Eye-Popping Oysters

We’ve seen these peppery oysters bring jubilation to the most jaded of palates. Crack the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or use coarsely ground black pepper.


Cooking Methodsmoking


Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, smoky, sweet, tangy, tart, umami


  • ½ cup bottled clam juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dozen oysters, shucked, with bottom shells and brine reserved
  • About a dozen ice cubes
  • Lemon wedges and freshly cracked black pepper, for garnish


  1. In a lidded jar, combine the clam juice, lemon juice, oil, pepper, garlic, and any oyster brine. Place the oysters in a small bowl or plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the oysters and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

  2. Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 180°F to 200°F.

  3. Drain the oysters, reserving the marinade for the mop. Arrange each oyster on a half-shell. Bring the marinade to a vigorous boil and boil for several minutes. Reduce the heat and keep the mop warm.

  4. Put the ice cubes in a smokeproof 8-inch-square or 9 by 12-inch baking pan, or in a deep pie pan. Place the oysters on the half-shell on a small grill rack and place the rack over the ice-filled baking pan.

  5. Place the oysters over ice in the smoker as far from the fire as possible. Cook for about 40 minutes, drizzling with the mop once or twice in a wood-burning pit, or as appropriate for your style of smoker. The oysters are done when slightly firm but still plump and juicy. Swab them with the mop when they come off the smoker. Serve the oysters warm with lemon wedges and more pepper.

  6. Serving Suggestion Serve as many oysters as you can afford—don’t worry, you’ll never have any left—with Hand Salad and a lot of Cracklin’ Cornbread.


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