Oysters are an acquired taste, most would say.
For me, I feel as though I’ve always loved them, so when I come across someone who feels a little iffy about them, I jump at the chance to teach them to love them the way I do.
Enter Grilled Oysters.
These amazing gems are different than what most folks have tried. For starters, they are easy to prepare and require no prep except getting a grill hot and ready. The oysters are placed on the grill as is (if you’re worried about grit, rinse them well) and open naturally from the heat of the flames.
After only about 10 minutes or so, they are ready to be enjoyed. Their flavor is smoky and the meat tender, yet firm. If you (or someone you love) has an aversion to the texture of raw or poached oysters, then this is the recipe that will win them over completely.
Perhaps my favorite part is that purchasing raw oysters (if you live close enough to the ocean to get them) is wildly less expensive than ordering them from a restaurant menu. What does this mean? The overall cost is not off-putting and you can buy more! Expect to have at least half a dozen per person, often more. Melt some of the Old Bay Compound Butter you made earlier this month and baste a little on once they are finished cooking but still hot. Remember, just a little goes a long way.
If you love oysters, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them raw. Just make sure you have a skilled shucker on hand! There are great tips on the internet for learning how to do this yourself.
I’d say if you’re celebrating the Fourth of July and want something different this year, go with this recipe for Grilled Oysters below and you’ll have the winning dish on the dinner -or picnic- table!
Now I’m off to relax, enjoy the sun, recover from my ridiculous sun burn (yes I wore sunscreen, just swam a bit too much yesterday) and lounge at night with my boys in sandy sheets watching our favorite show: Poirot.
Thank goodness for beach traditions, family & food!
MAIN Grilled Oysters
Yield 4 servings
If you're lucky enough to live where fresh oysters are sold, pick some up and get started with this easy recipe!
2 dozen oysters, raw (your choice on type but I'm partial to the famous Chincoteague Salts)
charcoal for the grill
Old Bay Compound Butter (recipe to follow), as a garnish
- Once you've purchased your oysters, keep them in a cold fridge, or better yet, on ice in a cold fridge until ready to grill.
- Rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove grit from the outside, however be prepared for a little grit and shell on the inside once they're grilled! It's part of the magic, trust me.
- Heat up your grill (I prefer charcoal to gas) and once hot, place oyster shells (they should be closed) on the grill and flip after about 8 minutes.
- You'll know they're done once they've opened. Use tongs to transfer to a heat-proof plate, and with a pastry brush, spread a small amount of Old Bay Compound Butter inside each oyster if desired.
Other serving suggestions: regular butter with salt, lemon juice or mignonette sauce. I often stay away from cocktail sauce as I feel it's flavor can overpower the sweet & subtle taste of the oysters.
Old Bay Compound Butter
Who says compound butter has to be all chopping and lemon-squeezing?? I prefer this simple flavored butter for the dinner table while I'm at the beach, and it goes with just about anything...if you like Old Bay on your Old Bay at least.
2 sticks unsalted butter
1-2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon (ah, ok I lied), zested and juiced
hot sauce, optional
- Bring butter out the day before you'll be working with it and allow it to slowly come to room temperature in its packaging.
- When ready, remove butter papers and place sticks in a medium bowl.
- Add half of the Old Bay and lemon zest + juice to start and mix together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Once thoroughly mixed (you don't want any Old Bay lumps in there to surprise your palate), taste and add more seasoning and lemon if needed. *If you like things spicy, add a splash of hot sauce, too!
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave on the counter, using as needed.
- Remember that you can always melt some like this to use for dipping crab, shrimp, or clams in.