Hog Island Oysters with Chipotle Horseradish Barbecue Sauce

Method: direct grilling
Yield: Makes 24 oysters

  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers, minced
  • 1 piece (about 2 inches) fresh horseradish, peeled and grated
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 large oysters
  • Crusty bread for serving

1. Place the tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion, garlic, and chipotle(s) in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer gently until thickened and richly flavored, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, let cool slightly, and stir in the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper to taste; the sauce should be highly seasoned. The sauce can be made several hours or days ahead. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

3. Scrub the oyster shells with a stiff brush to remove any grit or mud. Discard any oysters that fail to close when tapped. Shuck the oysters as described above. Place the oysters flat on baking sheets, taking care not to spill the juices.

4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

5. When ready to cook, spoon 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each oyster. Place the oysters on the hot grate and grill until the sauce and oyster juices are bubbling and the oysters are cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Work in as many batches as necessary to avoid overcrowding the grill. Serve the oysters hot off the grill with crusty bread to soak up the juices.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort