Grilled oysters are significantly under-appreciated in the world of grilling. They have quite the polarizing effect - you either love 'em or hate 'em. True, they do take a little bit of time and sweat equity, but if you love oysters the reward is bountiful! We tweaked our Mexican Flag Oysters to give them a 'lil twist and make them reminiscent of Drago's Charbroiled Oysters, which are topped with garlic butter and parmesan cheese. Mmm!
Shucking oysters can definitely seem intimidating but with our step-by-step walkthrough and tips you'll be a shucking machine. But if all else fails, you can always put them directly on the hot grill grate for a minute or two, which will force the oysters to pop open slightly for you.
GRILLED GARLIC-PARMESAN OYSTERS
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 6 to 8 minutes
SERVES: 4 as an appetizer
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any
Rock salt or other coarse salt or raw rice or beans (for presentation/stabilizing the oysters)
18 medium oysters, shells 4 to 5 inches across
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
Pour about 1/2-inch of rock salt on a serving platter. This will help hold the oysters level once they’re cooked.
First of all, you want to start with oysters that are all completely closed - i.e. still alive. If any of the oysters are open, throw them away - that means that they are dead and you want them to be as fresh as possible. (After you purchase the oysters, keep them on ice in a bowl in the bottom of your fridge until you're ready to eat them.)
Before you begin shucking, make sure that you wash and lightly scrub the oysters thoroughly in water to prevent grit from getting inside once you open them. Start by using an oyster knife or a sturdy paring knife. Hold the oyster in a towel to make it easier to hold and to protect your hand. (If you're still worried about slipping with the knife, you could also get a protective oyster glove.) Put the point of the knife in the "hinge" of the oyster. (see below)
Push and wiggle the knife further into the oyster until it feels firmly stuck in. Apply a turning/torquing pressure to the knife to gently pop open the oyster. (Some oysters will be harder to open than others - typically the bigger they are, the harder they fall are to shuck.) Once you get it open, the hardest part is over.
Being careful not to spill the juices, go around the oyster gently with the knife to completely open the oyster. Make sure you don't cut the meat of oyster.
Pull gently until the shell pops completely open. Tada! You're done with the shucking. Remove and discard the top shell. Run your knife under the oyster to release it, but leave it in the bottom shell. (If there is any dirt or silt around the edge of the oyster, you may need to wipe it.)
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the minced garlic and dried oregano and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. (Do not let the garlic brown.) Remove from the heat.
Pour a spoonful of the butter mixture on each oyster.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 450 degrees F (High) and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the oysters on the grill grate, balancing them between the bars so they don’t spill.
Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the edges of the oyster meat curl slightly. There may be a few flare-ups when the butter bubbles over and that's basically just extra delicious smoky-char butter flavor for you! (And it also makes for quite the show too.)
Using tongs or grill gloves, carefully transfer the oysters to the prepared serving platter (using the rock salt to balance the shells). Before serving, sprinkle with some grated parmesan and chopped parsley. The shells and juices will be very hot, so let cool slightly before eating.