It’s a knife with a singular purpose. It’s so dull, and blunt, it can do little else than what it was designed for. Slicing cheese? Impossible. Opening a package? Don’t even try. Prying open an oyster and slicing it from the inside of its shell? No problem.
The humble oyster knife is a requirement for home shuckers, and in my opinion, an essential for every kitchen and/or beach house.
In the past, I’ve had great luck with one from R. Murphy Knives x Ball and Buck. It’s got a wood handle, sturdy blade and did a pretty much perfect job during my trip to Cape Breton last summer. But alas, I left it with my host as a parting gift - the least I could do for helping me get into some of the biggest freshest oysters I’ve ever seen.
So last weekend, with the sun setting over the mighty Essex river, a friend and I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. With a 100 count bag of oysters ordered from Island Creek Oysters, we figured we’d have ample oysters to test which knife performed the best.
The R. Murphy x Island Creek Oyster Knife
Similar to the one I used in Cape Breton, though instead of a wood handle, it has a bright orange rubber grip that’s great for when things get slippery and is also easy to find in a sea of shells, ice and unopened oysters. $20.
Opinel Oyster Knife
As a longtime carrier of Opinel products I’ve always been curious and a bit suspicious of this certain product. Opinel knives feature a flip out blade with locking collar, something that seemed not ideal for the force required to shuck an oyster. But, the collar did hold up, at least the day we tried it, and the wide blade was really helpful for prying the oyster open. $20
The Victorinox Swiss Army Oyster Knife
Switzerland has long been known for their sweet and briney mollusks grown in Lake Geneva. Very similar to the Murphy knife, but with a slightly wider and longer blade that actually came in handy for the pry part of the shuck. Very affordable. $9
We shucked oysters will all of the knives and while some were better for some oysters, they were worse on others. Given the vast array of shapes and sizes of oysters (in bays alone, let along regions or countries), it seems pretty much impossible to find one knife that’s perfect for all of them. I’m guessing this is why R.Murphy Knives makes so many variations of their oyster knives. That said, my favorite was the orange Island Creek x Murphy knife for no other reason than the glowing orange handle that’s hard to lose amongst the party detritus. It's the lightsaber of oyster knives. It's sturdy and had excellent slicing capabilities that made it easier to free the oyster from the shell.
Bottom line, the best shucking knife is the one that’s in your hand.
Also, wear a glove. Happy shucking.