BBQ Oysters are an incredible appetizer and easy to make. Simply place oysters on a hot grill and finish with some melted seasoned butter and a dollop of BBQ sauce for an elegant and easy way to prepare oysters on the grill.
BBQ Oysters Recipe Ingredients
- Oysters – We recommend whole raw oysters in the shell if you have an oyster knife. This is also called unshucked oysters. If you don’t want to shuck your oysters, then consider buying oysters already shucked. Be sure they are fresh oysters, they should not have any odor.
- Unsalted Butter – Melt the butter with seasoning to add to the oysters.
- Seasoning – We use our seafood seasoning, combined with the butter, for added flavor.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese after the oysters are grilled.
- BBQ Sauce – Add a dollop of BBQ sauce at the end for some added richness and flavor. We use our Pinot Noir BBQ sauce. Alternatively, you can use a couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
- Garnish – Fresh lemon wedges are a great garnish or even better with grilled lemon wedges.
Preparation – Shucking
- Prepare a cookie drying rack for your oysters. You will grill the oysters on the rack to make it easier to transfer them on and off the grill (this is a great tip!).
- Start by cleaning the oyster shells of any grime or “beard”. You can use a paper towel or brush.
- You will want an oyster knife, also called a shucking knife, or oyster shucker. They are designed to open the very hard shells without breaking. Using a regular kitchen knife is not recommended. Alternatively, you can buy pre-shucked oysters.
- Arrange the oysters on a sheet tray. You will notice that each oyster has a top shell (flat side) and a bottom shell (rounded edge). They also have one curved end and another pointy end. You want to open the shell from the pointy end.
- Place oysters so the bottom shell is sitting on the sheet tray.
- Place one oyster on an old thick kitchen towel. Arrange the oyster so the corner that has the thin angle is facing away from you. Cover the edge of the oyster with the kitchen towel as if you are wrapping it. Take your oyster knife and slowly start to push it in at the edge of that corner angle. You want to angle it at roughly 45 degrees so you can get some leverage to lift apart the top shell and bottom shell. When you can insert the shucker slowly work the oyster knife around the shell to completely separate it.
- Take care to preserve the liquid inside.
- Gently separate the oyster meat from the top shell and arrange the oyster on the drying rack. Repeat.
- You may have some shell chip away as you shuck. Be sure to wipe away any shell so it doesn’t get into the oyster when you open it.
Recipe Steps – How to Make BBQ Oysters
- Preheat Grill: Set the grill up for direct grilling, targeting 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While the grill is warming, place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the seasoning and stir until butter is melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to add to the oysters.
- Grill BBQ Oysters: Place the shucked oysters (still arranged on the drying sheet) onto the grill grates over direct heat. Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes. Then remove the lid and add 1 teaspoon of the melted butter to each of the oysters. Close the lid and continue grilling oysters for 2 additional minutes.
- Finish: Remove the oysters from the grill. Gently transfer the oysters to your serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese and a dollop of BBQ sauce. Optional – drizzle a little squeeze of lemon juice.
Plating Tip: Add a large portion of kosher salt or sea salt to the base of your serving platter. Then place the oysters so they sit in the salt. This will keep them even and prevent them from tipping.
Frequently Asked Questions
We like smaller oysters, which generally tend to be East Coast oysters. Alternatively, you can go with the larger Pacific Oysters. Both coasts do have small and large oysters, so it’s down to personal preference and what’s available locally.
We are using a charcoal grill for this example, but this works well on a gas grill or even a pellet grill set to medium-high heat. The key is keeping the direct heat to around 450 degrees F to avoid the shells from popping.
Oysters should be done within 5 minutes if grilled over direct heat at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, if you don’t want to shuck then grill the oysters over direct heat until they start to open. If oysters don’t open within the first 5 minutes then discard them. You can add the butter and BBQ sauce drizzle after they have opened or after you remove them from the grill.
When grilling be sure that the direct flame does not get too hot or you can cause the oyster shells to explode. You can hear the shells pop if it gets too hot. Flare-ups can tend to happen after you have added the butter.
What To Serve With BBQ Oysters
Try our grilled oysters with white wine butter sauce if looking for more great ideas.
Wine – For this BBQ oyster recipe we recommend a rich white wine like Chardonnay to complement the flavors from the butter. Alternatively, sparkling wine is a great match for oysters to offset the briny nature of the oysters and perk up and refresh the palate.
Sides – We always go for crusty French bread if serving as an appetizer. We’ll grill it and add some of the leftover butter (so good!). Or explore our side dish recipes for more inspiration.
Try Our BBQ Sauce
Try our red wine BBQ sauce for a unique flavor combination. Available to ship throughout the US.
Now on 2nd edition
Fire + Wine Cookbook
“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
Preheat Grill: Set the grill up for direct grilling, targeting 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While the grill is warming, place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the seasoning and stir until butter is melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to add to the oysters.
Grill BBQ Oysters: Place the shucked oysters (arranged on a cookie drying rack) onto the grill grates over direct heat. Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes. Open the lid and add 1 teaspoon of the seasoned melted butter to each of the oysters. Close the lid and continue grilling oysters for 2 additional minutes.
Finish: Remove the oysters from the grill. Gently transfer the oysters to your serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese and a dollop of BBQ sauce. Optional – drizzle a little squeeze of lemon juice.
Note on the extra salt: I like to add some kosher salt to the bottom of a serving dish, then arrange the grilled oysters on top of the salt. This keeps them stable and keeps them from tipping over.
Serving: 1oyster | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.