Mike and I have been enjoying these grilled oysters with bacon cayenne butter for several years. I finally decided to share the recipe with you along with some food photography and recipe tips. Let’s dive in!
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Food Photography Tips for Grilled Oysters with Bacon Cayenne Butter
Overhead Shots & Aperture
A pro tip I love to share is whenever I’m shooting overhead shots (which is a lot with food photography), I set my aperture between f8 and f22. This allows me to keep everything in sharp focus from above. If my aperture is set wider (lower) to 2.8, my image runs the risk of parts of the image not being in sharp focus. Depending on where I’m focusing, the shallow depth of field may be more of a distraction than an enhancement.
Speaking of overhead shots, how do you shoot overhead images of food? Do you hold the camera? Do you use a tripod? Or, maybe a C-stand? I have used them all and was never really satisfied with the effort involved. For my overhead food images, I have a great set up that doesn’t result in a sore back or having to adjust any tripod legs. It allows me to use my tripod for other angles, which makes for a very efficient photo shoot. Not to mention, the overhead setup results in beautiful, level overhead images every time. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out my post for A Simple Overhead Setup for Food Photography.
Read More About: Photography Home Studio Equipment Recos
Recipe Tips for Grilled Oysters with Bacon Cayenne Butter
Grilled Oysters Tip 1: You Don’t Have to Love Oysters
A lot of my friends don’t like oysters. And, neither does my Mom. But, I forgive them, because each and every one of them LOVES this recipe. My mom frequently asks when Mike is making his grilled oysters again. And, after a recent shrimp boil at our friend’s house, our grilled oysters disappeared before Mike and I even got to have one. <insert single tear here>
Grilled Oysters Tip 2: The Secret Ingredient
Drum roll please… So, what’s the secret to getting non-oyster people to love this oyster recipe?
Spicy bacon and cayenne butter to be exact. The butter recipe makes A LOT and a little goes a long way on grilled oysters. The good news is that you can freeze it to use later. And, you can use it on other foods like chicken, fish or steak. It’s pretty much good on everything!
Grilled Oysters Tip 3: Use larger oysters
Large oysters aren’t everyone’s favorite, but the oysters will shrink significantly as they cook on the grill. The larger they are, the better. We usually use Blue Point or Delaware Bay oysters for grilling.
Grilled Oysters Tip 4: Get help with the grilling process
This recipe requires both Mike and me to be stationed at the grill, because the shucking of oysters and adding the butter is tricky if you’re on your own. Two hands isn’t enough. One person manages the shucking and the other person adds the butter while making sure the oysters don’t get over cooked.
Oyster lover or not, the second you put these in front of people, they will disappear.
Read More About: Oysters with Serrano & Lime Mignonette
Grilled Oysters with Bacon Cayenne Butter
- 3 slices hickory-smoked or applewood-smoked bacon
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2-1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 24 fresh oysters (such as Malpeque or Bluepoint)
- Cook bacon on baking sheet with wire rack in oven at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
- Let cool and crumble the bacon into a Vitamix or food processor.
- Add butter, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.
- Blend until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides, if needed.
- With machine running, gradually add white wine, then fresh lemon juice and continue to process until blended.
- Drop butter onto saran wrap and shape into 2-inch-diameter log.
- Wrap to enclose; chill butter until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Heat the grill to high and place oysters, flat side up on grill.
- Cover and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
- The oysters should now be slightly open. Quickly remove the oysters, careful not to spill any of their liquor.
- Hold an oyster with an oven mitt and use a shucking knife to pry open the oyster. It should easily open.
- Spoon 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick rounds of cayenne-butter onto each oyster and return to the grill.
- Cover and grill 5-6 minutes.
- Remove from grill and serve with lemon wedges.
1. Larger sized oysters are better for grilling because they will shrink as they cook on the grill.
2. You can freeze the leftover butter to use later. It's also great on chicken and fish.
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All images ©Regan Baroni 2017.