One of Charleston’s favorite ways to entertain in the cooler weather is with an oyster roast. Some gather their own mollusks in local creeks and marshes, but fresh local oysters are available at many Charleston area seafood markets. A bushel should feed 6-8 people.
Gather, or buy, your oysters on the day of the roast. Be sure the oysters are alive – if the shells are open this is a sign that they may be dead. Tap on the shell, and if it doesn’t close, toss it. Next, wash the oysters well. Many car washes have a special place in one of the bays for oyster washing, but your garden hose will do.
Get your fire ready. You’ll need a fire pit, a few large rocks or bricks and a large cooking grate. Start your fire and surround it with rocks to hold the grate. When the fire is hot, place the grate over the coals and pile the oysters on top. Be careful not to try to cook too many at a time. If you need to, you can cook them in batches as they cook quickly. When the shells pop open, your feast is ready!
Put the oysters in a large heatproof container and place on a newspaper-covered table with buckets available for the used shells. Your guests will need lots of paper towels, oyster knives for shucking and gloves or a heavy cloth to protect their hands. Serve the oysters with saltine crackers, hot sauce, ketchup and any other sauce you prefer, plus an abundant supply of your favorite beverage.