5@5 - An oyster primer for National Oyster Day
August 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

The world is your oyster - especially seeing that August 5 is National Oyster Day.

In preparation for the molluscan merrymaking, we've recruited Executive Chef Eric Woods of Blue Water Grill to drop the bivalve 411.

Cracking the Code (and Shells) on Oysters: Eric Woods

1. The East Coast, West Coast rivalry
"Leave your gang signs at the door. While all oysters may not be created equal, both East and West Coast oysters have their advantages and you can absolutely eat both in the same meal.

East Coast oysters tend to be flatter and have a thinner meat, which can be forgiving for a beginner especially. West Coast oysters tend to have a deeper cup with a jagged edge because of the rougher West Coast waters - they also have a bigger bite with a creamier taste.

Feeling overwhelmed with that oyster list? Some good ones to look for that are on many menus include: Malpac or Blue Island (East Coast) and Kumamoto, Fanny Bay or Hama Hama (West Coast)."

2. OK, they’re here...now what?
"Oftentimes, guests will question how to 'properly' eat the oysters. I definitely have my personal favorite way to eat them, although you can try any way that works for you.

Bottom line is this: You don’t want to totally mask the taste of the oyster. The condiments are there to complement the flavor. You definitely want to taste the liquor of the oyster, which is the liquid inside the shell.

When the oysters arrive, they will typically be accompanied by four condiments: horseradish, cocktail sauce, fresh lemon, and a mignonette. If you order multiple types of oysters, the server should always identify which is which. They will typically start with East Coast and then move on to West Coast. I would recommend eating them that way too, especially if you are a beginner.

Pick the shell up, add a squeeze of lemon juice or the mignonette (I like to take the shallots out of the mignonette and add those alone as they have been pickled by the vinegars and butcher’s cracked pepper), then add some horseradish to the cocktail sauce for an extra kick before putting it on top - or just add the horseradish alone.  You can always alternate which you add to each oyster.

All done? Return the shell, turned upside down, to the ice tray it was served on."

3. Is there an oyster season?
"Some say there are certain months you shouldn’t eat oysters, but as harvesting has become more sophisticated, this notion has really become less and less the case. One reason why some might suggest sticking to fall, winter and spring for oyster indulgence is because oysters spawn in the warm summer months, usually May through August - although natural Gulf water oysters can spawn year-round due to the warm waters.

Spawning oysters should not be served. How can you tell? They will have a heavy white substance in the shell and will have a foul creamy taste. This does not mean you cannot find great, fresh oysters in the summer months. Trust me, I use them every day!

Not up for raw oysters this time around? You can always try oyster po' boys, baked oysters, oysters Rockefeller, oysters casino, or even an oyster taco (a fried oyster put back in its shell with spicy guacamole, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo) - yum!"

4. How do I know they’re fresh?
"By law, we of course follow certain regulations when it comes to seafood, which includes ensuring the tags (which includes the harvest date) follows the seafood no matter where in the restaurant it goes. If half the oysters are in the kitchen and the other half are up at the raw bar counter, the tag has been photocopied and one tag remains with each set.

There should also a strict receiving process and procedure done on site for all seafood to ensure that the guest is receiving the freshest, best-quality items. This process includes taking the temperature of everything as it arrives and logging it immediately."

5. Aw, shucks! Don’t (OK, maybe) try this at home.
"If you are going to take on the adventure of oysters at home, be prepared - it can be quite a process for those not familiar with it. When at a reputable vendor, look for fresh oysters that are wet, packed on ice, tightly closed, and have no damage or chips. You can even ask to see the tags, which tell you the harvest date.

Take them home, packed on ice of course, and scrub them under ice cold water until clean with a food-safe brush. Do not let them sit in water. Now, it’s time to shuck.

This can be a bit tricky for a beginner, so you may first want to have a demo from a professional. Either way, just be sure to approach this slowly and safely.

Fold a damp kitchen towel in half (the long way) for a long rectangle shape and fold that over the oyster, clenching the back-rounded portion of the oyster in the inside of the towel. Ensure the palm of your hand is completely protected by the towel and that the oyster is being held tightly inside, applying pressure with your thumb on top and fingers on the bottom to the flat part of the shell.

Place the oyster knife (and yes, you MUST use an oyster knife for this!) about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in the front of the oyster and twist the knife to open the shell, being careful not to stab all the way through the oyster. Then, run the knife along the top shell to cut the muscle, being careful not to cut the meat.

Under the meat, you have to cut the other half of the muscle, running knife along bottom of shell under meat, about 1/4-inch through the back. If you got this far, congratulations!

Now, serve your oyster on crushed ice with the classic and condiments and enjoy."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Beefburger

    Yeah, gotta love those Gulf coast oysters. HEY! LOOK! A BLACK PEARL! Ohh, nevermind, its just a tarball.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  2. CD

    I'm over 50 and have beeneating Gulf coast oysters since about 8 years old. I never did bother with the R months; all months are fine. Many times they were consumed right on the boat and not once have I ever gotten sick from an oyster. Blame your seafood distributor, not the oyster.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  3. Armenak

    The best way to check for freshness ,squeeze lemon after you opened it they should retract if you opened the shell with out making a puree of the guy inside .
    the right way to really enjoy all you need is lemon the rest just masks the real taste.
    Don't forget the white wine.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  4. ekul

    East Coast-West Boast PLHAATTT!

    GULF COAST!!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  5. kazz

    You don't need a blog. Just eat it.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  6. Phil

    chew, always chew

    August 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  7. Pat

    Tobasco and lemon with a pint of my favorite stout... I could eat dozens this way.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  8. chewyboy

    Definition of "Hocking A Loogie" – You snort back all the snot from your nostrils into the back of your throat, and then gargle up the phlegm from your throat (to mix with the snot) up to the back of your tongue. You then expel the resultant mixture onto a seashell. Result? An Oyster.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • morbidcuriosityy

      LOL. Sounds about right. :-)

      August 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  9. chewyboy

    It does not say whether to chew or swallow whole. Never eaten one. Never will. I've hocked loogies that looked better.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Hmmm, and how did those taste?

      August 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  10. Au-Naturelle

    Pull the panties aside, and eat.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Phil

      well said. maybe that's why the're so tasty

      August 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • OU812

      Oyster liquor? Rather, liquor oyster!

      August 5, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Jake

      well said

      August 5, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Mandarus

      Exactly, its like a right of passage to eat your first raw oyster!

      August 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  11. Phil

    the site is about enjoying them. Not worrying about bacteria, poisoning, heaving or licking a bump. you don't like them -log off

    August 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  12. William

    Really? You're going to break down oysters by east coast and west coast? How narrow minded.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Mandarus

      I agree. Are they going to say next that upper east coast lobsters are the same as lower east coast lobsters?

      August 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  13. Guest

    Swallow
    Brace self over toilet
    Heave

    August 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  14. blessedgeek

    I eat kosher oysters – oyster mushrooms. And vegetarian calamari (fried onion rings).

    August 4, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Soulerman

      OMG! I feel sorry for you. You, sir are missing so much in life!

      August 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  15. Dave

    I do not eat oysters, but I have been told the paralytic shellfish poisoning variety is better than the hepatitis variety.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Gotta love that paralysis!

      August 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  16. Ed

    Nisqually Sweets...you've probably never heard of them...better than Kumumoto and almost as good as Kussi but 1/2 the price.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  17. JohnM

    We grow Kumamoto oysters in Willapa Bay, Washington State and ship FedEx to all 50 states.
    See our oysters at:
    http://www.willapa-oysters.com

    August 4, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  18. jim

    I like to take oyster, and lick it right up and down.. i spend most of my time near the bump on top.. until it finally opens up, and suck up all the juices..

    after i'm done, i leave the cream on the side, toss it out.. and find a new oyster..

    August 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Jake

      That's the way I like to eat them too ;)

      August 5, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Jen

      You're making me hot, Jim

      August 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  19. Demetrios Poliorketes

    Save some money and just blow your nose into your hand when you have a bad cold and then slurp it up. Exactly the same sensation and taste.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • S

      New Ad Campaign- Save an oyster...eat a booger.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Thomas

      The same as eating boogers? No it's snot.

      August 5, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • GROSS!!!

      Thanks for that image.

      August 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  20. S

    Step 1. Grab oyster
    Step 2. Pry off shell
    Step 3. Slide oyster down throat
    Step 4. Sprint to nearest bathroom and pry off pants as vibrio vulnificus works its magic

    August 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • oysterguy

      I have been eating raw oysters every week for 30 years and never gotten ill once. But for all those who prefer to live their lives in fear, and would prefer their food sterilized – try cooking them, roasting them on the grill with a little wine, lemon, dill..., broiling them Rockafeller... OMG! or go have another salmonella infested turkey burger or some e-coli beef. If you prefer to live your life without risk then you miss out on many great pleasures.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  21. Phil

    we also get all the speckled trout, redfish, flounder, shrimp, tuna, dolphin (mahi-mahi), blue crabs–especially soft shelled– right in our back yard......awesome gulf waters choices......................

