Tips for Planning Your Charleston Oyster Roast

Tips for Planning Your Charleston Oyster Roast

oystersOyster season has arrived so break out the knives, gloves and cocktail sauce. It’s time for an oyster roast.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources announced the season for harvesting shellfish would run Oct. 1, 2014, through May 15, 2015. That includes clams and oysters perfect for a fall oyster roast, tailgating party or backyard barbecue. Before you send out the invites, make sure you’ve ordered the oysters, determined a cooking method and planned for how to collect and recycle the shells.

  • Are you going to cook your oysters over an open fire or steam them in a pot?
  • You need an oyster table with receptacles for the shells so they can be easily recycled. Many people cut holes in a piece of plywood and then place the wood over the shell recycling bins.
  • Provide – or ask guests to bring – oyster knives to pry the shells open along with gloves or towels to handle the hot oysters. Many people like to eat their oysters with saltine crackers, cocktail sauce or melted butter.
  • Don’t forget a cooler of cold beverages and you’re ready to roast. You may want to provide some alternative dining options (hot dogs, barbecue) for guests who don’t like to eat oysters or have shellfish allergies.

Tips for storing oysters from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources:

  • Harvested oysters in the shell should not be stored in water. Store them at 35-40 degrees in the refrigerator and they will keep for several days.
  • Shucked oysters should be light grey in color with clear liquid. If sealed and packed on ice in a refrigerator, oysters will keep for about one week.
  • If you’re planning to use the oysters immediately, place them in the freezer for a few hours to relax the muscle that holds the shell closed. This makes shucking much easier.

You can purchase oysters at just about any seafood market, including Cosby’s Seafood on Spring Street in downtown Charleston and Huff’s Seafood on James Island.

After the party, don’t forget to recycle the shells. You can get details on recycling and find a recycling drop-off location online at

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