Put Another Shell on the Barbie!

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor

For two weeks, we’ve got top chefs sharing their little-known tricks for backyard cooking.

Photo credit: Food 52

Grilled oysters. The dish sounds like an impossibility, but really, it’s easier to produce than a perfectly cooked ribeye. All you do is, well, not very much: once shucked, leave them in the half shell, put a little pad of butter on top of them, and then stick them straight on the grill for a few minutes. Then grab a fork—or a hand—and eat. 

Use good charcoal to “get smoky flavor from the grill,” says Eric Houseknecht, executive chef at Thames Street Oyster House in Baltimore, Maryland. (We spoke to him while he was driving back home from New York City, where he took home the number one prize for his lobster roll at Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble.) Houseknecht’s brand of choice: Cowboy hardwood lump charcoal. “It gives it better flavor and better temperature.”

Houseknecht recommends placing the oyster shells on a sheet pan that’s been loaded with rock salt, “so they don’t fall over,” but in our experience, putting them directly on the grill works just as well if you’re careful. So YOU’LL BE CAREFUL, RIGHT?

Then godspeed. 

Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with a Sriracha Lime Butter

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons shallots, finely minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cilantro, minced
Oysters on the half shell

Mix the butter with the shallots, Sriracha, lime, salt, and cilantro. Let set up in the fridge. It doesn’t have to set up completely but it should be more solid than liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the grill (or broiler) until very hot.

Toss each oyster with a dollop of butter.

Grill (or broil) for 3-4 minutes.Enjoy! But be careful as the shells will be very hot.