Is There Such A Thing As A Bad Oyster Knife? We Asked An Expert Chef

Oyster knives probably aren't the most commonplace items you'll find in a home kitchen. This doesn't mean you're locked out of the oyster club, though, if you're among the many who don't have one on hand. There are other ways to shuck an oyster than with a knife made especially for the task. In fact, you don't necessarily have to shuck an oyster to open it at all. If you still want to use a tool, though, there's really no such thing as a bad option.

When Mashed asked Calvin Hwang, executive chef at Figure Eight in New York City, what people should look for (or avoid) in an oyster knife, he said that the type of tool isn't the most important factor. "The only important thing," he said, "is how the handle feels in your hand," especially if you're shucking a lot of oysters at once. As long as you have the technique right — inserting the knife into the hinge of the oyster and twisting upwards to pop it open — even the most unassuming of tools will work in your favor.

What to use when you don't have an oyster knife

In terms of alternative tools, Calvin Hwang says, "You can literally open an oyster with car keys or a butter knife." So anything with an edge should work. There's a hack for opening an oyster with a flathead screwdriver, for example. Besides something to pry the oyster open with, the only other piece of equipment you need when shucking an oyster, according to Hwang, is "a clean towel." Hwang adds that this is necessary for two reasons: to protect your free hand from being nicked during shucking and to keep your hand clean throughout the process.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you can't find your oyster knife, or if you never had one in the first place, you don't need to go to the store or fall to the floor in a panic. The solution can be found in your kitchen drawer, your knife block, or even in your back pocket. Just make sure you cover your hands with a fresh towel, get your chosen tool nice and clean, and start shucking!