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How to Smoke an Oyster

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Smoked oysters are a joyful revelation, and I first learned how they’re made at The Tomales Bay Oyster Company in Marshall, California. Once the oysters are smoked, they can be eaten in a multitude of ways, but my favorite remains eating them on crostini with creamy goat cheese, fresh herbs, pickled onions, and a splash of hot sauce.


This recipe is part of an essay I wrote for Taste (2018)

  • Yield: One Dozen Oysters


2 cups wood chips, sawdust, or wood pellets (such as oak or a fruitwood like cherry)

One dozen freshly shucked oysters in their half-shell

1/4 cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Line a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid or Dutch oven with a double sheet of aluminum foil. Pour the sawdust over the foil.
  2. Carefully drain the liquid out of the oysters and drizzle about ½ tsp of olive oil over each oyster in the shell. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper as needed. Place the oysters in their shell so that they sit snugly between the wood pieces.
  3. Cover with a lid and heat on medium-high for about 8 to 10 minutes until you smell the smoke. Remove from heat and carefully open the lid. The oyster will have taken on a brownish-pink color and will be smoked. Discard any excess liquid that might have accumulated in the shell.

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