    August 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  22. JaCK

    I could eat dozens....and have, they taste great by themselves or a drop of lemon. Just lots of oysters, a lemon and some ice tea or a cold beer........now that's heaven.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  23. Phil

    East Coast, West Coast, South Coast, splash of lemon, hint of horseradish, toss in a beer or two------sounds like a Jimmy Buffett tune. Count me in. Haven't met a bivalvia I didn't like. All those against–thanks, more for me.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Ed

      With a tin cup chalice, fill it up with good red wine....

      August 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  24. ESF3

    Am I the only one who doesn't think this article explains how to eat and Oyster? Tells how to choose them, prepare them, serve them, add condiments to them, but what about the eating part??? Do I just swallow them? Chew them? Bite them in half? Let them linger in my mouth...?

    August 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      There's no wrong way. Try a few different methods and see what makes you happiest. THAT is the right way to eat 'em.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • jimmy

      You kind of mash them down with your palate, enjoy the flavor in your mouth, and then swallow. No chewing necessary, unless you cooked them. Then it's like chewing rubber.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Cover them with as condiments as you can find, then swallow quickly before the taste of the oyster leaks through! Just kidding, I love the slimy little critters! Generally I do a couple of munches, then swallow, so I can move on to the next one before someone else can eat it.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • patcee

      I've never tried biting a raw oyster in half but I think it would be difficult. When you get it in your mouth, you will know instinctively what to do with it, just like having sex. Some swallow them whole but I think that is a waste – I chew and taste as much as I can before swallowing. It's a sensual experience.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  25. WEB 01

    everyone failed to mention the wonderful Chincoteague Oyster. The salinity of an oyster truly makes it and that you will find in the Chincoteague Oyster. They cant get any bettter!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • jimmy

      Amen. Or Cape May salts. But for us in Virginia, it's definitely the Chincoteauges. They're pretty easy to shuck too.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  26. WhiskeyLullaby

    Now I have a craving for fried oyster tacos.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  27. gremlinus

    Oysters. Nature's garbage disposal. I still can't believe people eat these things raw. You're eating everything they ate, unprocessed. Yum. And yeah, watch out for those "mythical months," especially in questionable places. And don't eat anything that came out of Tampa Bay. Ever.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Get real, its not unprocessed. Oysters have a digestive tract and excrete the waste, just like the rest of us animals. Of course their neighbors probably then ingest that waste and in turn excrete it... But hey, you get the point.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
      • Mandarus

        I just read what I posted, and I've decided that as of right now, I'm going Vegan!

        August 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • Mandarus

        But wait a second! Don't plants use sunlight to process their food? Which consists primarily of waste from us animals. I'm going to starve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        August 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
      • NotSoHumblePie

        "Get real, its not unprocessed. Oysters have a digestive tract and excrete the waste, just like the rest of us animals. Of course their neighbors probably then ingest that waste and in turn excrete it... But hey, you get the point."

        Thanks for that image. To be fair, here's one for you: 'The Oyster Centipede'. You're welcome.

        August 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  28. raus

    I love almost all oysters but stay away from the gulf water variety. These tend to be much higher in Vibrio vulnificus bacterium. I am from Philadelphia and choose the cooler water varieties. Though less meaty, they tend to have far more complexities in taste.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • S

      Seriously, never admit you are from Philly and then give advice on the complexities of food. We are more likely to believe you if you admit you are from Philly and then give advice on where to bury a body.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
      • jimmy

        1D10T. Have you ever been to a fine Philly restaurant? I'm guessing not.

        August 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
      • patcee

        You gotta admit it was funny.

        August 7, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Mandarus

      Mmmm, Philly, Tasty Cakes! Oh sorry, off-topic.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  29. Kelly

    Living here on Vancouver Island in Victoria, BC, Canada has many advantages but the oysters are one of the biggest! We enjoy the very best from all up and down the West Coast and can visit Fisherman's Wharf almost year-round for oysters harvested that very day! Don't just slurp it down, either. Chew the oyster to release the true flavours!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Soulerman

      But I like Lynnhaven oysters from Virginia Beach... Does it make me noobie?

