Oyster are the perfect hors d'oeuvre: Cold and briny with the fresh, salty-air scent of the ocean. Paired with a crisp white wine or Champagne, they are a thing of beauty.
To get the most out of them, you'll need the best oyster knife; a special dull-pointed, thick-bladed knife that is used to pry the back hinge open and separate the body from the shell.
A good oyster knife is one that allows you to probe and pry, rather than cut or slice into anything. So a sharp-edged knife is not what we really need here. Rather, something that allows you good purchase and leverage against the most stubborn of oysters.
Our run down of the top 5...
The very reasonably priced Victorinox is sturdy and has a great grip that feels both comfortable and strong.
Grip is just as important as blade when it comes to oyster knives, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the Victorinox. It has a slip-free grip that means that even when wet, the knife will stay firmly set in your palm.
This beautiful tool from Hicoup is wonderfully crafted as well as sturdy. It doesn’t compromise on resilience however, and is more than up to task when it comes to shucking hundreds of oysters.
It’s thick and strong, giving you no trouble when you need to get stuck in.
3. Wusthof 4281
This Wusthof oyster tool is a strong beast. Its shape makes it great for approaching side-on as well as the hinge, and its surface is non-scratch. This knife is built to last and absolutely worth the added expense.
At the other end of the price scale is this tool by Rakuen. Like the very best, it has anti-slip grip and and an angled tip.
What might put you off? It’s a long blade at nearly 4 inches, which doesn’t make it the easiest to use. And its grip is perhaps not the most comfortable.
Rounding off our list is this model from Charleston. Its blade appearance is beautiful, making it a wonderful gift for oyster newcomers. It has a steel guard to protect your hand, and its blade is one of the strongest we’ve ever seen. A must have.
Here’s what to look out for when choosing your knife…
Oysters contain a lot of natural salt which can be incredibly corrosive on metal, so to combat this we need a material that is resistant to even the harshest of salt bodies. Stainless steel is your friend. Look out for any knife featuring 420hc. It’s one of the most corrosion resistant stainless steels available, so it’s no surprise to see it featured in a lot of professional kitchen knives.
We’re looking for something light and easy to use, but strong at the same time. Long blades will be prone to bending or snapping, so aim to look for anything under 3 inches long.
New Haven Tip
Not only do we need a short and resilient blade, but we need one especially designed for prying oysters out of their shell. Meet the New Haven Tip. It’s a special blade tip that is upturned to help you pry even the most stubborn oysters out of their shell while also retaining their natural shape.
So easily forgotten due to the focus on blade strength and shape, but it’s imperative that you choose a knife with a large and comfortable grip for you to hold. Take your hand size into account when choosing your blade.
As mentioned with choosing a good grip, the weight of your knife also needs to suit you. Shucking oysters can be a lengthy process, so you need something that you will be comfortable using for extended periods of time. Shucking oysters should be fun, not tedious.