Spicy Thai Barbecued Oysters

May/June 2011

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The great thing about barbecuing oysters is you don’t need to shuck them. Put the oysters right on the grill and cook until the steam inside the oysters pops the shells open. Drizzle with a little spicy Thai sauce and you’re done.

Spicy Thai Barbecued Oysters

Makes: 6 servings, 4 oysters each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh red chile, or to taste
  • 24 large oysters


  1. Combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, cilantro, garlic and chile in a small bowl; stir until the sugar dissolves. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving for flavors to develop. Adjust flavors to your taste.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  3. Bring oysters along with the sauce, a cutting board, an oven mitt, tongs and an oyster knife (or other small knife) to the grill.
  4. Place oysters flat-side up on the grill rack. Close the lid and grill until the top shell pops open, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the oysters to the cutting board with tongs, keeping them as level as possible so the oyster “liquor” (salty seawater) doesn’t spill out.
  5. Wear the oven mitt to hold the oyster and use the knife to remove the top shell, cutting the oyster away from the top shell and leaving it in the bottom shell. Periodically wipe your knife clean. Discard the top shells. Spoon about 1 teaspoon sauce onto each oyster. Return the oysters to the grill, close the lid and grill until the sauce is bubbling, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve with small forks.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the sauce (Step 1) for up to 3 days; stir in the cilantro just before serving.
  • Note: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce (1,190 mg sodium per tablespoon) in our analyses.


Per serving: 61 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 0 g fiber; 514 mg sodium; 89 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (15% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 lean meat

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Recipe Categories

Type of Dish
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique
May/June 2011
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