The Unorthodox Epicure — Garlic Butter Grilled Oysters

My infatuation with oysters is odd. I’ve eaten them since childhood — though I’ve never really been crazy about them. I think it all began when my father, an avid oyster eater, mentioned that he’d once found a pearl while eating a fried version of the popular bivalve mollusk. I was perhaps seven or eight-years-old, and I immediately resolved to build my own collection of pearls.

I’ve yet to create a strand of pearls, but I’ve come to appreciate oysters. Despite the oyster variety, the flavor is distinctive to the local habitat.  Our local (Texas Gulf) oysters are the Crassostrea virginica variety (‘Eastern’ oysters) and are a bit on the sharp briny side. Fried, they go very well with your everyday shrimp cocktail sauce. They are among the few varieties that offer up enough flavor complexity to be eaten ‘naked’ on the half-shell, though my teenage son prefers his with a splash of Louisiana-style hot sauce.

My favorite preparation for oysters is on the grill. Not only does grilling tone down the sharpness slightly, it brings on a slew of flavors not present in any other method of cooking. The following recipe is just basic. Keep the butter and swap out whatever else appeals to your taste — or complements your local oyster variety.

Garlic Butter Grilled Oysters

Garlic Butter Grilled Oysters — This ain't your average bivalve mollusk!

Garlic Butter Grilled Oysters — This ain’t your average bivalve mollusk!

12 – Oysters, freshly shucked on the half-shell
1/2 cup (1 stick) – Unsalted butter
2 TB – Lemon juice
2 – Garlic cloves, minced
1 TB – Chives, minced

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Grilled Oysters2Combine butter, lemon juice, garlic and chives. Microwave for about 45 seconds, until butter is melted. Whisk to combine. Place the oysters (shell-side down) on the grill grate*. Whisk butter mixture again and fill each oyster shell, so that the meat is essentially poached in the garlic lemon butter. Close grill and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Douse with Louisiana-style hot sauce, if desired.

*- Many people recommend placing rock salt on a grill pan, and cooking oysters on top of the rock salt. Why do this? It’s simply a way of keeping oysters from tipping and evenly distributed from the heat source. I prefer my oysters cooked directly over the flame, as it adds excellent flavor.

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  1. MAJOR yum alert! Your oysters remind me of our trip to NOLA last October. We at grilled oysters on the half shell at Drago and I swooned at every bite. Unfortunately, we can’t get fresh ones up here without putting a second mortgage on the house, so I’ll just live vicariously through your awesome photos and my good memories 🙂

    • adamjholland says:

      Isn’t Drago the place with the famous chargrilled oysters? Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  2. Nancy Teodori says:

    All your recipes are mouth watering.

  3. I echo Becca. These remind me of our trip to NOLA in March. We ate ours at Acme. YUM!

  4. We all love oysters here and it’s a guarantee that I can get my daughter to book me into her hectic schedule. You know I’ve never tried them on the grill and I don’t know why but I got a terrific stocking stuffer last Christmas that I’ve been waiting to try out – a clam/oyster shucking knife. Now although I made a dozens of clams Casino and on the half shell for Christmas Eve, no one thought to go ahead and give me my new knife. So it’s sitting there waiting for a test drive and oysters are calling me.

  5. Oysters always remind me of that very sad (albeit it … yummy) scene THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER from the Disney cartoon ALICE IN WONDERLAND, where the walrus lures the baby oysters out of the ocean and onto shore where he proceeds to eat them.

    These look delicious and it is such a good thing our families live thousands of miles away from each other because we would be those annoying friends who always “pop in” around dinner time.

    • adamjholland says:

      You wouldn’t pop in here, Megan, because we’d treat you like family and insist that you help clean the dishes. Still, you’re welcome any time. 🙂

  6. Wow, these grilled oysters look so delicious!! I’m definitely going to try them myself. Thank you for sharing!!

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