The perfect slurp starts with the perfect shuck. A quality oyster-shucking knife is a must-have if you're shucking raw oysters. Oyster shucking knives are specifically designed to open oyster shells while withstanding the pressure and twisting motion needed to get the job done. As well, oyster shucking knives are often designed with specific oyster types or regions in mind– over the course of history new oyster knife designs have sprung up to make shucking oysters from a specific region even easier. Knowing what kind of knife to use and having a quality one hand will make shucking your oysters easier.
Main Types of Oyster Knives
There are over a dozen different styles of oyster-shucking knives. However, the three main styles of knives are the most popular on the market and will work for every style of oyster commonly found in the U.S.
New Haven Oyster Knife
This oyster-shucking knife style has a short, wide blade with a dull pointed tip. The blade is usually around 2 or 3 inches in length. They’re great for beginners because the dull, rounded tip has less chance of piercing the oyster’s meat. This knife is used by prying open the oyster at the hinge and then running down the edges of the shell.
Deglon Oyster Knife
The Deglon knife is a traditionally shaped oyster knife, very commonly used on the East Coast. It’s designed for opening small to medium-sized oysters from the side. While it’s about the same size as the New Haven Oyster Knife, it has a much sharper tip, purpose-built for slipping into the oyster shell at the side. This knife is a good choice for opening White Stone Oysters and is available on our site.
New York Oyster Knife
The New York Oyster Knife has a long blade, typically 4-6 inches, and a rounded tip. Since oysters in northern waters tend to grow bigger, this knife was specifically designed for opening larger oysters. If you fancy large oysters (over 3” or so in length) or love Pacific oysters (which tend to grow bigger in general), this knife is a great choice.
For us, there are two knives that stand out for opening White Stone Oysters and other Chesapeake Bay oysters.
The first is the custom oyster shucking knife we offer from Join or Die Knives. This custom oyster shucker is made exclusively for White Stone by Virginia's own Join or Die Knives. The handle is black walnut with an orange poly inlay. These oyster knives are made from AEB-L stainless steel and undergo their custom high-toughness heat treatment process. Designed with shucking Chesapeake oysters in mind, these blades will work well for our region's oysters but are durable and nimble enough to shuck oysters from any region.
“When I designed the Join or Die shucker, I was not looking to copy any existing style but to bring something new to the market. After designing something that felt comfortable and useful for shucking, the key was getting feedback from pros and enthusiasts. My shucker has undergone a few iterations but the current version is the result of years of tweaking to get the right combination of blade shape, heat treat, and finish.” says Brent Stubblefield, owner of Join or Die Knives.
The second recommendation is a Deglon-style oyster knife. We love these knives because they are purpose designed for opening the size of oysters that we grow. As well, they are very traditionally designed oyster shucking knives and are safe for beginning shuckers to learn with.