I have often heard friends say, “the first person to crack open a raw oyster and then decide to eat it must have been really hungry.” At the very least, they were very brave people.
Now, I may not enjoy oysters Rockefeller, but I have discovered that the best way to make food better, aside from adding bacon to it, is to apply the process of smoking to it.
As far as smoking meats goes, this is a relative quick go at it. When inviting friends over for a smoked brisket, you should expect to serve your meat 10-12 hours after you start cooking. But, after you have learned to make smoked oysters, you can begin dining within the hour.
Let’s get you started with the smoker, and the wood.
We operate with an electric smoker for some applications, and an offset wood burner for most smokes. Because of the ease in smoking oysters, we’re going to stick with the offset smoker, it’s just more fun.
So, let's begin telling you how to smoke oysters at home with just a few easy steps.
Before we start with the actual preparing process, you first have to collect a few supplies you will need.
- Your Preferred Smoker. (Read Considerations Down Below)
- Two Pieces of Wood to Smoke With. (Read Considerations Down Below)
- 48 Fresh Medium Sized Oysters. We are planning on a dozen smoked oysters per guest.
- Butter, 1 Stick Melted.
- Garlic, 4 Cloves Minced.
- Hot Sauce, your personal favorite.
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper, Lemon Quarters.
- Tray to Contain your Smoked Oysters.
- Optional: Oyster Shucking Tool.
There are a few things to consider when you decide to smoke oysters: The type of smoker you use, the type of wood you choose and the type of oyster you pick.
Let's explain each one of this considerations into more details:
The Type of Smoker
When it comes to smoking meat, different types of smokers have different instructions and smoking process for each type.
But if you are planning to smoke oysters, any type of smoker will do. I prefer using an offset smoker. It is my favorite smoker and It's the model I use for every recipe.
Just remember to pick something you are comfortable with and will allow you to regulate and monitor the smoking temperatures easily.
The Type of Wood
Another thing to consider if you want the best result, is the wood type.
While there may be a lot of wood types for smoking, for oysters I recommend you to use a lighter wood, such as alder, apple or peach. Two pieces of this wood type will get this job done.
The Type of Oysters
The last thing to consider, is the type of oyster you buy.
I recommend you to only use fresh oysters when you are planning to smoke them.
To start off, get the amount you need from your butcher or local market. You want to start off with the freshest oysters you can.
You can talk with your butcher who should lead you always getting the best the market has to offer that day. We, actually, suggest that you treat your butcher like a valued member of the family. Birthday cards, and holiday greetings go a long way in this relationship.
Quick Kitchen Tip: Most butchers and seafood markets will assist you with shucking, or steaming your seafood. Discuss with your butcher your cooking wants and needs, and they will usually accommodate your needs from their ‘hands-on experience’.
How to Smoke Oysters
Now, it is time to actually start with the smoking process.
Begin by preparing your smoker and starting the fire in your fire box. You’re aiming for a temperature range of 200°-225°.
How to Prepare Oysters for Smoking
While the fire is getting started, begin shucking your oysters if your butcher hasn’t done so already for you.
You will want to put the tip of your shucking tool into the back joint of your oyster.
Note: This can be a dangerous task. You may want to purchase a steel glove from your restaurant supply store to prevent any lacerations from the shucking tool or the oyster shell.
Once the shucking tool is in place try to turn the tool with your wrist. There will be some tension from this mollusk. With a second twist and a little pressure, you should manage to get the tip in. Your third twist should get this oyster open.
Note: If you have not a shucking tool, you can read this article for additional tools you can use.
If your initial probe opens the oyster too quickly and very easily, don’t feel lucky. This oyster is probably dead. Discard that oyster, and grab another one to smoke.
Begin to melt your butter, 1 stick, over a low heat. Shuck the top off of each oyster. Using the shucking tool, detach the muscle from the top half and the bottom half. Leaving the oyster in a half shell. Gently rinse the oyster under cool flowing water and then, set each oyster ready to smoke on a clean pan.
Meanwhile, check out your butter, it should be melted, but not browning. Add the minced garlic to the butter, and let it set for a minute.
Hopefully your garlic flavor is infusing into the butter.
Lightly sprinkle the salt and the pepper over the shucked oysters. Now you want to put about one teaspoon of the garlic butter mixture over each half shelled oyster.
Add a log of your chosen wood to the coals, allow the smoke to build.
Watch your temperature, as long as you maintain a variance of 200°F - 225°F, you’re ready to start smoking.
Start Smoking Oysters
After your smoker has reached the recommended temperature, you can put your oysters for smoking.
Place your pan into the grill surface of the smoker. Your placement needs to be close to the thermometer, away from the potential of direct heat. The pan you use should be dedicated to the smoker.
Once you use a pan in a smoker, it becomes seasoned from the smoke, and it’s a major effort to clean thoroughly. With a dedicated pan you can wash and rinse, and not worry about baking cookies on this pan later.
If smoked oysters are going to be regular at your table, restaurant suppliers carry a perforated pan for grilling vegetables and smoking large quantities of things like oysters. Make this a part of your arsenal if you are planning cook this recipe often.
How Long to Smoke Oysters
Now you’re cooking, or smoking! Your cook time for this is going to be quick, relative to other smoking situations.
If you have maintained the recommended temperatures for this recipe, you should check out your oysters after about 30 minutes and they should start to feel good. You are looking for something to feel similar to set jello, firm with a little bit of give to it.
If they’re not there after 30 minutes, check again in 15 minutes. At this point you should check every 15 minutes until they’re ready to eat.
When cooking this recipe, remember that oysters are going to go fast, but, keep an eye on your fire wood. You shouldn’t need more than two pieces.
If you’re butter mixture is evaporating, you may be getting the fire too hot, and an overcooked oyster will chew and bounce like a child’s superball.
How to Eat Smoked Oysters
Bring your newest creation to the picnic table. Supply your guests with the lemon wedges to garnish, and your favorite hot sauce.
Between the garlic, and the smoked flavor you might think this is enough, but a drop or two of the hot sauce will kick it up to a new level.
Serve this with some warm crusty French bread, to sop up the extra garlic and butter mixture. Some carrot sticks and celery sticks with some ranch dressing will allow you to believe you’re eating healthy.
Partner this amazing dish with your favorite bloody Mary, lager, or lemonade, and the most important thing, is to enjoy them!
I hope you learned how to smoke oysters at home after finished reading this article.
This recipe is very easy to make, can be prepared in a short amount of time and taste amazing, so there is no reason for not trying them.
If you have any question or just want to leave a comment, feel free to write it down below and don't forget to share this article with your friends if you really liked it.