In light of the previous post exhorting everyone to cook all shellfish, we thought it appropriate to offer a guide to barbecuing oysters.
- Barbecue. Or fire.
- Oyster knife (or equivalent), plus gloves, hot pads, and/or tongs for handling hot shells.
- Pot of melted butter and garlic, hot sauce, horseradish, lemon, etc.
- Oysters. If you're feeling adventurous, you could buy oyster clusters as opposed to oyster singles. They're more difficult to barbecue than oyster singles, but a whole lot cheaper. We sell oyster clusters by the bushel in our retail store (they're not available online) for a price so cheap we're embarrassed to tell it to you. You need to pre-order the bushel of clusters... call 888-877-5844 to find out more or to place an order.
- Step 1: Place the oysters on the barbecue. If you're barbecuing singles, be sure and place the oysters on the grill with the cupped-side down. (The cupped side of the oyster shell is also called the bottom shell).
- Normally, the oysters will cook open on their own, as in the picture above. Sometimes they're a little trickier, and they cook without opening up. If the oysters sound hollow when you tap them with your knife, then they're probably ready, and you can go ahead and pry them open with your knife.
- Step 2. When the oyster opens up, you can either A) sever the remaining muscles that connect the meat to the shell, and slide the oyster into your pot of melted butter, or B) remove the top shell, sever the bottom muscle, and leave the oyster unadorned in its bottom shell. At this point, we like to spoon a little of the butter/garlic sauce onto the oyster.
Warning: Oysters sometimes pop open violently as they cook, spitting out hot oyster liquid and bits of shell. To avoid injury, try to aim the fluted end of the oyster away from you, or just place a lid over the barbecue.