There are few experiences as authentically Lowcountry as the Oyster Roast. Cooking outdoors, good friends, fresh local seafood, the Oyster Roast is our way of ushering in the fall and winter, and of having the kind of casual good time one can only enjoy on Hilton Head Island.
If you’d like to bring some Lowcountry flair to your next gathering, host your own oyster roast! Here’s how:
Get some fresh oysters. On Hilton Head Island, and throughout the Lowcountry, clusters of oysters are typically used for oyster roasts. Around here, the oysters are often so fresh they’re still covered in mud! However, individual oysters are more likely what you'll be able to find at home. Plan for 10-12 oysters per person.
Get fired up. Open fire pits may be the tradition for our oyster roasts, but your backyard grill will do just fine. Place a large iron plate or piece of sheet metal on top of your grill and crank up the heat. Test your temperature by sprinkling a few drops of water onto your piece of metal—if it sizzles upon contact you’ll know it’s time to…
Get cooking! Lay your oysters onto your iron plate and cover with a thoroughly damp piece of burlap. It’s best to avoid any synthetic fibers, so make sure your burlap is the real deal. For added flavor, douse your burlap with some local beer.
Get steamy. As soon as your damp burlap hits the heat, it should start to steam. If, as you cook the burlap starts to dry and the steam starts to die down, dump a liberal amount of ice on top of your burlap oyster pile. As it melts, it will create steam to help the oysters cook. The oysters are essentially cooking in their own juices, which is what makes them so incredibly delicious! The steam from the burlap and ice helps this process along.
Get shucking. After 8-10 minutes your oyster shells should have opened slightly, meaning they’re ready to eat! Use a shovel to take them off the grill and Let them cool for a couple of minutes before carefully shucking the oysters.
Now you’re ready to eat! Serve your oysters alongside saltine crackers, with cocktail sauce or fresh lemon juice, or, enjoy their succulent, briny flavor on its own. A Lowcountry oyster roast can last all night long, with pile after pile of delicious, steamed oysters being loaded on and off the grill.
Oyster roasts are a fantastic excuse to get a group of people together to enjoy simple Lowcountry cooking, fresh seafood, and good company. There’s no such thing as “too many people” at an oyster roast on Hilton Head Island. Don’t believe us? Come on down to The Dunes House on Saturday, November 26 for our annual Dunes House Oyster Roast! Live music, beer and menu specials, and of course, oysters, oysters and more oysters! Between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, call 843-686-9143.