Best Oyster Shucking Knife and Guide to Shucking



Best Oyster Shucking Knife and Guide to Shucking

We have been eating lots of oysters lately.  My family loves them.  I am a sea food fan but I really am kind of lazy when it comes to eating. My favorite foods are usually those that I can shovel on to a spoon and eat all of it. Or, like kimbap, I can just grab with some chopsticks and eat. That rules out most sea food, at least in Korea.  Most of the sea food here is prepared and served fresh and with all the bones in.

So when it comes to oysters, I like to just eat them raw straight out of the shell. But that means that someone has to open those shells.  So I decided to research that process and find out exactly how it is done.  Here I have documented everything I’ve learned about shucking oysters.  I explain the best oyster shucking method and the best knife to use.

Wanna Go Ahead and Buy the Best Knife:

3. The Wusthof 4281 Oyster Knife

Click to See Price

About the Oyster

best oyster shucking knife

First of all lets take a look at the oyster. If you look at it closely there is a kind of flat side and a more round side.  The round side is the bottom.  That is where the oyster is and the oyster liquor are hanging out.  The oyster is connected to the top and bottom shell.

We live close by the ocean here and get fresh oyster pretty easily.  But you want to make sure that an oyster is fresh.  There are a few ways of doing this:

  1. Use your nose – you know how bad dead fish smell and you can quickly smell a dead oyster the same way. But a good oyster will have that sea water smell to it, it is a much more fresh smell
  2. Observe the shell – if the shell has been broken then the oyster is probably dead so make sure that the shell is fully intact
  3. Tap it – if you tap the oyster shell it should close itself a little tighter also if it sounds hollow when you tap it then throw it away
  4. Take a look at the oyster – after you open the oyster and it looks all dried then its bad. toss it.

Shucking the shuck

When I first heard the word shuck, I was a little confused but according to the online dictionary shuck in noun form is the shell of an oyster or clam and shuck the verb means to remove the shuck from. I love how in English we can make nouns into verbs very easily. So remember that shuck can be the shell of either an oyster or a clam and to shuck is the process of shucking the shuck from the oyster or clam. 🙂

How to Open an Oyster (Shucking an Oyster)

To prepare you will need to first wash the oyster shells a bit.  This is good to get the dirt and excess shell cleaned off.  This is especially important if you want to eat or serve the oysters in the shell.

There are a few different processes to actually opening the shell and some people really take their shucking technique serious but I am going to show you the easiest method I know of.

Another good word with oysters is oyster liquor.  This is that salt watery liquid that the oyster is living in that is inside the shell.  It can be used or discarded.

The tools you will need for this activity are:

  1. A pair or sturdy hands
  2. Shucking Knife (I review a few of these below)
  3. Epica Cut Resistant Gloves with CE Level 5 Protection (Amazon Link)– These and only these gloves will work, just kidding, but really you need any cut resistant gloves to be safe
  4. A thick towel that you don’t mind getting a little muddy

Before step 1 – put on your cut resistant gloves.

Step 1 – fold over your towel once to create a nice padded surface (hot dog fold). Lay your oyster shell down with the curvy side down.

Step 2 – find the back of the oyster where there should be a little lip where the bottom shell sticks out slightly and the top shell curves in to form a little hinge. This part of the shell is a little more narrow than the other flatter side.

Step 3 – fold over part of the towel so it is covering the front side of the shell (not the hinge part) and hold it in place with one hand.

Step 4 – tilt the oyster back with the opposite hand so that the hinge is facing upward. Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the oyster hinge and wiggle it in while applying a little pressure. Be careful not to jam it in too far.

Step 5 – once the knife is in about a quarter of an inch and kind of stiff then turn the knife away from you (twisting your knuckles down) and you should pop it open. This might make a little pop noise and you will be able to feel it.

Step 6 – take your shucking knife back out and insert it horizontally scraping the bottom of the top shell to cut the oyster muscle.  Then remove the top shell.

