cooking up a mess of oysters

What are these people hanging around in the cold for?

Fresh oysters!

I love how suspicious Sophie looks in that one. But there are several key ingredients to a successful oyster-based gathering in this shot. Oysters, of course. Shucking knives. Shuckers. And, obviously, beer. Lots of beer. A pretty, oyster-proof table is nice, too. My aunt made this one—that is, she made, glazed and fired the tiles, and she welded the metal frame. She’s amazing.

But on with the oysters! Here is what you need to cook them.

What we have here is a big honking piece of steel, in this case, the lid to a fuel oil tank, balanced on top of a hot, hot fire. A nearby hose is a good idea, too. No, there isn’t any fuel oil on it, don’t be silly. They’ve been cooking oysters on this puppy for a decade. All the fuel oil is burnt off by now.

Anyway, you get a mess of oysters from your source, and you hose them off, a lot. Gritty oysters suck. DON’T soak them. If you soak them, they draw in a bunch of water in, and grit along with it, becoming inedible. How dare they! Also, don’t keep your washed oysters in the fridge—too cold. And don’t close the lid on the cooler. Just keep them in there with the ice, and get thee to your oyster cooking apparatus forthwith!

Here we go! Dump them on…

…and cover them with a sopping wet towel. Poor babies, steamed alive for our culinary pleasure. What monsters we are.

It doesn’t take long, maybe five minutes. Just long enough for Super Luc and his side kick Sophie to run off to the trampoline.

Are they done yet? Let’s take a peek….

Ooo, they’re looking good. You want most of them to have opened, but not all, or they’ll be over cooked. I don’t know if you can make out a popped oyster in this photo, but these babies are ready to eat.

A giant grain shovel is useful for getting them off the cooker. Push them on with a long handled rake. Yow, that fire is hot!

Here comes dinner!


Here is a good one, freshly shucked.

Look at this gigantic oyster, holy cow, that’s just gross

Next is the most important part. You stand around, shooting the shit, laughing, drinking your beer, and gobbling delicious salty oysters as fast as you can shuck them. Or as fast as you can get someone to shuck them for you. Don’t cut your hand! And get the next batch on the cooker, these folks are hungry!

Here’s what you end up with.

And don’t worry about the silver and other toxic chemicals the oysters probably sucked out of the polluted waterways as you slurp’em down. Didn’t you know eating oysters is an extreme sport?

Super Luc and Sophie say, Eat Your Oysters! They’ll make you strong! If they don’t, you know, give you food poisoning.


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