Oysters in the Smoker
This smoked oysters recipe will impress friends and family and become an all time favorite if you enjoy these unique shellfish. Smoked salmon and tuna are a popular appetizer for many, however if you have never tasted an oyster after it has been put through a cure and smoking process you are missing out. These are known to be a labor of love as it requires several steps that must be done to perfection in order to result in an edible product. A mistake during the prep or cooking time mistake will result in something less than desirable but follow the instructions and the result is something truly special and unique.
If the fish market sells the oysters already shucked that can save a lot of time, but might be more expensive. Most locations sell the shellfish by the dozen and the bushel which is typically 5 dozen, so 60 individual oysters. This recipe is based on making an entire bushel.
The cure that is used is a standard fish cure for smoking fish plus additional brown sugar, feel free to use a different cure to alter the flavor according to personal taste.
Do You Like Smoked Oysters
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 30 min
- Bushel Oysters, Shuck Shells Save Brine
- 1 Cup Salt Cure Mix, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Prague Powder #1
- 1 Handful Wood Chips
The Curing & Smoking Process
Instructions for Smoking Shellfish
- Shuck the oysters. Place the meat from the shell along with the saltwater brine into a large bowl. Follow basic safety procedures when opening them.
- Place all of the water and oysters into a pot for boiling on the stove and add about an inch of water to cover them completely.
- Bring to a boil, and stir occasionally to avoid any sticking to the bottom or sides.
- Boil for 5 minutes and then move to the sink to start the cleaning and cool down process.
- Run water into the pot to transfer the temperature of the water from boiling to slightly warm and allow the foam and dirty water to wash out.
- Transfer the oysters to a colander and continue to clean them off any remaining sand or foam.
- Place the oysters into the cure mixture and slowly mix them to fully coat the oysters with the salt cure. Make sure to use a healthy amount. When curing oysters always add an additional small handful of brown sugar to the salt cure.
- Allow the cure to settle into the meat and soak up the flavors. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes remove the bowl and again rinse the oysters.
- It is very important to rinse them very good and allow them to soak in water for a minute or two during the rinsing process.
- Place on the smoking rack for the smoker. Make sure the smoker is starting to generate a solid layer of smoke and the temperature is not too high, around 200 - 215 degrees seems to work well. More smoke Less Heat is important.
- Place on the top rack and check the oysters in 10 minutes. If still really light brown in color allow to go in the smoke for an additional 5 - 10 minutes be watching carefully.
- Take out the oysters and allow for them to cool, but it is safe to just pop them in your mouth as soon as they come out of the smoker.
- Look for the oysters to be browning up after soaking in the smoky flavor from the wood chips, but watch the edges because if the outer layer starts to harden and get crispy the oysters will be inedible. The biggest trick for most individuals is just keeping the temps down and keeping a thick layer of smoke, since they are already cooked during the boiling process the smoke is just for flavoring and creating that appealing golden brown appearance.
Making the Salt Cure
The salt cure is fairly easy to make. Depending on the taste that you prefer you may wish to adjust the ingredients or experiment with other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the smoked fish, oysters, and other seafood items.
3 Basic Ingredients Create a Salt Cure
A simple combination for a salt cure is to use 3/4 Cup of Salt, 1/8 Cup of Granulated Sugar, 1/8 Cup Brown Sugar.
If you are looking for an extra special flavor in your seafood salt cures then check out the Prague Powder #1 which helps inhibit the growth of bacteria prolonging the shelf life of your smoked items. Exchange 1/4 Cup of Prague for 1/4 Cup of Salt to balance the measurements of the cure.
Easy Oyster Appetizer
Serving Oyster Appetizers
There are several ways to incorporate a smoked oyster into a special meal, however the most likely destination for a platter of these smoked delicacies is a simple appetizer. A simple cracker and cheese or basic spread allows you to enjoy the real flavors of the smoked oysters and my favorite way to enjoy a snack of these.
Get a few Nabisco Triscuits in your favorite flavor. The rosemary garlic flavor is a nice enhancements if those are herbs that you enjoy. Cream cheese or slices of a quality cheddar or Gouda cheese is also excellent for the main event the smoked oyster.
Types of Wood for Smoking Shellfish
There are a wide variety of woods that work well for smoking oysters each having their own distinct flavors that seasoned experts can quickly notice.
The most common wood chip flavors include:
- Alder Wood
- Cherry Wood
- Hickory Wood
- Maple Wood
There are several other regional favorites. The same type of wood that you prefer to use in the smoker for making tuna or salmon will be perfect for the oysters. Often it is advised to have another type of fish on the lower racks as the oysters are only in the smoker fro a short duration of time compared to other meats and are best placed on the highest racks away from the heat source.
Additional Ideas for Oysters in the Smoker
There is another fun way to cook an oyster in a smoker and still retain that traditional oyster shooter style delivery and taste, but infuse the shellfish with smoke. Instead of taking the oyster out of the bottom part of the shell, keep them on the half shell and fill up the rack for he smoker. When the smoker is roaring with smoke at a low heat place the rack in the smoker and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes absorbing the flavor and slightly cooking. Add a dash of Tabasco and spritz of lemon and down the hatch. They are not nearly as slimy as a normal, half shell oyster, but retain some of that texture and taste. This is a quick way to get oysters ready for eating for people that do not like the raw nature of a typical oyster shooter. The shells will be hot, so let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving to guests.
Favorite Wood Flavoring
Recipes Using Smoked Oysters
- Warm Potato Salad with Smoked Oysters, Sauté Mushrooms and Avocado at Cooking Melangery
Potatoes are very versatile and can be used as a base to create an array of tempting light meals, like Warm Potato Salad with Smoked Oysters, Sauté Mushrooms and Avocado.
- Spinach and Smoked Oyster Spaghetti
the spinach and smoked oyster spaghetti with lemony breadcrumbs – it’s a killer. The taste of smoked oysters reminded me a little of anchovies (without the brininess), but better.
- Smoked Oyster and Potato Salad with Arugula
We thought of this dish as a main course for lunch, but it would also be great for dinner, particularly with grilled steak. (Serves four as a starter or side dish.)
W1totalk on July 04, 2013:
I remember the first time I had a smoked oyster. I would taste it with a simple saltine. It was so good. Great article.
livingsta from United Kingdom on April 14, 2013:
I have not tasted oysters, but tasted mussels. These look very similar to them, wonder if the taste is similar too! This is a very interesting recipe. Thank you for sharing with us. Votes up and sharing!
CZCZCZ (author) from Oregon on March 01, 2013:
Smoked oysters are real special treat indeed, thanks for the comment.
Kim Lam from California on March 01, 2013:
Why haven't I thought of smoking oysters before? This is amazing! I also have a piece of wood that's been sitting around. Definitely going to try it this summer at our BBQ's! Thanks for sharing!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 06, 2013:
What a cool idea! Although we don't easily find oysters in this part of Peru, next time we visit our friends in Charleston we'll pass along this idea. They usually have an oyster boil while we're visiting and they have a smoker, so it's a no-brainer. I especially like the idea of using hickory wood.