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Aw Shucks! Chargrilled Oysters for a Friday night

By Mike Gennaro
Friday night in Louisiana is unforgiving on a reclusive homebody like me–and oysters. The neighbors were at it again, and this time the fare was boiled shrimp and chargrilled oysters that had journeyed from local waters to Tony’s Seafood to Dustin Benzer’s Yeti cooler all the way to the Fontenot residence at Americana TND in Zachary. “Come on Dad, they’re grilling oysters—that’s your favorite!” prodded my kids, as I threw on my duck boots and trudged out into the wet sub-50 temperatures, somewhat reluctantly. When I arrived, ready to feast, Benzer was called out to fight a fire. Just like that, I became head shucker, pit master, and babysitter to the many children running around underfoot of the oyster knives. The chaos, wet conditions, and slate of improper ingredients brought out my inner Bucktown, LA seafood superiority complex–Dat ain’t how we roll! When it’s chargrilled oyster time, I’m operating under a time-tested system.

Recipe

2-3 tbsp minced garlic
Salted butter
2 quartered lemons
1 large bag of ice
One extra ice chest to put the cleaned and prepped oysters
An oyster knife — Don’t go cheap on the oyster knife.
Tiny forks
The most important ingredient is timing. Make sure you get oysters during a month with the letter R in its name. Fecal coliform bacteria is no joke. Neither are stab wounds—pay the extra $1 for the oyster knife with a protective guard at the hilt and a rubber handle.

Instructions

1. Get the grill as hot as you can. When it’s ready to takeoff like a rocket to the moon, it’s hot enough.
2. Melt the salted butter and mix with lemon and minced garlic.
3. Pre-shucking is the safest and most efficient way to prep your oysters. Rinse and scrub every oyster to remove mud and debris. Leave the garden hose on at light pressure or use a prep sink to rinse the oyster meat after it is shucked. Place a layer of shucked oysters on the half shell in the ice chest. Then, toss a layer of ice on top. Once you have all oysters on the half shell, start grilling.
4. Apply the butter mixture to each oyster while on the grill.
5. Cook until the oyster shell turns bronze around the edges and the butter is boiling within the shell.
6. Top with parmesan cheese
7. Dig in!

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