Saturday, September 15, 2007

BBQ Oysters

For the oyster lovers out there, my latest passion is to BBQ them. I like the idea of cooking them, and love to BBQ, so this is big fun. I've tried many here on the Island, many raw and many done as Oysters Rockefeller, but sorry, I like my way better.

BBQ oysters probably date back to time immemorial and the Indians. The principle is to cook the oyster over fire, hot rocks, or whatever - and when done, the oyster will open itself. No need to stab yourself in the hand with an oyster knife, nice.

I saw one recipe dated 1884 that was probably the shortest recipe ever written - just wash the oysters clean, put in a pan, and cook on medium heat until they open, about three to ten minutes depending on your fire. Most people back then roasted oysters, made oyster stew, or whatever. Some do the same idea right ob the BBQ grill, without the pan (nice naked touch there, some hissing as some juice flows when they open). As is today, eating raw ones was considered risky business.

A few pointers: right off the fire, those oysters are hot as the devil and have maybe a teaspoon of boiling water in them. I use clean gloves and tong for this job, and put the cooked oysters in a pan to cool for a minute. I also have a very large screwdriver in case the oyster needs some encouragement to open up all the way.

Serving them is fun, since everyone has their own ideas what to do, although garlic-butter sauce is always a winner. Notice that the oyster meat is small and not so goopy looking. You might need a small knife to separate the meat from the muscle. Myself, I like them just plain or with a shot of Cholula hot sauce, just a dab. Salsa, cheese sauce, fruit, and all kinds of stuff work though. Lori fixes hers with spinach and bacon bits sometimes.

My experiment with using Sargasso seaweed didn't go so well though. This is a North Carolina tradition thought to be handed down from the Indians - but mine caught fire. I had no idea seaweed could burn so well! Yeah, life of the party ... see you on the beach sometime.

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