Labor Day marks the end of summer for most but here in the Lowcountry, Southerners look forward to this time of year as it marks the beginning of a new season…oyster roast season. When is the best time to enjoy oysters in the Lowcountry? It’s quite simple; any month with the letter “R” in it means it’s safe to indulge in these tasty treats. Around the Lowcountry, oysters mean a party, one where friends gather around a fire pit and catch up over beer and bivalves. In our neck of the woods, an oyster roast is simple. Don’t let the word “simple” fool you though. They are usually a first class affair.
The first step to a successful oyster roast is friends and family. This will make the difference! Next, you’ll need oyster tables where guests can gather round for the shucking. I've seen everything from a simple plywood board set up on sawhorses to reclaimed barn wood set atop beautiful brick pillars. Your guests will need an oyster knife, hand towel or a glove which will aid in retrieving the hidden gem. Steamed oysters can be enjoyed a-la-carte but it’s always nice to provide saltine crackers, cocktail sauce, hot sauce and melted butter.
Here in Bluffton, oysters can be purchased at the Bluffton Oyster Company and are sold by the bushel which will feed about 6 to 8 people. The best advice is to rinse them thoroughly before you steam. An oyster steamer is the best way to achieve the perfect oyster. If a steamer is not available, oysters can be cooked over the coals on an iron grill. An oyster grill is easily created by placing an iron grate, supported by bricks at each corner, over a fire pit. Layer the oysters on the grill and when their mouths are well open, they’re done. All that’s left is to transfer them to an oyster table and enjoy. Happy Oyster Season!
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