Master the Grill: Grilled Oysters

North America’s top grilling chefs share their secrets

Jun 3, 2013
Outside Magazine

To say Chef Tim Byers knows his way around the grill would be an understatement. Named Best New Chef in 2012 by Food & Wine magazine, Byers is perfecting the Dallas restaurant he co-owns, SMOKE, famous for—what else—its slow-smoked dishes. His attention to flavor and care in using sustainably raised meats and local produce also landed SMOKE with the magazine’s distinction of having one of the top ten dishes in America. For an unexpectedly easy appetizer from the grill, he enjoys oysters on the half-shell.  

Chef Tim Byers starts with a dozen oysters, sized about 2 to 3 inches in length. After shucking them, he advises to “keep the larger cupped side of the shell for cooking and serving.”

Next, he moves on to ingredients, whipping butter with garlic, salt and chili in a food processor. “Add a tablespoon of flavored butter to each shell and top with a pinch of bread crumbs,” he says, then places the loaded oyster shell directly on the grill. “The fire is going to bubble and simmer the oyster meat in the butter,” a process, he explains, that should last for just less than five minutes. “[The oyster will] take on the salty sea flavor of the shell, the bread crumbs will start to toast, and the butter will brown a bit.” 

At that stage, it’s time to take the oysters off the grill. He serves them right in their shell, mentioning that it “will continue to keep them warm.” Right before serving, he adds a final touch, sending the flavor of grilled shellfish over the edge. “Make an acidic relish with fresh herbs, a mignonette with honey, or anything light and fresh on top—you will have a hot, cold, buttery, cool, crisp, sweet, acidic bite.” It’s just that kind of tip that makes this grilled dish a hit.

Filed To: Food and Drink