leverage.

    What can I use if I don’t have an oyster knife?

    Using heat to open oysters is a proven method that works pretty well. 

    Place them on a griddle or skillet with the cupped side facing downward.

    Ensure the oyster’s hinge faces toward you in case of liquid spits or steam escapes. In that way, the steam is away from you as any oyster opens.

    How long does an oyster stay fresh?

    Some oysters can last for a couple of weeks in a raw state, depending on how they are kept (surrounded in ice cubes). Other species only have a shelf life of a few days. 

    Tip: It’s best to ask for advice from your fishmonger.

    Can you cook an oyster?

    Yes! Though more often than not, it’s safer to remove them from their shell. 

    You can bake, steam, or grill oysters. The golden rule is either ‘low heat- slow cook’ or ‘high heat- fast cook,’ or they’ll end up tough and rubbery. Otherwise, steam until the shell begins to open (and the ones that don’t open should be discarded)

    Are raw oysters better tasting than cooked?

    Most master chefs would agree that a raw oyster produces much more taste than one cooked. Cooking often loses the brine and a lot of the taste. Many oysters are treated after harvesting to prevent possible toxins. However, it’s argued that you might consider thoroughly cooking an oyster in a restaurant if unsure, and it’s probably wise to cook the larger and more meaty varieties.

    Are we overfishing oysters?

    It’s widely recognized that overfishing has brought many species of the oyster into a dangerous decline. However, once the world powers realized the damage already caused, the majority began introducing habitat restoration projects and quotas for fishing.

    How do you eat an oyster?

    Assuming you’ve followed the guides and have successfully opened the oyster, most people traditionally use little to enhance the taste and eat them raw. A little lemon juice or Tabasco, a quick slurp from the wide end of the shell, and you’re done! Lovely!

    6. Dalstrong Film - Oysterland

    An almost abandoned legacy. A river with a dwindling oyster population. And one impossible dream made real.

    In our latest feature film, we dive deeper into the story of the Rappahannock Oyster Co., speaking with cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton to learn how they're revolutionizing the shellfish industry in the Chesapeake Bay.

    With research and innovation, they helped transform the regional oyster population from nearly endangered to the beating heart of a thriving ecosystem.

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    Written by Mike Miller
    Mike is a late arrival to cooking. However, experimenting with vegetarianism and seafood is a new passion. That is if all the ingredients and tools are there! His curries are the talk of the family -and often in a good way! In his spare time, Mike has also discovered that walking ‘can’ be as enjoyable as driving after all!