Reimagine the classic image of smoked oysters as being greasy, overly salted mollusks confined to cans. Often these were incorporated in dips with cream cheese or cloaked in bacon and put under a broiler. However, in our contemporary interpretation, we’re using fresh oysters simply elevated with a dollop of butter, offering a sublime culinary experience. Once you try it, your perception of both fresh and smoked oysters will be forever altered.
Yield: 24 oysters (serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course)
Preparation Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Smoking Duration: 15-20 minutes in a smoker or 5-8 minutes on a grill
- 24 fresh oysters, still in the shell
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 24 equal parts (approximately 1/4 teaspoon each)
- Oyster shucking knife and glove
- Shellfish grilling rack or wire rack
- Smoker or charcoal grill with indirect heat setup
- Suitable hardwood or wood chips for smoking
- Prepare the Smoker:
- Follow the manufacturer’s guide to ready your smoker, aiming for a heat range of 225°F to 250°F.
- Add the recommended amount of your preferred hardwood to the smoker.
- Shuck the Oysters:
- Carefully shuck the oysters, removing the upper shells. Slide your knife under each oyster to detach it from the lower shell, while leaving it in place.
- Arrange the shucked oysters on a shellfish grilling rack or wire rack, being careful not to lose any of the juices.
- Place a small piece of butter (approximately 1/4 teaspoon) on top of each oyster.
- Smoke the Oysters in the Smoker:
- Transfer the rack with the prepared oysters to the preheated smoker.
- Allow the smoker to smoke the oysters until the butter melts and the oysters become warm, but still slightly undercooked. This should take around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the smoked oysters from the smoker carefully.
- Serve the smoked oysters with grilled bread as an accompaniment.
Alternative Method: Smoking on a Charcoal Grill
- Set up the charcoal grill for indirect heat and bring it to a temperature of 400°F.
- Arrange the shucked oysters on a shellfish grilling rack or wire rack directly on the grate.
- Scatter 1 1/2 cups of unsoaked wood chips (around 3/4 cup on each side) or 2 wood chunks over the coals.
- Follow the same smoking process as detailed above, but expect a shorter smoking time of around 5 to 8 minutes.
Enjoy the elevated experience of freshly smoked oysters with a touch of butter. This contemporary take on a classic dish is sure to impress and change your perception of smoked oysters forever.
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