Archive | July 2012

Barbecued Oysters

Point Reyes National Seashore is one of our favorite destinations for a quick Saturday getaway.  You can hike in the redwoods, on the beach, and through rolling meadows.  You can also find delicious fresh and local food.  On a visit to Tomales Bay a stop for barbecued oysters is a must.

If you plan ahead, you can reserve a picnic table right on the bay and spend the day grilling oysters (and anything else you bring with you).  The oysters come right from the bay.  Talk about farm to table!  Mrs. Esquire and I ate barbequed oysters one time in Tomales Bay but didn’t plan ahead.  This meant we paid $3-$4 per oyster to have them grilled and brought to our table, instead of the $1-$2 for fresh oysters to shuck and grill yourself.  It left me wanting to grill my own oysters.

Fast forward to yesterday. I visited a new (to me) fishmonger in the neighborhood.  What a great shop.  We will definitely be back!  The bins of oysters in the corner of the store caught our eye right away.  After some consultation, we settled on a dozen Drake’s Bay oysters.  Drake’s Bay is directly opposite Tomales Bay, on the ocean side of Point Reyes. Along with our oysters we bought an oyster shucker.

Neither Mrs. Esquire nor I had every shucked oysters.  Mrs. Esquire did the dirty work as I prepped the grill.  She did a great job!  After Mrs. Esquire finished shucking the oysters, I dropped a dollop of garlic parsley butter (recipe below) on each.

By this point, the Big Green Egg was warmed up to about 400 degrees, set for direct grilling.  I put the oysters directly on the grill.  Ideally, the oyster shells will be deep and will sit evenly on the grill.  Otherwise the sauce leaks out the side.  A few drips aren’t the end of the world, though.  A butter flare-up adds some nice smoke.

You can see that the butter melts nicely after a minute or two on the grill.  I grilled these guys for about five minutes total, until the butter started bubbling.  The oysters simmer in the melted butter.

The oysters were absolutely delicious!  What a special treat in the backyard.  We’ll probably mix this in as an appetizer during a future dinner party.  There a many recipes online for different sauces.  I may experiment in the future, but the butter sauce was really easy and really quick.  Thanks for reading!

Recipe Recap

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne to taste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.  Place a small spoonful of butter in each oyster prior to grilling.

Vacation grilling

I’m back from vacation!  Thanks for coming back to me after my time away.

It turns out you can take the man away from his grill, but you can’t take the grill out of the man.  I had quite a few interesting grilling experiences while I was away.  While each one probably deserves its own post, I’m going to give you a few quick hits so I can clear my blogging brain and move on to bigger and better things!

We hung out for a week in rural England.  I’ve always enjoyed checking out grocery stores and food markets while I’m traveling.  Food is a window into culture!  Mrs. Esquire got a kick out of me checking out the butcher.

There’s a funny story behind this picture, though.  For the first few days, I couldn’t get over how expensive the meat was in England!  Eventually I realized an error in my pound/kg to dollars/pound conversion.  I multiplying by 2 instead of dividing by 2 when going from kilos to pounds, meaning all my numbers were 4 times too high.  I was not about to spend $40 a pound for fresh sausage!

I bought these pork chops at a little village market in England.  It was a very interesting cut – they left the skin on!  I trimmed the rind off the chop before eating, then threw the rinds back on the grill. My goal was to make chiccarones.  Unfortunately I was using a Weber.  I closed the vents in hopes that the rind would cook slowly for a good, long time.  It was a good idea but they didn’t really turn out.  Maybe I’ll keep an eye out for this type of cut and try the chiccarones at home, on my Big Green Egg.

This was Mrs. Esquire’s least favorite night of our trip – and it might have been my favorite.  Summer storms in Northern Minnesota can whip up in a flash and knock you on your backside.  For a California transplant, a good summer storm is an essential part of a trip back home!  We were watching the radar on this night, knowing that the storm was on the way.  We needed to make a judgment call: put the salmon on the grill and try to beat the storm?  Or wait it out and eat late?

As you can probably guess, we decided to go for it.  And, of course, the storm beat us.  What a fun time – grilling in the pouring rain, driving wind, and pounding hail!  There’s something so primal about cooking food over an open flame in the middle of a storm.  Of course, there’s also something primal about a new mother telling a new father not to run around in a lightening storm holding metal things.  So there were definitely two perspectives in our cabin regarding the awesomeness of this grilling adventure.

Looking at this picture makes me want to go back to Maine!  What a wonderful part of the country.  My takeaway from this grilling event?  Sure, you can create a gourmet meal with a fancy grill, special fuel, and lots of unique spices.  But if you have fresh scallops, olive oil, lemon juice and a mini-Weber, you can still cook up something special.

As the old saying goes, however, “there’s no place like home.”  After a long time away from my BGE I was suffering from separation anxiety.  So of course I took advantage of a laid-back weekend to smoke up a pork shoulder.  Here’s a little treat for you if you’ve never pulled pork.