What do you do when you have a handful of reject oysters from a grading and the weather is really good? Answer: Barbecue (BBQ) the oysters!
We have been playing a bit of catch up in regard to grading one batch of our oysters. These oysters were all supposed to have been graded in the back end but we could not complete the task due to the bad weather and subsequent storm damage we suffered on the farm; such is the life of an oyster farmer in the North Atlantic.
Now with the weather warming up it was essential that we completed the task. After a busy couple of days, we finally battered through the last of them. We were left with a handful of oysters that we had rejected as they did not meet the shape profile that we require, and so given the hot weather it was time to light the barbecue.
Now it is really interesting that on sharing this with others, they all seemed rather surprised. Oysters on a BBQ? Really? Is that a thing? Yes it really is!
This country is somewhat strange when it comes to peoples views on food. Although times are changing, and the world gets smaller everyday, people here are still somewhat conservative (with a small ‘c’) when it comes to food, or certain foods at least.
For oysters that means an association with eating them raw on the half shell and a perception that they are not for the ordinary working man. The perception issue is ironic given the history of oyster consumption in this country in recent times, see here for a further discussion.
In Australia, New Zealand and North America, eating cooked oysters is common place, and why not, as they are delicious. I sometimes think that over here the oyster is in a place that scallops were twenty years ago. Now scallops are everywhere, and everybody knows about them, and as good as they are they are not good as a high quality oyster, but then I am biased!
It all comes down to education and getting the word out that these beasties are fantastic both natural and cooked. In fact, cooked oysters are probably the best way to introduce the product to those that have never tried them.
Theory time over, so let’s get back the practicals of the BBQ. We own a copy of a great book called ‘The Essential Oyster’ which is the bible of North American oysters and also has some great recipes within it. One of those is BBQ Bourbon Chipotle Oysters from Garret Hamner, Hog Island Oyster Bar, Tomales Bay, USA. We used this recipe as the basis of our effort, but as we are Scottish there is no way we could use Bourbon (yuk!), we went for a drop of Glenmorangie instead. We also had a straight up garlic butter as well.
BBQ Scots Chipotle Oysters
- 15g Brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Glenmorangie Whisky
- 60g Butter
- 1 teaspoon of Chipotle chilli paste
- 2 cloves of Garlic (crushed)
- 6 Rock oysters
- In a bowl mix the sugar and the whisky. Add the butter, garlic and chipotle paste and mix well.
- Lay out some cling film, spread out the mixture forming it into a sausage shape and then wrap in the cling. Place in the fridge for an hour minimum.
- When the barbecue is ready shuck the oyster and keep them in the bottom (cupped) shell.
- Remove the mixture from the fridge, cut a slice and place on top of the oyster. Place the oysters on the grill and wait for the butter mixture to start bubbling. Let the oysters cook for about another minute then remove from the grill, let them briefly cool, and then enjoy.
Scale up as needed. In addition, we also added some very dry pieces of alder to the BBQ about 30 minutes before cooking and this added a wonderful smokiness to the oysters as well.
So if you are over this side of the pond, the weather is great and you are looking for something different to cook on the barbecue, try these, you shall not be disappointed!