      August 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
      • Mandarus

        As others have said, enjoy those closest to where you live!

        August 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  30. brad

    The best oysters are the ones physically closest to your location, so, Wellfleets for me.

    I'm surprised that few have talked about the oyster as aphrodisiac; raw, with maybe a splash of lemon. It's the oyster liquor that does the trick!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • hiccup!

      I'm ready to get drunk on oyster liquor!

      August 5, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  31. Snore

    wow. normally the comment section is just full of total a-holes but this one is all pretentious foodie a-holes. FUN!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • S

      I'm sorry...what were you saying. I was just enjoying a delicious mouthful of scrumptous caviar with my Harvard friends. We all work at Goldman-Sux and are busy plotting how to finally finish off the USA as it squirms in its financial woes that we created while enjoying oysters and getting bailed out by the common folk who do our bidding.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  32. daftshadow

    I find people that eat these raw/uncooked, disgusting. I prefer my oysters steamed, thank you.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • BubbaHump

      I'm sure you like your sushi grilled as well.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • jim

      your wife is cheating on you. trust me.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Oh come on, join the cavemen!

      August 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • patcee

      Steamed oysters??? My God, that is blasphemy.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  33. Stold

    Best way to eat them is alive, preferably after you've let them live a bit in a salt water aquarium, grown attached, given them a name, and then invented some sort of conspiratorial Clue-esque oyster murder plot to enact on a special day of your choice. Colonel Stold in the kitchen with the hot sauce. Bring friends, see if they can solve it.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Cranston

      You are a very sick person. Care to have dinner with my wife and me sometime? Too funny.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Love it!

      August 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  34. demogal

    GULF OF MEXICO OYSTERS only. No other oysters taste as good. Right out of the shell with a few drops of Tobasco. Oh how I miss Louisiana food.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  35. diana

    damnit. "how do i know they're fresh?"
    the author answered to check for dates, but didn't say how long they're considered fresh for. couple days? couple hours?

    August 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • oysterguy

      A well handled cold-water oyster will keep for many weeks – even months, but is best eaten within a week of harvest. If they are alive they will be firmly closed or will close when tapped . If they are dead they don't smell good and should be trashed. When harvested from warmer waters the shelf life is usually shorter – 1-2 weeks. There is also a difference in species. West coast oysters tend to gape and if not packed correctly they will spill their liquor and dry out. less of a problem with the Eastern oyster (grown from Canada to Mexico).

      August 5, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  36. zappafrank

    Lemon juice, on a cracker with cocktail sauce and a little horseradish works for me.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • BubbaHump

      I can easily eat 2 dozen that way.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • oysterless

      Without the oyster? Sounds good to me!

      August 5, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  37. Maty

    Has anyone read the book "Consider the Oyster", by MFK Fisher? Good missive.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Ima Hogg@Maty

      I consider "Blue Oyster Cult" a great band.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • nolainmydreams

      I currently live on the Gulf Coast and I love it here! I've lived in New York and Los Angeles and have consumed many oysters every place I've lived. They're all different and each region has ones that I prefer. I believe the best writing on the subject is in a great book by Rowan Jacobsen, entitled "A Geography of Oysters". There's also a website http://www.oysterguide.com/

      August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  38. Hollywood South

    First, Darthlawsuit, you are an idiot. Second, this article is another example of the fact that the idiotic, US rejection of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast that was made so obvious during Katrina is still in full effect. Who in the hell writes an article about eating oysters and pretends that East and West Coasts have some kind of claim in the world of oyster cuisine? Failure to consider the Gulf Coast (outside of a reference to poboys) is a huge flaw and an indicator that American food tastes (outside the Gulf Coast) are still infantile. Grow up and get over your fear of the South or Blacks or weird accents or cities that are unique or whatever stupid reason you people dislike New Orleans and the Gulf Coast! There are a couple of things people were born with before there was the internet and American consumerism; they're called human curiosity and logic. Use them.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • demogal

      I love it! You are sooooooo right.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • gingersrule1

