Grilled Oysters with Barbecue Sauce

Ideal for summer cookout season in New England, this grilled oyster recipe with barbecue sauce comes to us from Boston pitmaster Andy Husbands.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 09 2017


Grilled Oysters with Barbecue Sauce

Photo Credit : Keller + Keller

Grilling oysters is a wonderful way to enjoy them at home without having to go to the trouble of shucking: Cooked on the grill, they open automatically. Andy Husbands — the chef and grilling pro behind the Boston-area eateries Tremont 647, Sister Sorel, and the Smoke Shop — serves them with a barbecue sauce inspired by his dad, Roger, who loved grilling the Olympia oysters of his native Washington state on special occasions. Today Husbands uses his own favorites: Island Creek oysters from Duxbury, Massachusetts.

This recipe calls for medium-heat direct grilling. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you’ll want to spread an even layer of unlit charcoal in the bottom of the grill, then fill the chimney halfway with charcoal. Stuff two sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and light it. When the coals are fully engaged — you should see flames peeking over the top — pour them over the unlit charcoal. When you can hold your hand over the fire for no more than 5 to 8 seconds, the fire is ready.

If you’re using a gas grill, however, simply turn all burners to medium.


6 appetizer servings


Kosher salt, for serving the oysters
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, mined
¼ cup ketchup
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
24 oysters


On a large serving plate, create a bed of kosher salt about ½-inch deep. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Prepare your grill for medium heat direct grilling.

While the grill is heating, make your sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the olive oil and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the ketchup, lemon juice and zest, horseradish, hot sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Set aside.

When you can hold your hands over the fire for no more than 5 to 8 seconds, clean the grill grate. Cut six rectangles of aluminum foil to match the width of your grill (so, if the grate of your grill is 22 inches across, match the foil to that length). Squeeze the sheets lengthwise into ½-inch-thick “poles.” These will hold the oysters as they cook so they don’t tip over.


Aluminum foil “poles” help keep the oysters in place while they cook.

Lay the aluminum “poles” lengthwise on the grate, with just enough room between them to hold an oyster (depending on the size of your grill, you may need to do this in two batches). Place for oysters between each pole. Cover the grill and cook 2 to 4 minutes, checking after 2 minutes to see if the oysters have started to open.

Once they have opened about ¼ inch, use tongs to transfer them to the foil-liked sheet, being careful not to spill their juices. Using heatproof gloves, remove the top shell and loosen the oyster meat with an oyster or paring knife, leaving it in the shell with the juices.

Add about 1 teaspoon of the barbecue sauce to each oyster and place them back on the grill.

Cover the grill and cook for 2 minutes more, until the sauce is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately, nestled in the salt on the serving plate.