Smoked oysters are a dish that is frequently seen throughout cooking shows all over the world and have become a fan favorite amongst seafood lovers.
However, many people don’t realize that it’s very easy to overcook an oyster or leave it a bit on the raw side. This can be incredibly frustrating and leave people with empty stomachs after ruining their meal.
However, we have a guide for you so you can understand it better and help yourself when smoking oysters. Make sure you read the full guide to smoking oysters to find out our 5 simple steps to ensure your next oyster meal is the best one yet.
What Are Oysters?
Oysters are mollusks that belong to the Bivalve family of marine animals. They’re often referred to as bivalves because they have two shells.
The word “oyster” refers to the shape of these shells. The most popular type of oyster in America is the Eastern Oyster. It’s also known by its scientific name: Crassostrea virginica. Other kinds of oysters exist but this is probably what you’ll see at restaurants and grocery stores.
There are different types of oysters depending on where they come from. For example, some types of oysters can grow up to three inches long while others can only reach half that size.
In addition, some types of oysters can live for more than five years while others will die within just a few months once they’ve reached maturity.
What Oysters Are Best For Cooking?
The general rule of thumb is that if you want to smoke oysters, then you should choose smaller ones. An average-sized oyster is usually around six ounces and comes in sizes ranging from 6-8 ounces.
These would make great appetizers for parties and social gatherings. If you prefer larger oysters, then go ahead and opt for those that weigh between 12-16 ounces.
As far as the types of oysters, several varieties are ideal for cooking. Some of them include:
Blue points are extremely rare and expensive. You’d need to shell about 50 of them to get a single serving.
Pacific gold is called Kumamotos. These are the perfect oyster for making smoked salmon.
A common variety is found almost everywhere. They’re not too large and are fairly inexpensive. If you like oysters, then this is the kind you should try first.
Different Ways To Cook Raw Oyster
There are lots of different ways to cook raw oysters. Depending on what you plan on doing, you could do any of these things; however, keep in mind that they’re super simple and require no special equipment.
1) Boil Them
This method works well if you want to eat them right away. Simply put, you place the oyster inside a pot filled with boiling water. As soon as the water starts to boil, you let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then you drain the water completely and serve the oyster immediately.
2) Grill Them
If you want to grill the oysters, then you simply add some oil to the bottom of the pan and heat it. Once the oil gets hot, you place the oysters directly onto the stovetop.
Then, cover the pan and grill the oysters until they turn brown. When they’re done, you remove the lid and allow them to cool down before eating them.
3) Smoke Them
This one requires a bit of preparation. First, you need to soak the oysters overnight in saltwater. After soaking them, you rinse off the excess saltwater and pat them dry.
Next, you take the oysters out of their shells and place them on a rack over a baking sheet. Now, you place the oysters in a smoker and let them smoke for 2 hours. Finally, you remove the oysters from the oven and serve them immediately.
Five Simple Steps To Smoke Your Oysters
Of course, smoking your oysters isn’t all that difficult. However, preparing them takes time and patience. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow when trying to smoke your oysters at home.
Step 1: Soak The Oysters
Take a handful of fresh wild oysters and place them in a container filled with cold water. Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Let the oysters rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Step 2: Rinse Off The Excess Salt Water
After resting the oysters, carefully remove them from the container and discard the water. Using a clean towel, gently rub the oysters so that most of the saltwater dries up. Leave the oysters sitting on the towel.
Step 3: Place On A Racking Board
Now, you’ll need to prepare the racking board. Take a piece of wood and cut it into a rectangle shape. This will be used to support the oysters while they’re being smoked.
Also, make sure that there’s enough space between each oyster so that air can circulate them. This will allow them to be cooked by direct heat thoroughly.
Step 4: Put The Oysters In The Smoker
Next, you have to place the oysters inside an actual smoker. If you don’t have access to a professional smoker, then you can use an oven.
Just make sure that the temperature is set somewhere between 200°F and 250°F. Keep in mind that higher temperatures may cause the oysters to burn.
Step 5: Smoke For 2 Hours And Serve
Finally, once the oysters have been placed in the smoker, you should leave them alone for two hours. During this time, they should gradually start to develop a nice smoky flavor.
The oysters should look golden in color and will have a firm, but soft texture to them. If they appear rubbery then they’re more than likely overcooked. Add some butter for a melted, creamy flavor!
How Long Can I Keep My Smoked Oysters Refrigerated?
If you’d like to keep your oysters in the fridge, then they can last up to three days. Of course, if you plan on storing your smoked oysters longer than three days, then you’ll probably want to freeze them instead.
When storing fresh food it’s always best to plan so you know when you’re likely to eat these oysters again.
If you know it’ll be the next day or so, then you’re better off keeping them in the refrigerator. However, freezing should only be an option if you’re saving them for a later date.
Smoked oysters taste great when they’re smoked to perfection and allowed to burst with flavor. Accompanying them with some fresh vegetables and some melted butter is a great way to ensure that you have a tasty, but relatively healthy meal.
Because of all of the health benefits that come with eating oysters, you’re bound to find some vitamins and nutrients in your dish.
Making sure you don’t overcook these sea creatures is important to enjoy your meal, however, it’s equally important to ensure that they are thoroughly cooked, otherwise, you run the risk of putting yourself off eating oysters again in the future.
We hope our guide has helped you understand the food dish a bit more and will help you to enjoy your next meal!