      Wow! I have lived on the gulf coast for four years and tried all of their gulf food. I can't stand the tuna from their because it tastes like a fish that has been cooked it's whole life. The gulf is 85 degrees in the summer. That is warmer than any west coast swimming pool. Sickening. It's not about fearing living around black people or whatever the heck kind of point you were trying to make there. The reason there are more black people in the south is because they were too poor to move away after the south lost the civil war and they were freed. They weren't actually freed though. They were allowed to live and work the same lands for the same slaveowners because they became more like refugees with no place to go. I mean seriously. If whites in the south caught black people reading or writing they would kill them sometimes. The worst things about the south are the confederate flag and the fish on the gulf. America freed the slaves so we could trade with Europe because slavery had already been abolished in Europe. America had no intention of giving opportunity to a people it had beaten raped murdered enslaved and overworked for a century. So now we have ghettos and huge percentages of the black population in prison in comparison to whites. Too many people didn't do their homework and you make it obvious. Some people have more tastebuds on their tongues than others. I'm guessing you have just two or three and would eat poop on a stick if it looked like a gulf coast oyster.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:15 am |
      • Auburn@gingersrule

        Wow. You give redheads a bad name. You are quite a self-important, narrow-minded windbag.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:29 am |
      • Hollywood South

        What is wrong with you? 1) You are proving my point by going off on a self-righteous Yankee tantrum that overgeneralizes–especially with regard to New Orleans, which is really NOTHING like the rest of the South. In addition to the many cultural factors that link with us Europe and the Northeast more than rest of the South,there were well-respected free Blacks here well before and DURING the Civil War. 2) My point was that I would NEVER eat an oyster that wasn't top quality, which pretty much rules out the East and West coasts, you weak-minded, tunnel-vision moron. This would, of course, go against your poo-eating theory. 3) The mere fact that you accept Northeastern false intellectualism as the end-all, be-all of all things is your undoing and probably suggests that the you,in fact, are the poo eater, because you and yours know nothing about food. And don't get any ideas about my being a backwoods hick, little missy; I've got an academic pedigree that I promise is more interesting than yours, and I'm a liberal to boot. But enough is enough, babycakes, poo eater.

        August 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
      • patcee

        You must have some personal problems, on the attack when barely provoked. Some people like gulf seafood, others don't. Don't turn it into a racial issue. Everyone is free to eat whatever they like. I like pickled pig feet, but that doesn't mean a damn thing exceot that I like them.

        August 7, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • el chupacabra

      Hollywood, there is a plus to this. It keeps the yanks from coming down here and polluting our beaches and eating all our seafood.

      August 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Paul

    It was a very hungry person who ate the first oyster!! I've never had the nerve (or been drunk enough) to try a raw oyster. Any suggestions on how to get past this phobia?

    August 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Maty

      Just jump in- they don't taste nearly as strong as you've been to believe. They're much milder and tastier that quite a few popular fishes! The texture can be off putting for some, though...

      August 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  40. Pinebelt Bob

    I've had 'em from all regions, but Gulf Coast oysters put all others to shame.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • demogal

      Yes, yes, yes.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • jim

      is that with or without the oil? and with or without the dispersants?

      no wonder we kicked the cr@p out of all the brits in the 1700's..

      August 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Lisa

      IMHO, size yes, flavor no. A lot of meat to the Gulf oysters, but Blue Points have the best flavor of all. Again, just my personal preference.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • Heywood

        Freshness is everything. Someone elses' favorite is poor here after 24+ hours and an airplane flight. Enjoy your local food.

        August 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  41. harvey

    I won't eat oysters for the same reason I won't eat liver. Oysters are filter feeders that collect all the garbage and pollution in the water in their tissues. Liver is the same way; I am not about to eat the sewer plant out of some cow.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Hop Sing's Recipe for Disaster

      Aw, c'mon.
      It puts hair on your nards
      &
      Lead in your pencil

      A perfect food!

      August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • Das-Man

        That was really funny, I busted out laughing, I'm gonna have to borrow that one. It's good just to see funny, good-hearted banter for a change. I tell you, you read some of the hate and anger in some of these posts sometimes, you just have to shake your head. I've done oysters, enjoyed 'em on the half shell, rockefeller...but I guess the crackers are my fav type.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Bleh, they eat plankton. Not garbage. DO learn a little bit more about biology.
      The same is true of the liver. Yes, it processes some bodily wastes and toxins, it also produces many of the chemicals necessary to life.
      That said, I'll only eat liver once every couple of years.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
      • patcee

        Highest amount of cholesterol you can put in your body at one time.