Step 7 – there may be a little mud or left over shell crumbs on the side of the bottom oyster, wipe those off gently

Step 8 – with your shucking knife again run the blade under the bottom of the oyster to cut it from the bottom shell

Step 9 – now depending on which recipe you want to use, you can take the oyster out or leave it in with the oyster liquor (oyster fluid)

The Best Oyster Shucking Knife

Now that you know the process you are probably wondering which oyster shucker to buy.  The oyster shucking knife is not like other knives in that it is not sharp.  According to the process that we just discussed to actually open the oyster shell, the only time it is used to cut is the very weak and floppy oyster muscle that is attached to the shell.  So when looking for an oyster knife remember that the sharpness is not a factor.

But what is a factor…

An oyster knife should be pointy, thin, wide, and sturdy.  The other parts of the knife depend on your preference.  A good oyster shucker should be thin and wide because you want that flat leverage when you pry open the oyster hinge. If it is too thick then you won’t be able to wedge it into the hinge. [what was the knife i used in the pictures above?]

The best on Amazon:

1. The Victorinox 2 3/4 Inch Hook tip

This knife is sturdy and has a great grip. The red color handle is comfortable and feels strong. The price is reasonable and amazon customers seem to really love it. Victorinox has a few good products that I like.

Pros of this knife

The good thing about this knife is that is has a really good tip.  From the shucking process we discussed earlier, you can see that the tip is very important.  Also the small overall size and good grip make this an easy and portable option.

Cons of this knife

Might not be quite strong enough for bulk usage.  I would recommend this knife for personal use on normal sized oysters.  But if you want to tackle bulk with large oysters then you might want to find a stronger oyster knife.

2. The Oyster Knife by HiCoup

This is a really pretty knife.  The quality is good and it feels nice.  This is a good knife if you are looking for a groomsman gift.

Pros of this shucker

The best thing about this knife is the quality and the look.  It is very strong and sturdy.  The wooden handle design and curve are very comfortable. When I think of a good knife for shucking, I think of this one. The price is also reasonable.

Cons of this shucking knife

The only bad thing about this knife is that it is a little thick compared to the other ones.  If you are opening small oysters then the blade might not fit into the hinge.

3. The Wusthof 4281 Oyster Knife

This guy is a beast.  It is German made with a fat and short blade.  It is very strong and good for all types of oyster shells. The best oyster shucker out there.

Pros of this one

This is a great overall oyster knife.  The handle is strong and sturdy, the blade is short and wide. It is easy to get into large and small sized oysters with this knife.

Cons of this knife

The price. In my opinion it is over priced. But if you want a quality oyster knife that you don’t have to worry about breaking and having to return, then it could be worth it for you.

A Few Oyster Recipes

So now that you have your tools and your technique all done, what do you do? Eat the oysters ofcoarse. Oysters are delicious. They have a great fresh ocean taste. I don’t really like the really sea-foody-fishy foods that some fish have, but that’s not the case with oysters. Here are a few delicious sauces to try together with your oysters:

1 Cucumber Mignonette Sauce:

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 shallot finely chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
2 pinches of ground black pepper
1 chili pepper finely chopped

Combine ingredients together in a bowl, mix slightly and refrigerate for one hour.

2 Tabasco Cocktail Sauce

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Juice from one lemon squeezed
4 drops Tabasco
tiny splash of Worcestershire Sauce
2 minced garlic cloves

Just combine all these ingredients in one bowl mix and cover.  It is best to let it sit for at least an hour, preferably in the fridge.

3 Our Quick Chogochujang Recipe

We make this by combining soysauce with a little vinegar and gochujang (red pepper paste).  This is a type of chogojujang sauce.  I really like this one the best.  But to be honest I don’t eat this with every oyster.  I usually like to do every other oyster or even every third oyster.  I like to get the oyster taste flavor and then a little bit of this hot sauce. Warning this sauce might be spicy for you so be sure to test just a little first.


The world of wonderful oysters is now at your fingertips.  We have covered a little about oyster anatomy, how to open oysters, the tools you will need to get the job done, as well as a few ways to prepare them.  So now what should you do? Well first I recommend buying one of those oyster shucking knives on amazon. If you already have then tell me in the comments which one you bought or what you think is the best one.

Then try these recipes and let me know how they add to the oyster flavor for you. Have a wonderful time eating your oysters.  I know I had a great time learning and writing about them and eating them.

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