BBQ’d Oysters for Breakfast

So this past summer, when we were driving around the Northwest avoiding gas station bathrooms and eating everything we could find that came out of the ocean, I should’ve been doing some blog posts.

Early in my blogging career, I wondered if I would get blogging burnout. It took about a decade, but I sort of did. Actually, it was partial blogging burnout, partial “busy with other stuff,” cute kids who used to appear on the blog becoming teenagers and so forth. Also I’d taken to posting photos on my @skinnygirlsandmayo Instagram account, which required no writing beyond a clever caption, and for which I was rewarded many satisfying and instantaneous “likes”.

Sitting at home during the first months of the pandemic inspired a burst of blogtivity, but then it receded like a tide. Like the tides in Coupeville on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, in fact, where I should’ve been doing some blogging about the clams I was digging from the sand and the Dungeness crab I was dipping in butter.

Once we left Washington and headed south again, it because all about oysters. We drove along Hood Canal, heading toward Oregon, but not before a sign for “Hama Hama” captured my heart and imagination. Sure enough, in Hama Hama we found the Hama Hama Oyster Company, where I purchased two dozen oysters to go. Another four or five hours and we were in Garibaldi, home port of the Oregon crabbing fleet. Popping into the local grocery store to get provisions for our Airbnb, I had hoped to snag a crab or two. They had none, but they did have local oysters — $10 a dozen, so I bought two dozen. The next day I walked over to the harbor and found a fishmonger, who did have fresh Dungeness. I bought two — and another couple dozen oysters, different variety, also $10 a dozen. You can do the math.

Grocery store in Garibaldi, Oregon

With six dozen oysters in the fridge and no one in my family eating oysters but me, I knew I had to focus. Fortunately, apparently perceptive to the main attraction of the area, the Airbnb had crab pots and four different oyster shuckers.

If I’m eating oysters, like most folks, my preferred method is raw on the half shell. They are also pretty darned tasty crisped up in a batter in hot oil. But the one way not as many people know about — at least those who haven’t spent a bit of time on the Sonoma coast eating them this way as my family and I have — is barbecued. Especially if you have larger oysters like the ones I got at the Garibaldi grocery store.

Beside being ridiculously convenient — you don’t even have to shuck them, you just put them on a hot grill and cook until they pop open, when they are done — barbecued oysters are plump and subtle, resting in a little hot bath of their water. Add a dab of butter and some cocktail or barbecue sauce, and you may be converted from your “raw way or the highway” mentality.

The historic Coast Guard pier at Garibaldi

I was at my own local grocery store this morning when I spied several jars of Pacific oysters — the already shucked kind — for $.50 a jar. (Usually $7 or $8 a jar). What gave?? They had likely reached their expiration date. Which, in the case of freshly shucked oysters in a jar, is only a couple days after they’ve reached the store. Still perfectly fresh and fine to eat, although I would not venture them raw. The first jar made a tasty lunch of those fried oysters I was talking about. The next couple will hit the barbecue.

What’s the best time to eat barbecued oysters? They’re pretty darn good anytime, and a strong argument could be made for the afternoon with a nice cold beer. But I like them in the morning — a true weekend breakfast of champions, especially if you’ve got some champagne to enjoy them with.

I hope this bit of precious wisdom has gone aways toward redeeming me for not blogging all summer. Maybe?

More oysters in Garibaldi

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kb
    Apr 27, 2021 @ 02:18:51

    Just til they pop! Perfection!


  2. Clay
    Apr 27, 2021 @ 13:44:15

    Hey Sean! Did you get some Penn Cove mussels when you were on Whidbey Island? Many years ago, in a previous career, I spent a couple of weeks there and remember liking them.


  3. Amanda
    Apr 28, 2021 @ 17:38:45

    Fried are the best! Barbecued sounds intriguing


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