wood chips, saw dust, or wood pellets (such as oak or a fruitwood like cherry)
freshly shucked oysters in the half shell
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Smoked oysters can be used in many different ways, on crostini with goat cheese or with pickled onions and a bit of good pesto. They’re also great in salads and pastas. This is a method I adapted from Gill Meller’s exceptional book Gather. It’s an easy way to smoke oysters at home, especially if you don’t own a smoker. The key is to open the lid in a well-ventilated room to let the smoke escape.
- Line a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid or Dutch oven with a double sheet of aluminum foil. Pour the saw dust over the foil.
- Carefully drain the liquid out of the oysters and drizzle about ½ teaspoon of olive oil over each oyster in the shell. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper as needed. Place the oysters in their shell so that they sit snugly between the wood pieces.
- Cover with a lid and heat on medium-high for about 8 to 10 minutes until you start to smell the smoke. Remove from heat and carefully open the lid. The oyster will have taken on a brownish-pink color and will be smoked. Discard any excess liquid that might have accumulated in the shell.
Nik Sharma is an award-winning freelance food writer and photographer. He also writes a recipe-based food column for the San Francisco Chronicle called A Brown Kitchen and is also the author of the blog A Brown Table. His first cookbook, Season (Chronicle Books), was published in October 2018. He lives in Oakland, California.