Best Oyster Gear

From professional oyster shuckers to amateur oyster lovers, we all have many options of oyster knives and serving accessories to choose from nowadays. How do you pick out the best one for you?

The “Best Oyster Gear” is going to be relative. After you get the shucking technique down, a lot of it will depend on personal preference. I’ve accumulated a pretty hefty collection of oyster knives—mainly souvenirs from farm tours and events—but out of the 20-ish set, I typically only use two or three of them. Here are some ideas to help you shuck and serve oysters in style:

Dexter Russell Knife — Best Oyster Knife IdeasBest Oyster Knife

Over the years, my oyster knife preference has evolved. Depending on how you like to shuck (hinge, side, bill), your choice of shucker will be different. For me as a beginner, I started out with the Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe 4″ Boston Style Knife ($15), which has been my go-to knife for many years. It’s versatile enough for any shape and species of oyster, and the bulbed handle gives you good leverage. This knife also comes in a beautiful wooden handle model ($15) but it tends to rust/get dirty easier. BTW: If you’re new to shucking, check out my How to Shuck an Oyster video.

That being said, I am more comfortable using the R. Murphy Wellfleet Shucker (price varies) now. I find that a pointier tipped oyster makes getting into the hinge or the bill much easier. In many cases, I’ve seen professional shuckers grind down the blades to make them sharper.

Other options to consider:

Deglon 6″ Oyster Knife ($20)

Opinel Oyster & Shellfish Knife ($17)

Dexter-Russell 2.75″ New Haven Style Knife ($18)

The Shucker Paddy ($20)

Hand Protection

Shuck barehanded at your own risk. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I know of some badass oyster shuckers who prefer it that way. As for me, I’d like to keep my palms smooth and cut/blood free. Getting appropriate hand protection is simple. You can either use a kitchen towel that you don’t mind mucking up or wear a protective glove.

Oyster Glove

These Kevlar-coated gloves ($9) will usually do the trick. Although in full disclosure, I have punctured through one of these before while shucking in my hand. Tip: don’t ever point the knife into your hand while shucking.

Or if you want to go pro, consider this Stainless Steel Mesh ($70-100) glove. I love mine and it always gets comments when I bring it out. Who knew people were so intrigued by chain mail?? These Youngstown gloves ($26-30) are also pretty legit and handy for other outdoorsy stuff.

Kitchen TowelThe Half Sheller: Best Oyster Gear

Sometimes instead of using a glove, I prefer to hold down my oyster with a folded kitchen towel like this set ($16) or one of these. It doesn’t have to be fancy or very large. I would suggest buying patterned or dark colored towels. They WILL get dirty.

Shucking Board

I am a big fan of the Littledeer Half Sheller ($40, available through Williams-Sonoma) shucking board. It helps keep the oyster in place and collects grit and juices along the outside ridge. It also doubles as a nice oyster serving tray! It’s an elegant, durable and portable product for the stylish oyster shucker.

Cooking & Serving

There’s more to oysters than just eating them raw. Although I prefer them au naturel, there are tons of tasty cooked oyster recipes out there to try. One of the coolest things you can do is bake/grill an oyster in its shell. The tricky part is to keep it steady so that the juices or whatever the topping is doesn’t spill out. Fortunately, there are a few great tools to handle just that.

BBQ Oyster Grill

I tested out version 1.0 a few years ago, and since then, 2.0 has come out and is even better. This nifty bed-of-needles-like tray will make sure that even the most awkward shell will stay put. The BBQ Oyster Grill is the perfect accessory for every oyster lover’s grilling station.

10818094_794901440555636_2051263538_nLoftin Oyster Shell Stoneware

If you don’t want to even deal with shucking and shells, these Loftin Oysters might be just the ticket. They’re super cute and come in the sweetest little package. Get a pint of shucked meats and get inspired by New Orleans oyster cuisine.

The Oyster Bed

Freshly funded off of Kickstarter, The Oyster Bed is innovative cooking and serving tray perfect for oysters and many other dishes. The design is unlike all other conventional oyster plates in that the crevices all flow into one central cavity.