Winter oyster roasts are an honored, delicious southern tradition. Oysters are in their peak seasons during the winter months, making it the best time to get fresh oysters to enjoy while standing around a roaring fire with friends and enjoying a cold beer. Here are some tips to make hosting your own oyster roast a success.
Start with the Oysters
Oyster roasts are food-centered events, so you want to make sure that what you’re serving is delicious and plentiful. Make sure to select the freshest oysters you can. On average, you need 1 bushel, or 50 pounds, for every five people. When the oysters arrive, hose them off to rinse away mud or any debris. They should smell like fresh seawater, and the shells should be closed. If they smell sulfurous or the shells are opened or cracked, discard them.
Have the Right Tools
You’ll need to provide oyster knives and gloves for shucking oysters. Cheap work gloves will do, and you can pick up oyster knives at most kitchenware stores. Make sure you also have conveniently located trash cans so guests can dispose of shells. Often, people will cut a hole into a sheet of plywood and place it on sawhorses or trash cans to create a shucking table.
Build Two Fires
If you’re using a charcoal or gas grill or a fire pit, having two heat zones is the best way to keep your guests comfortable while cooking oysters. You’ll need a decent-sized flat surface, like sheet metal, to place on top of your roasting pit to cook the oysters on. Providing a second fire allows your guests to stay warm and enjoy the day without getting steamy oyster smoke in their faces every time you cook a fresh batch.
When steaming the oysters, spread them out on a sheet metal surface and then cover them with a burlap sack soaked in water. Learn more about how to cook oysters outdoors with these easy tips.
Dress Them Up
Traditionally, oysters are served with hot sauce, saltines, and some melted butter. If you want to step it up a bit, you could try adding cocktail sauce or a lemon aioli sauce into the mix or sprinkle on some Crunch Dynasty, a uniquely crunchy, spicy topping.
The best part of an oyster roast is spending time outside with friends and family. Grab a couple of cold ones, kick back, and don’t forget to keep a couple of Band-Aids on hand for first-time shuckers.