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Shuck U: The Right Tool

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The big brute of the oyster-shucking world is called a "Galveston knife" (on the left). It's an eight-inch knife with a stout four-inch blade designed for opening large oysters like the five-inch Espiritu Santo Bay oyster shown beside it. (Espritu Santo Bay is down around Port O'Connor.) The knife shown is an inexpensive plastic model available at restaurant supply stores for under $10.

America's best-known oyster shucking knife is the "Chesapeake stabber" (in the middle) which is a seven-inch knife with a bulb-shaped handle and a tapered four-inch blade. The pointy tip and thinner blade makes it easier to open normal-sized oysters like the three-inch Apalachicola Bay oyster shown beside it. Most serious oysters shuckers have a wooden-handled version of this knife in their toolbox. The plastic version is under $10 at a restaurant suppy store.

A tiny sharp oyster knive (right) is sometimes called a "Frenchman." They are made to open smaller and more fragile oysters like the Pacific oyster (left) and Kumamoto (right). The purple knife in the picture came free with a box of Beausoleil oysters, a tiny Virginica from New Brunswick, Canada.

I used to have some nice wooden-handled oyster knives, but they were confiscated by airport security at the Little Rock airport a couple of years ago. Oyster knife collectors pay big bucks for vintage specimens, so don't throw your old ones away.

-Robb Walsh

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