Oyster Roasts: A Coastal Way of Life

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By Gene Brancho | Here in the South, we tend to do lots of things that involve food, and one of our favorite past times is gathering family and friends together for oyster roasts; a coastal way of life.

Oyster Roast season is a much-anticipated time of year in these parts. Oysters are saltwater treasures that are at their best when eaten on a chilly evening while keeping warm by the same fire that cooked them.

It’s not just a meal, it’s a way of life…an experience. Oyster roasts are a celebration of community and the bounty of the sea. Two things very near to the heart of us here in the Hostess City.

It’s said that you shouldn’t consume local oysters in months without the letter ‘R’ because the summer months are the months when oysters are spawning and the meat just isn’t as good. It’s said that the flesh ends up with the a thinner milky texture.

Oysters have been a steady part of the local diet for thousands of years. Mounds of discarded shells and ceremonial shell rings are scattered throughout the barrier islands here in the coastal Southeast, discarded by Native Americans some 4,000 years ago.

Having one yourself is lots of fun.

Set up a nice backyard fire in the pit and place well-washed local oysters on a large metal slab over the fire and cover them with wet burlap or a wet, clean towel. Cook ’em up for 8 to 10 minutes and then dump them on the table.

Serve them with oyster knives, saltine crackers, hot sauce cocktail sauce, some beer…and lots of friends and family.

Oyster roasts are also held as fundraisers throughout the area and many of our local restaurants even host them on a regular basis throughout the fall and winter months.

For tips and advice on hosting your own oyster roast, visit this link from our friends at Southern Living.