Lobster, crab, and oysters; oh my! Coastal living and fresh-caught seafood go hand in hand. However, you don’t have to live near the coast or at the beach to be able to enjoy quality seafood dishes and you don’t have to go out to a fancy seafood restaurant and spend lots of money on a dish that you can make at home! Learning how to cook great seafood at home will save you lots of money, and you’ll love being able to whip up mouthwatering seafood for your dinner guests. When it comes to shellfish, oysters are one of the most popular dishes. You can cook them a variety of different ways, and they can either be an appetizer or the main meal.
Some of you may be intimidated by cooking oysters or have tried before, and they didn’t come out just right. You may hate the idea of having to shuck an oyster and feel that it’s just a lot of extra work. This is partially true because shucking oysters can be tricky and frustrating. One way to get around this is to grill your oysters in the shell without having to shuck them. This takes the hassle out of shucking and will give your oysters a natural smoked flavor. This method of grilling oysters in their shell will work with any type of oyster but keep in mind that using smaller species of oysters like Kumamotos, Olympias, and other Pacific oysters may fall through the cooking grate. You can always line your grill grate with aluminum foil and poke a few holes in it when cooking smaller oysters to ensure they don’t slip through the grill grate. With the following, simple grilling method, you will be able to grill perfect oysters in their shell everytime.
- You can use either a charcoal or gas grill. Make sure you have preheated your grill before grilling your oysters. You should be able to feel the heat about an inch above the grill grate.
- While the grill is preheating rinse your fresh oysters and drain them. You can lay them on a paper towel and pat them dry. You don’t want to put wet oysters on the grill; it could potentially put out your coals and lower the temperature of the grill.
- Place your oysters, cupped side down, directly on the grill grate. Remember, don’t forget the aluminum foil if you are cooking small oysters. You can cook a few oysters or load up your grill with as much as it can hold. Your oysters will cook evenly as long as they placed in a single layer.
- Once you have placed your oysters on the grill, close the lid. Leave them covered and allow the oysters to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Check smaller oysters near the 5-minute mark and larger oysters at about the 7-minute mark. You will know they are done when the oysters have opened their shells and are opaque in color. They should be cooked through but not dried out. Keep in mind, oysters will not completely open their shells. You will be able to lift the top shell, but they won’t actively open up the way cooked clams and mussels do.
- Using heavy duty grilling mitts or tongs carefully remove the oysters from the grill when they are finished cooking.
- Now, you need to remove the top shell. Once the top shell is removed, you can use a sharp knife to release the oyster from the bottom shell. Serve these babies right off the grill, while they’re still hot, for ultimate flavor!
Other Ways to Serve Grilled Oysters
You can sauce your grilled oysters after removing the top shell. Simply remove the top shell and place the oysters back on the grill grate. This is where you can get creative. Top your half-shelled oysters with barbeque sauce, a little bit of pesto or some hot sauce. You can go the traditional route and top your oysters with butter but feel free to get creative and come up with your own, favorite oyster sauce recipe. If you cooked more than you needed don’t throw them out! You can save the leftovers for a batch of oyster stew or oyster chowder.