HOW TO HOST AN OYSTER ROAST
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
A good party always starts with the right people. Oyster roasts invitations can be a little difficult to track down, but there are some really beautiful ones. We blogged about it on Oyster Stew. Check out our favorites.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Such goodness doesn’t come easy. If you're lucky enough to have a wide open space, a roasting pit and the knowledge and patience totnd a wooden or charcoal burning fire, please treat your friends and family to a made-for-the-magazines oyster roast. If you're invited to one, please be the first to RSVP.
If your space is limited or the idea of building and tending an open fire is daunting, a seafood steamer connected to a propane tank is perfect.
STEAMING OYSTERS USING A STOCKPOT
Seafood steamers typically come with a perforated bucket. Fill the pot until an inch below the basket line with a 9:1 ratio of water to white vinegar.
Place on the tripod over the propane tank, place the bucket on the tripod, place the cover on the pot and bring the water to a boil.
After 10 min., pull up the basket (be sure to protect your hands) and give the oysters a shake to make sure you can see the oysters both on the top and the bottom. If you want a glorious, juicy oyster, pull them out of the steamer when the shells have separated about an 1/8”. Wait until they’ve separated a 1/4" - 1/2" for a more well done oyster.
Dump oysters directly on the table – preferably one made especially for oysters (see below). Guests should eat as quickly and as many oysters as they can.
Repeat until you run out of oysters.
Harbor Island Oyster Co.'s first product was the Engraved Signature Oyster Knife. Some of it's earliest customers were oyster lovers who preferred to bring their own personalized knife to an oyster roast. For those who don't bring their own, be sure to provide at least one oyster knife or oyster shucker per couple. Harbor Island Oyster Co. offers two knives - one for oyster eaters and one for oyster roast hosts.
BONUS: ROAST FOR ONE
OK, so steaming oysters in a pot is definitely not as charming as roasting oysters over a wood-burning pit. This is when you pull a head fake. Invest is an oyster table.
At their core, an oyster table is nothing more than a table with a hole in the middle to push the oyster shells into after they’ve been eaten. Many people cut a hole in a piece of standard 8 x 4 plywood and place it on top of two sawhorses. We think the oyster table has long been neglected.
Harbor Island Oyster Co. is working with a Wilmington, NC-based furniture designer to develop a collapsible, water proof table. It can easily be stored and sprayed off with a garden hose after the party. We hope to have the table available to ship by June 2013, but we'll try and sneak you some prototypes in the meantime. If you would like us to contact you directly when the tables are ready, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add you to the list of people who will be the first to know.
DON'T FORGET: RECYCLE YOUR SHELLS
Please do not throw out the oyster shells at the end of your roast. Oysters are a critical part of keeping our waterways clean. Most coastal municipalities now offer recycling centers for oyster shells. (Check out our list of restoration and recycling efforts in the U.S.) Volunteers, oystermen, students, marine biologists and others load up the shells and strategically place them back in the water. Baby oysters will attach themselves to these recycled shells and start the lifecyle over again. Within three years, these baby oysters will be ready for your next oyster roast. We love this video from chef and activist Daniel Kline (theperennialplate.com) about recycling oyster shells.