Drew Swantak/Thrillist
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

10 Grilled Oyster Recipes From America's Best Oyster Bars

Raw oysters are great. Seriously, I love them. But sometimes, throwing them on the grill is so much better. The flame concentrates that briny flavor, which pairs deliciously with butter, herbs, chiles, and all the other things you can toss in the shells on the grill. Plus, the heat naturally opens the oysters, so there’s no obnoxious shucking necessary.

To help get you inspired, I went to some of the best oyster bars in the country and asked for their favorite grilled recipes. They did not disappoint. After testing each one and passing out in a butter-induced coma, I compiled a few tips to keep in mind before you tackle any of these 10:

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  • Place clean oysters cupped-side down on the grill grates and close the cover. In about 2 minutes, the shells will pop open. Pull off the top shells and plop in butter or whatever you’re seasoning with.
  • The oysters will probably wobble, but that’s a good thing -- spilled butter on hot coals will add extra-smoky flavor to your bivalves.
Eventide Oyster's Korean Barbecue Grilled Oyster — Thrillist Recipe
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Portland, ME
These jumbo, meaty oysters are cooked in a thick, Korean-style barbecue sauce until caramelized, then topped with coleslaw and fried potato strings. Owner Arlin Smith suggests crumbling up potato chips for an easy substitute.

Grilled Winter Point Oysters with Korean Barbecue Sauce

Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup fermented black bean puree
  • 1/3 cup fermented chili paste
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 24 Winter Point oysters
  • 1 ½ cups prepared coleslaw
  • 2 ounces salted potato chips
  • Pour oil into a Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onions start to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes. At this point add 1/4 cup of water to deglaze pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until soft, another 10 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except sesame oil, and add to the pan. Continue cooking on low, partially covered, until mixture reduces by half, about 25 minutes. Scrape the bottom once in a while to make sure it’s not sticking or burning.
  • Transfer mixture to a food processor, add sesame oil, and puree until smooth.
  • Pass through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Place live oysters on a hot grill. When they start to pop open, remove from heat and open them completely. Using an oyster knife, sever the muscle on both sides of shell. Spoon sauce to cover the oysters, return to heat until the sauce starts to sizzle.
  • Place oysters on a platter. Top with coleslaw and potato chips.
B&G Oysters' Grilled Oysters with Roasted Red Pepper Butter — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Boston, MA
Stephen Oxaal, chef de cuisine at B&G Oysters, drenches his grilled oysters in roasted red pepper butter. After a stint in the oven, red bell peppers easily shed their blistered skins to reveal sweet and succulent flesh that blends beautifully with softened butter.

Grilled Oysters with Roasted Red Pepper Butter

Total Time: 1½ hours
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon sliced chives
  • Preheat oven to 425℉.
  • Coat the bell pepper with canola oil and salt. Place it on an oven-safe dish and roast, turning it occasionally, until skin is blistered and the pepper begins to collapse, about 1 hour. To roast the pepper on a grill instead, the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the fire. Put the pepper directly over the heat. Grill, turning as each side blackens, until it collapses, 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer pepper to a bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • When pepper is cool, peel off skin and remove seeds and the stem. Dice pepper and set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, whip the butter, paprika, and black pepper on low speed. Slowly increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the roasted pepper and mix evenly.
  • Preheat your grill until hot. Place oysters curved-side down on the grill, and cook until they pop open. Remove and discard the top shells. Using an oyster knife, sever the muscle on the bottom shells. Add 1 tablespoon of roasted pepper butter on top of each oyster and cook until bubbling.
  • Carefully remove the oysters from the grill and arrange on your serving platter. Sprinkle with chives.
L&E Oyster Bar's Stone-Crab Grilled Oysters — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Los Angeles, CA
Spencer Bezaire, executive chef at L&E Oyster Bar, punches up seafood with even more seafood. He coaxes a ton of flavor out of crab scraps by boiling them in butter, which soaks up every morsel of delicious sea essence rendered from the shells. Bezaire prefers Santa Barbara stone crabs because of their thick, flavorful shells, but any stone crab will do.

Grilled Oysters with Stone Crab Butter

Total Time: 2 hours (including chill time)
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 3 ounces light beer
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 small Santa Barbara stone crab
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Meyer lemon zested and juiced
  • Fill a medium size pot with 2 quarts of water, beer, and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil over high heat. Drop crab in, bring back to a boil, and cook for 12 minutes.
  • Remove crab from pot and let cool. Drain and rinse pot; return it to the stove. Pick as much meat as possible from the crab and place the discarded shells back into the pot; set meat aside. Add butter to the pot and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour butter through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Discard the shells. Add crab meat and the rest of the ingredients to the butter; mix well. Put in the refrigerator to cool until solidified.
  • To use, place shucked oysters on a hot grill and scoop 1 tablespoon of butter onto each oyster. When oysters begin to boil, remove from heat and serve.
Grand Central Oyster Bar's Grilled Oysters In Vin Blanc Sauce — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

New York, NY
This white wine sauce is an important “mother sauce” at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Chef Sandy Ingber says it’s an integral part of his oysters Rockefeller, but would also be a great sauce for oysters on the grill.

