How to Smoke Oysters at Home




Introduction: How to Smoke Oysters at Home

About: I live on the east coast of Canada, (New Brunswick). I have been tinkering and building things all my life and still manage to learn something new and exciting every day.

I love to eat oysters, I love them raw on the half shell, deep fried, steamed, smoked or in a pie. I've also got a desire to try new things so when the season's first maritime oysters hit the grocery stores I decided to try my hand at smoking some. I invite you to follow me on this journey of discovery and flavor.
Ingredients: 1/4 peck or about 30 fresh oysters in the shell.
                       large pot of boiling salted water.
                       wood chips for smoking

Step 1: Gather Your Crustations.

As mentioned in the introduction I'm using Maritime oysters from my neighboring province of Prince Edward Island. They start becoming available in my area in mid November, about the same time the Beaujolias Nouveau wine comes out. Coincidence, I think not. If you've never shucked an oyster before be prepared for a few minor injuries. It would be best if you got some one to show you how first, I'm sure youtube has lots of videos on how to do it. 

I'm no expert on how it is done but I've shucked enough to get by without injury. You will be needing an oyster knife, an old dish rag and perhaps a hammer for the tough ones.

Step 2: Time to Start Shucking.

If you don't like the look of fresh oysters then go no further on this instructable, if you love oysters like I do then this is like opening little  casks of goodness. You must control the urge to eat too many right off the half shell if you can, be strong, you can do it.

Step 3: Blanching

Ok, you've shucked all the oysters, administered what ever first aide was required to your hands so it is time now to blanch the meats. You will need to carefully clean them first in a sieve with fairly big holes to let any shell fragments fall through. Use a gentle stream of cold water and your fingers to feel for any sharp bits. You will also need a steel strainer and a large pot of boiling salted water. Blanching only takes a few seconds and you know you are done when the edges of the meats start to curl up. This step firms the meats up. 

Step 4: Smoking

Now the fun begins, if you are an experienced food smoker then use the equipment you have and the methods you get your best results from.  For those new to this method of cooking do a little research on the various methods of smoking or just follow along. You will need:
wood chips (I'm using reclaimed oak whiskey barrel wood)
container to hold wood chips (I'm using a pair of purpose made steel chip baskets)
Heat source (I'm using a gas BBQ because my meat tray wouldn't fit my smoker.)
A tray to hold the meat.( I'm using a saute pan for BBQ's, you could use a couple of cooling racks laid cross wise to each other)
The smoking time will be a personal preference, most sources say for oysters you only need between 25 and 30 minutes, I think I went about 45 minutes and was very happy with the results.
A note on the wood; don't use a wood that has a strong flavor such as hickory or mesquite, it will impart a slightly bitter taste to your food. Sea food benefits more from the fruit woods, cedar or alder. I've also discovered whiskey soaked oak is very good.
Also, you should soak the chips in water for about 1 hour before hand but if you are diligent with the spritz bottle you can use them dry for quicker results. 

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    6 years ago

    Any brining recommendations? I did a 30 hour brine with soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, brandy, etc.... and then used soaked hickory chips (all I had at the time). Recipe said to smoke for two hours at 225 degrees. They weren't half done by that time, and I did another five hours at 135 degrees and most were still not done.

    Is anyone else having this experience where the smoking time is a good number of hours? Brine vs no brine?

    Thanks R-


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I will try this soon -- it sounds so good. So if you steam the oysters, they come open by themselves? How do you steam them, indoors, outdoors, what type cooker?


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    By steaming the oysters they will open by them selves. I did them on the stove in a large pot wit about an inch of water in it. Takes about 5 minutes. Cover the pot.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! Thanks for your recipe, love your writing style. Really hard to find proper recipes for how to smoke your own oysters, all smoked oysters recipes around seems to be on how to use the canned type.
    I have a question though, is it necessary to blanch them before smoking the oysters? What difference does it make to the final result?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I thank you for your kind comments. I have done it with out the blanching step and was not as happy with the results. Like I mentioned in this Instructable, the blanching seems to firm the meats up just enough for easier handling.

    On a side note, I've since begun gently steaming the oysters in the shell too get at the meats. This is now my preferred method. First, no shucking, and second, it accomplishes the blanching for you. Just steam until the shells start to open and scrape out meats.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The hardest thing about smoking oysters is keeping 'em lit.

    Ah... An old joke, but a good one :-)