While snow season may be approaching most of the country, sorry Buffalo. Here on the coast of South Carolina, February means oyster season! This culinary tradition kicks into full gear in the low country and the fun begins! Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a new come to the Oyster Roast here are some important things to remember to get the most out of your experience:
Whatever happens, don’t volunteer to clean the oysters! This is a job left to the newbies or children in the family who enjoy spraying water on themselves and the oysters. If you are really dealing out corporal punishment then you can have the kiddos get a fine toothbrush and clean the dirt off the oysters individually. This is sure to provide hours of delight!
Next up is cooking the oysters. This is the guy’s guy thing to do. There is nothing like standing around an open flame under a metal box steaming up oysters. Or if you are really getting in touch with your inner hunter/gatherer then start up the bonfire, get a metal sheet, grab your burlap sack and go old school. In any event, this is the perfect time to have an adult beverage, stand around looking busy and get kudos for doing the “cooking”.
Once the piping hot oysters hit the table, it’s go time! Grab your glove, knife and get to shucking. Remember, even if you are a first timer, if bring your own glove and oyster knife to the party then you can look like a pro. This will help ensure that you garner an invite to next year’s affair. Depending on your taste, oysters are great on their own, with saltine crackers or a splash of cocktail or hot sauce (Habanero Havoc recommended).
Don’t worry non-oyster eaters, most times the host will have you covered. This is because an oyster roast in the South can be as much a social event as a culinary one. Therefore, chili (with a splash of Big House Yellow) is the traditional dish to be offered as the shellfish substitute. If you don’t like chili you are going to be feasting on Saltines all night so be prepared.
An oyster roast is a fun southern experience not to be missed whether you are a local or a tourist visiting Charleston. If you get the opportunity this winter to go to an oyster roast, make sure you take advantage of it and take your oyster knife too.