We love a naked oyster as much as anything else, but if you're going to dress them up, please add just enough homemade barbecue sauce and some crispy bacon. Chef/Owner Paul Gerard of East Village bistro Exchange Alley brings this New Orleans twist to fresh oysters on the half shell (and you should too).
"The BBQ oysters were inspired by cookouts I’d have down in New Orleans. My friends and I would pull oysters out of the Gulf, crack them open and throw them on beach fires, and add all kinds of different sauces. Then, when I brought the recipe up to New York, I also was making this BBQ bacon sandwich. I thought, these two would be great together, so I combined the BBQ with the bacon and with the oysters."
Oyster Barbecue Sauce
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh chile peppers, chopped
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/8 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprika)
- freshly ground black pepper
Bacon Barbecue Oysters
- 2 dozen large oysters on the half shell
- crispy cooked bacon, roughly chopped, or broken by hand
- yellow celery leaves (the very centers of the hearts), washed
- lemon wedges
- sliced fresh chiles
- Sweat the vegetables, add everything except the thyme, simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add thyme. Adjust acid (add vinegar if necessary). Season to taste.
- Top each oyster with a dollop of BBQ sauce, and some chopped bacon.
- Place on barbecue grill, close lid for a minute or two to caramelize the sauce a bit, or you can just cook straight on an open grill until they begin to bubble.
- Remove from grill and top with sliced chilis, bits of celery leaf, and lemon.
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