I threw an impromptu oyster roast this past weekend – BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT!!— and it was super fun, and the sun came out of the clouds and, man, it was so pleasant. Sorry rest of the country, I hear it’s winter where you live.
It was perhaps New Orleans’ first (and only) oyster roast. People don’t eat steamed oysters here. They prefer theirs fried, raw and/or charbroiled.
But steamed is how I’ve been eating them for the past 10 years when I was living in South Carolina and have grown to love its hot, salty goodness.
I was determined to push them onto my friends using this exact preparation and actually got some new fans of the steamed oysters.
“They’re not steamed, they’re boiled,” said my friend Nicole, not a fan, as I was trying to cook the first “test” batch.
“Boiled” was sort of true, though. At one point, the water bubbled up over the grate of oysters in the pot, so they were yes, sitting in boiling water for a little bit instead of getting cooked just by the steam.
But, boiled or not, I ate like a million of them, and I thought they were great. And no, they weren’t covered in oil, and were actually quite large. Three inches long! (That’s what she said!…And then frowned.)
The real winning oysters were the ones that my dad grilled. He showed up with a mixture of butter and garlic and parmesan cheese and HolySweetBabyJesus they were effing delicious.
Being outside with friends enjoying unseasonably warm weather reminded me of South Carolina since my twin sister, Joy, and I used to throw a Christmas oyster roast every year at our house with our friend, April.
However, there are a few differences in the oyster lingo between the two coasts, as I will try to explain in this “Good to know” list, in case you ever decide to throw one yourself:
1.) You buy the oysters by the BUSHEL in South Carolina, by the SACK (or gallons) in New Orleans
New Orleans sack
South Carolina bushel
2.) A New Orleans sack costs twice as much as a South Carolina bushel, but it’s still cheaper than dinner for two at Chili’s.
All that salty goodness.
3.) In New Orleans, when you call the store to see if they have any oyster shuckers for sale, they think you're talking about a person. They call them oyster knives here.
4.) In South Carolina, you don't need to buy oyster knives shuckers. Just wait for a restaurant to throw its own oyster roast and steal all their shuckers.
5.) No matter what state you are in, oyster shooters are gross.
6.) Oysters are best eaten near water.
7.) At oyster roasts, you learn new things about your friends that help make the oysters happen.
Matt, the master steamer.
Tatiana, the master raw oyster shucker.
8.) Oyster roasts are more fun with costumes.
All I want for Christmas is my own engraved oyster shucker
9.) In New Orleans, people know what you mean when you offer them a charbroiled oyster and say, “It just got all ACME up in here!”
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10.) In New Orleans, dad shows up and makes something delicious.
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