Cleaning Oysters

  • Clean all of your oysters under running cold water to remove all of the dirt.
  • Place a clean hand towel on the countertop. Place the oyster on that towel and then use another towel to hold the oyster in place.
  • Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge of the shell. This is where the top and bottom shells come together; it’s kind of indented. This is the sweet spot your oyster knife will be able to jimmy into.
  • Using pressure move your oyster knife so that you separate the top and bottom shells.
  • Once the oyster is open you must remember to loosen the oyster from its shell
  • And DO NOT under dump out the liquid in the shell. This is called oyster liquor and gives it that fresh-from-the-ocean flavor.
  • Repeat, until you’ve got as many oysters open as you’d like to eat or your arm gets tired of shucking.

Cooking Methods

  1. Baking: Wash off the shells, place on a cookie sheet to catch the liquid and bake at 500 degrees for 15-35 minutes, depending on the size. Some shells will not be opened, so some prying will be necessary. You may eat them plain or dip them in a favorite butter sauce. HINT: Oysters cooked “cup up” will hold the liquid, making juicier meat. “Cup down” results in the juice draining out, causing a drier oyster.

  2. Grilling: Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Scrub oysters. Place, cupped side down, on the grate, cover grill, and grill until oysters begin to open, about 2 minutes. Transfer opened oysters to a platter (discard any that do not open). Let cool slightly, then use an oyster knife or screwdriver to pry shells open, keeping cupped side down and retaining as much liquid as possible. Using an oyster knife or paring knife, cut muscles connecting oysters to shells. Serve warm with butter, lemon wedges, and hot sauce.

  3. Steaming: Scrub and rinse the oysters. Pour 3 cups of water, ¼ cup of white wine, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper into a large stockpot. Bring the mixture to boil. Place a steaming basket into the pot. Add the oysters on to the basket and steam for 10 minutes or until the shells have opened slightly. Remove the oysters from the pot and carefully shuck them by removing the top shell. Serve on a platter.

  4. Deep-fried Oysters: Place a heavy pot on the stove or prepare a deep fryer. Add 3 inches of vegetable oil into the pot and heat over medium-high heat to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the oysters. Shuck them by placing an oyster knife or other sturdy knife between the closed shells. Pry the shells open and scrape the oysters from the shells. Pour 1 cup of buttermilk into a bowl. Mix in another bowl 1½ cups of cornmeal, ½ cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1½ teaspoons of salt and black pepper to taste.

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