Which Type of Oyster Knife Do You Need?
Whether you offer raw oysters on the half shell or serve oyster chowder, your kitchen staff should be equipped with the right tools to prep hundreds of oysters each day. Oyster knives are designed to facilitate the shucking process, with short blades that fit into the hinges or sides of the oysters and can be used to separate the shell; when necessary, they can also be used to separate the oyster meat from the shell.
Just as oysters come in different shapes and sizes, there is more than one type of oyster knife to choose from. Most oyster knives have pear-shaped handles, though the length of the handles varies; occasionally you will find a handle shaped more like an elongated oval. However, what truly distinguishes one oyster knife from the next is the shape and length of the blade. Learn the differences between the four types of oyster knives below.
Types of Oyster Knives
The Boston oyster knife is characterized by a longer, narrower blade that ends in a rounded tip. This style is generally preferred when the oysters are shucked from the sides, instead of the hinges.
The Galveston oyster knife also has a longer blade with a rounded tip, but it is wider than the Boston style. It is often used to shuck medium and large oysters.
The New Haven style of oyster knife features a shorter, wider blade with a pointed tip that curves upward. The curved tip facilitates the shucking of oysters that will be served on the shell, since it helps avoid damaging the meat.
The Providence style also has a short, wide blade with a straight, pointed tip. This oyster knife is recommended for shucking small- and medium-sized oysters with the hinge method.
Oyster knives are most commonly made with stainless steel blades, though some manufacturers use other proprietary steel blends. Handles are commonly made of polypropylene, which may be textured to improve the user's grip, or wood, and some designs include finger guards where the handles meet the blades. No matter which type of oyster knife you choose to keep in your kitchen, it's important for cooks to protect their non-knife hands with cut-resistant gloves. These help prevent injury that could be caused by the oyster knife slipping into the hand holding the oyster during shucking.