        August 7, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Lou50

      good responsible call. I see they left out the reason for not eating them in months without an R. the summer months, the bacteria is out of sight in southern waters so take your chances but they kill more people in warmer weather than cold. not an issue in califiornia as you have to wear a wet suit there year round. I assume the actual eating method would be to suck them off the shell and not use a fork.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • FishFoto

      Good all the more for me then. I guess I won't have to fight you for some delicious kidneys either, mmmmmmmmm.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  42. Hop Sing's Recipe for Disaster@Phil & Pete

    Now that's what we're talking about fellas!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  43. Meeks

    To chew or not to chew? That is the question that always comes up!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Personally, I chew them. I want ALL of the flavor of those ugly little gems. :)

      August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • yummy

        MUST CHEW!!!!

        August 7, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Lisa

      If you don't chew them, what's the point? Might as well lick them and put them back in the shell if you don't chew them!

      August 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • yummy

        love it....lisa is dead on in my book!!!

        August 7, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  44. pete

    the author forgot Tabasco in the usual condiments

    August 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  45. Phil

    East coast, west coast?? How about Gulf of Mexico–salty Louisiana oysters, Matagorda Bay, TX. Shame for omitting the best ones............

    August 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Maty

      Those Gulf oysters are fine, but the cooler waters do produce a better oyster- a Wellfleet or a Kumamoto, Malpeque or Blue Point- yum!

      August 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
      • Lisa

        I live down South and have had both kinds. I must grudgingly admit I prefer the flavor of Blue Points, hands down.

        August 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      The best oyster to eat is the one that you have decided you like the best.
      Personally, I'll take the most local to me, they're guaranteed to be freshest and the least expensive.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • Maty

        Too true. Thanks, Wizard!

        August 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Maty

      I do like, however, that in New Orleans, quite a few bars have someone shucking oysters behind the bar at certain times, for FREE. Yum.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Jack

      Stay away from Lousiana oysters until the flood waters go down. Alot of bacteria contamination from septic tanks and other foul things resulting from the flooding along the entire mississippi.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • H22

      where did the oil go?

      August 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • midogs2

      East coast, west coast, gulf coast, doesn't matter! As long as they are fresh 'Manna in a shell' . I prefer lemon only.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Tom

      Wife says, "I'd prefer my oysters fried, that way I know my oysters died!" Gulf coast vibrio bacteria require this. Cold water? Raw, nothing's slicker, nothing's quicker.. Eat the condiments separately but do make up some dozen Rockefeller style.

      Celtic Oyster Fest St. Benedicts grove next Sat 8/13/11, Berks Co., PA. Oyster Pub crawl, central Reading, PA Sat 8/6/11. Often choice of species, music the best. Check "The Ugly Oyster" online.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • gingersrule1

      I can't stand the flavor of any kind of sea creatures other than from the Pacific Ocean. I also think it's directly related to the temperature of the water. Warm water anything tastes like crap. Especially from the Gulf. I've lived on every coast except the northeast. I hear Maine lobster is phenomenal and look forward to trying it. I can't stand catfish either. They are bottom feeders in lakes mostly and they taste like mud to me. Halibut is a bottom feeder but in much cooler waters that are less likely to be polluted than a lake. If you have ever had salmon from the pacific northwest and atlantic salmon I can't see how you would even consider the latter to be edible afterwards.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:58 am |
      • Mark Flag

        There is nothing to compare with a fresh Maine lobster. Amazing.

        August 5, 2011 at 1:36 am |
      • ATL Native

        Catfish does have a slight muddy taste, and that's one of the reasons I love them so much! Nothin' fancy, just dredged in salted cornmeal and fried. Yum!

        August 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
      • Lisa

        Catfish caught fresh from a lake is far superior to the flavor of a farm-raised variety. As different as night and day.

        August 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
      • el chupacabra

        Uh, Lobsters are bottom feeders too. Catfish sometimes taste "muddy" due the presence of cyanobacteria in the water. This is why all commercial catfish farms have their fish and water tested before harvest. Catfish is firm and mild flesh, and should have no musty or muddy flavors or odors. As for warm water anything tastes like crap, you've apparently not sampled a whole lot of warm water seafood. Spiny lobsters, conch, shrimp, kingfish, dorado, cobia, yellowfin tuna, grouper, I could go on. All from the Gulf, and all incredibly good.

        August 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • FishFoto

        I agree that most farmed Atlantic Salmon is barely worth eating but if you've ever had a fresh wild Atlantic Salmon you'd realise what garbage some of your Pacific Salmon really are, Sockeye are only fit for bait. As to Oysters and Lobster, the Eastern Atlantic produces the best there are, Maine Lobsters cant hold a candle to an Irish Lobster and Galway bay has the finest Oysters, and mussels and razor clams, in the world.

