Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Drunken Sailors (Barbecued Oysters)

Recipe by Steven Raichlen

Sure, you could eat them raw, but we like ours romanced with tequila, barbecue sauce, and pepper Jack cheese and sizzled over a hot fire.

  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Method: Direct grilling
  • Equipment: Oyster knife; shellfish rack (optional)

  • 12 large oysters in the shell
  • 1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Your favorite hot sauce
  • Your favorite mezcal or tequila
  • 3/4 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 12 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Step 1: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to hot.

Step 2: Shuck the oysters, discarding the top shell. Take pains not to spill the juices. Arrange the oysters on a shellfish rack (or rimmed baking sheet if you don’t have one). Spoon 2 teaspoons barbecue sauce over each oyster and add a splash of hot sauce and mezcal. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Step 3: Place the shellfish rack on the grill grate. (Alternatively, carefully balance the oyster shells between the bars of the grill grate.) Grill the oysters until the juices bubble and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the oysters to a platter or plates. Top with sprigs of cilantro and serve lime wedges for squeezing.


Serve with the rest of Steven’s Valentine’s Day menu.