July 11, 2008: How to Barbecue Oysters


In light of the previous post exhorting everyone to cook all shellfish, we thought it appropriate to offer a guide to barbecuing oysters.

You need:

  1. Barbecue. Or fire.
  2. Oyster knife (or equivalent), plus gloves, hot pads, and/or tongs for handling hot shells.
  3. Pot of melted butter and garlic, hot sauce, horseradish, lemon, etc.
  4. 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.



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  • Rich Jacobson on

    Next to fried, this is my favorite way of serving up oysters. There are few things better in life then sitting down to some fresh Dungeness Crab caught that day and a few dozen Hood Canal Oysters cooked over the fire pit. We usually prepare two or three different sauces – melted butter/garlic, BBQ sauce, and Teriyaki….YUM!…

  • Oyster Fan on

    Hi Laurie,
    You can parboil shucked oysters, put them on skewers, and then barbecue them. (Most people who do this wrap the oysters in bacon before skewering them). We also sell little handmade clay “oyster cookers” in our retail store that allow you to cook a shucked oyster in an oven or barbecue. I’ve never tried to put a raw, shucked oyster directly onto the barbecue… it might be kind of messy. If you try it let us know how it goes!

  • Laurie on

    How about oysters which are already out of their shell. Can I still grill these on the barbecue?

  • Oyster Fan on

    Grilled oysters are delicious, and as an extra bonus you don’t have a pan to clean up afterwards. You can also get quite creative with grilled oysters, try topping them with a little parmesan cheese, chopped garlic, bread crumbs, bacon, fruit chutneys, or whatever else strikes your fancy. My personal favorite way to cook oysters is to blanch them, bread them, and then fry them. Good luck!

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