        August 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • Heywood

        Bit of a food snob, are you, Ginger?

        August 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • yummy

      yea, i don't choose food based on where i live....gulf coast are not as good, in my taste, as are east or west coast cold water oysters....also, ia squeeze of lemon is for the acidity is all i need, to me everything else is a cover-up on the oyster's natural flavor and brinyness.....also, ii must chew them for texture and flavor....i don't understand the swallow them whole idea....why? to get it over with as fast as possible? not me....savor the flavor baby YUM!

      August 7, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  46. Jim K

    My recommendation for first-timers or those not quite in to eating them raw: put them on the grill in the half shell, top with a small cube of cheddar cheese and a splash of white wine or champagne. Once the cheese cube melts they are usually ready to eat. Yum!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • demogal

      Ugh! Shellfish and dairy?

      August 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
      • Chris

        "Ugh, shellfish and dairy?"

        Someone's never heard of clam chowder.

        August 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
      • el chupacabra

        That old convention about seafood and cheese is bullsh_t. Although I don't think I'd use cheddar for oysters, I regularly use freshly grated parm on grilled oysters (along with a compound butter and bread crumbs).

        August 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • I Heart Evil Grin

        Or Lobster Stew, or crab or lobster Bisque- wow feel bad for you dude

        August 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Smitty

      Try a little grated pepper jack & a dash of Tobasco to compliment.

      August 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Mandarus

      I prefer a more pungent cheese that has a better melt. Cheddar is too stringy,

      August 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  47. brako

    id preffer "how to ram a clam"

    August 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • T

      uncouth. and you misspelled 'prefer'.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
      • crazycatman

        And "oyster".

        August 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
      • Papa Pat

        And "I'd".

        August 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  48. Darthlawsuit

    How to eat an oyaster- Throw it off your plate and feed to your dog.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Don't like your dog much, eh?

      August 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • yum

      wuss!

      August 7, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  49. SuperFoodie

    Shuck em and eat em right on the beach. Doesn't get any better.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Jray

      Spot on, SF. The rest of you are Philistines.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
      • midogs2

        Agree!

        August 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mandarus

      Please keep your clothes on when on the beach. Oh, wait, you meant the oysters. Sorry. Please disregard.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Corvus1

      Dining down at the Y are we?

      August 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • jaer

      I like oyster stew but not a fan of on the half shell.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  50. Realist

    Love em but risky business.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • bill

      as risky as 2 legged oysters. I love those too.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Mandarus

      No big deal, you could die tomorrow while you're out for your daily run. Enjoy the things you like in the life you have left! Really, what's the point otherwise?

      August 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • bettertobethoughtafool

      I think the Rocky Mountain variety are risk free.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Andy54

      As a realist, so I like to explain things simply and completely. What does it taste like? Do you tilt the oyster 45 deg near your mouth? Do you swallow it whole? Do you chew it? Since none of these questions were answered, is oyster day only for experts? Why mention "beginners" at all? OK, have a good laugh but those of us who "shy away" instead of "shuck away" will never savor the moment.

      August 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
      • Heidi

        Usually, yes you tilt them at 45 degree angle, and let them slip into your mouth. Usually they're swallowed whole. Just let 'em slip down your throat.

        Personally, I prefer my oysters with a little lemon and a dash of hot sauce. Yummmmm. The perfect summer treat.

        August 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
      • patcee

        Some of us like to wallow the oyster around in our mouth for a few seconds, even chewing a little – you don't have to swallow them immediately. Ahhh, if you haven't tried them, do. They are delicious.

        August 7, 2011 at 1:12 am |
      • Norm from Florida Gulf Coast

        You're time line on oysters mating in the Gulf is correct. No mention of hot sauce mixed with ketchup is not an option? Think some of your comments are based upon hearsay. Yes, in the South they are normally plucked from the shell with a toothpick or fork, dipped into the mixture I mentioned and chewed up. The colder the better and should have a salty taste. Enjoy!

        August 7, 2011 at 3:20 am |
      • Yeah...

        However you eat them, Just don't bite them in half and look at the inside... I never ate oysters again, partly because of the view, but mostly because a friend telling me that the uncooked insides are actually green.

        August 8, 2011 at 11:11 am |
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