Oyster season is well underway in the Lowcountry. As a long running staple in the community, these delectable sea treats have been roasted and celebrated for hundreds of years. It’s on record from the late 1890s of large gatherings held, consuming fire roasted oysters accompanied by frothy pints of beer.
You can easily recreate this Southern ceremonial tradition in your own backyard. The methods and supplies needed to roast are fairly simple. Here’s the rundown:
- Bushels of fresh oyster clusters, depending on the number of guests. Plan on at least 1 dozen oysters per person. (One bushel of oysters feeds about 4-6 people.)
- A large piece of sheet metal or metal slab to fit over a gas burner, wood fire or a large pot and steamer tray.
- Make sure you scrub and rinse the oysters before roasting them. Discard any oysters that are already opened. Cover them with wet burlap or a wet scent-free towel and grill them in batches. Cook for about 6-8 minutes and serve them up hot.
- Oyster knives, lemon, cocktail sauce, crackers. These items are in tall order, and are essential to the consumption process.
Many arguments can be made on what to drink. Although cold brews are fundamental to any oyster roast, we think as long as you’re in good company you can cheers’ with anything. Charlestonians still gather and carry on the tradition of oyster roasting. If you’re ever in town this time of year, come and check out the Lowcountry Oyster Festival.