Grilled Oysters with Lemon-Cayenne Vin Blanc

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant fish bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Combine wine and shallots in a saucepan and bring to a full boil. Cook until it’s reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add water, cream, and bouillon; bring back to a boil.
  • Melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until it smells toasty, about 1 minute. Don’t let the flour brown. Add half of the wine mixture and stir well to dissolve the roux. Stir in the rest of the liquid and bring to a simmer. Add cayenne pepper, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Using an oyster knife, sever the muscle on both sides of the shell of each oyster. Discard the top shells. Spoon 2 teaspoons of sauce on each oyster, set on a hot grill and cook until the edges of the oysters start to ruffle and sauce starts to sizzle.
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace's Grilled Oysters with Red Chile Butter and Gremolata — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Washington, DC
The hot oysters at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace have a wonderful smoky flavor from their wood-fired grill. Get the same results at home with their red chile butter and toasted gremolata recipe.

Grilled Oysters with Red Chile Butter and Gremolata

Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 18 oysters

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste

  • 18 Chesapeake Bay oysters
  • In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast until evenly brown. Add the remainder of the ingredients off the heat. Let rest while you prepare the butter.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer. When the milk solids separate from the fat, remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Shuck oysters, removing them from the abductor muscles. Place oysters over a hot spot on your grill, ladle in 2 tablespoons of the butter and close the lid. After about 3 minutes, the edges of the oysters will begin to curl and pull away from the shell. Once this happens, remove oysters from the grill and top off with gremolata.
Casamento's Chargrilled Oysters — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

New Orleans, LA
Owner CJ Gerdes tops grilled Louisiana oysters with a blend of butter, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and lots of Parm, then returns them to the grill so the butter and cheese melts into creamy pools in the shells.

Parmesan-Crusted Charbroiled Oysters

Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 24 Bluepoint oysters
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients (except Parmesan). Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Shuck oysters and place on a hot grill until the oysters start to ruffle around the edges. Pour 1 tablespoon of butter sauce onto each oyster and cook for 1 minute. Scoop 1 tablespoon of Parmesan on top of each oyster and cook until melted and bubbling.
Prime Meats' Grilled Oysters — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

New York, NY
This ingenious, briny sauce from Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli couldn’t be simpler: grill oysters in their own liquor until they pop open, then add a drop of rice wine vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. It's the perfect complement to the natural flavor of the oysters.

Simplest Grilled Oysters

Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 24 East Coast oysters
  • 3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • Place oysters, cup-side down, on a hot grill. As soon as they open, remove the top shells and add a drop of rice wine vinegar, a drop of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of sea salt to each oyster.
GT Fish & Oyster's Roasted Oysters — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Chicago, IL
Horseradish is the best way to add some kick to your oysters, even the cooked ones. In this recipe by Chef Giuseppe Tentori, the spicy root is mixed with butter, lemon, and Parmesan for a piquant topping to grilled oysters.

Grilled Oysters with Horseradish Butter

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 24 large East Coast oysters, the saltier the better
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Using a rubber spatula, combine butter, horseradish, lemon zest, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Shuck each oyster and place the oysters aside in a small bowl. Put 1 tablespoon of horseradish butter in each bottom shell. Top the butter with 1 oyster per shell. Cover each oyster with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
  • Place oysters on a hot grill until cheese is melted and butter is bubbling. Garnish each oyster with chives before serving.
The Walrus and the Carpenter's Grilled Oysters with Snail Butter — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Seattle, WA
Chef Renee Erickson’s snail butter doesn’t actually have snails in it, but it’s the same garlicky green sauce usually served with French escargots. No surprise here, but it’s just as tasty with sizzling-hot oysters.

Grilled Oysters with Snail Butter

Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup capers (salt-packed preferred), rinsed well
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dozen oysters, each about 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches long
  • Melt half the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Transfer it to the work bowl of a food processor. Add remaining butter, parsley, mint, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, mustard, and salt & pepper to taste. Whirl on high speed until smooth and bright green.
  • Prepare the grill to medium-high heat, about 425 degrees F.
  • Shuck the oysters, leaving the oyster meat and liquor in the deep half of the shell. If the shell is more than half full of liquid, tip some of the liquid out; you want the oysters to roast, not boil. Top each raw oyster with 1 heaping tablespoon of the butter. Place them on the grill and cook until the butter melts and begins to brown at the edges and the oyster’s muscle contracts, 8 to 10 minutes.
Grand Central Oyster Bar's Grilled Farm-Style Oysters — Thrillist Recipes
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

New York, NY
Sandy Ingber proves that a dish can be both luxurious and simple with this colorful confetti butter. The chef makes grilled oysters rustic by adding a mix of shallots, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic to warm butter.

Grilled Farm-Style Oysters

Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 24 Pacific oysters, about 3 inches each
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • Shuck oysters, removing flat top shell and loosening the oyster from the bottom shell.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the olive oil, butter, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, but keep warm.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of the sauce onto each oyster. Place oysters on a hot grill until the sauce is bubbling. Be careful not to overcook. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.