The Oyster Knife Designed By A Shucking Champion

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Learning how to shuck an oyster can be tricky. And if you spend much time on it, chances are good that there will be bloodshed. It's the oyster knife that Total Knife Care states usually causes injury due to knife slippage. That's why the pros wear metal gloves. But one oyster-shucking pro found a better way.

Patrick McMurray didn't grow up with an oyster knife in his hand but now considers himself a bit of an "oyster geek" (per Swissmar). Holding the Guinness World Record for shucking the most oysters in one minute (per Food & Wine), he says it's about finesse. "The difficulty of shucking an oyster comes from it being hard on the outside and soft on the inside," he told the University of Toronto. "You have to sever the muscle that holds the two shells together and serve the oyster without cutting the meat, so the competitions are a combination of speed and dexterity."

While speed may not be crucial for the average home shucker, choosing the right oyster knife is more than a matter of taste. Lacademie recommends considering the design of its handguard, handle, and selecting a tip that's right for the type of oyster you're shucking. But it's the dexterity issue that McMurray describes which may prove problematic when searching for a universal knife. 

McMurray told the University of Toronto that he relied upon his kinesiology education to design an ergo-dynamic oyster knife: The Swissmar Oyster Paddy that shucks them all just the same.

The knife's design

According to the Swissmar website, it took three years and 50 prototypes. The site describes how McMurray incorporated two axes. The shape of a pistol inspired the 135-degree angle. McMurray notes that this action is the "difference between turning a door knob or door handle." The better leverage from this approach enables oyster eaters to pop those bivalves open with ease, per Food & Wine Magazine. The outlet also notes that the finger guard wards off the unintentional self-harm other knives might promote.

Swissmar recommends holding the ambidextrous Shucker Paddy palm down while inserting the blade into the oyster's hinge about 2 millimeters. With a turn of your wrist, the knife revolves to snap the oyster apart. We know this may sound easier than it is. But, by the rave reviews on Amazon such as, "With this knife you simply don't have the inclination to prise. It just feels natural to twist to get the shell open and protecting the precious oyster inside," you'll feel like a pro in no time.

If you've never tasted an oyster before, McMurray explains that oysters offer a way to savor the sense of a place. He told the University of Toronto, "That little drop of ocean water has the flavour of the region it's been plucked from, so I can open up an oyster from Ireland here in Toronto and smell the sea breeze in western Ireland." So just maybe the Shucker Paddy can lead you to parts unknown.