Sweet-tangy barbecue sauce is the perfect contrast to briny oysters. These deceptively simple appetizers are perfect for a weekend get-together — they make any gathering around the grill feel like a special occasion.
48 medium-sized oysters
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) Classic BBQ Sauce (see below) or your favorite barbecue sauce
Scrub the oysters with a stiff brush under cold running water. To shuck each oyster, hold it, flat side up, in your nondominant hand. (You might want to protect your hand from the sharp shell with a folded kitchen towel or a sturdy glove.) Find the hinge near the pointed end of the oyster, and insert the tip of an oyster knife about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) deep into the hinge. Twist the knife to break the hinge and loosen the top shell. Run the knife along the inside surface of the bottom shell to loosen the oyster, and leave the oyster in the shell. Place the oyster on a rimmed baking sheet or tray and repeat with the remaining oysters. Once all the oysters are shucked, return them to the refrigerator until the grill is ready.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and BBQ sauce. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors, then remove from the heat.
Carefully place the oysters on the grill and quickly spoon a little of the sauce into each shell. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the oysters are to your liking.
Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a platter and serve at once. Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as an appetizer.
Classic BBQ Sauce
1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) ketchup
2 Tbs. yellow mustard
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, sugar, broth, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. For a Southwest-style sauce, stir in the chiles and cumin. Simmer for 5 minutes for a relatively thin sauce or for 10-15 minutes for a thick sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Use right away, or let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.).
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson.