During the winter months for those who have never had the chance to visit from Oct. 15th through March 15th there is something you need to do. My family tries to get together about once every week or two and roast oysters over an open fire outside over a drum or in an outdoor fireplace. We have some local connections to get them fresh by the bushel. I believe the cost last winter was about $33 a bushel. When I was a teenager, the cost was about $11 a bushel.
Some of you may say, “I have had them in the restaurants steamed.” When cooking and eating them over an open, it is a unique experience BIG difference in taste experience. Here are some tips if you ever want to try it:
Get a bushel of oysters and an old oil drum the with bottom cut out. Stick a few bricks under the bottom edges to raise the drum a few inches. Put small blocks of wood, a few broken sticks and some rolled up newspapers in the bottom of the drum. Next, you need to light the wood and newspapers and get the fire really hot and wait for it to settle down some. Take the fresh, shelled oysters out of the burlap bag and take a pressure washer or water hose and get all of the mud off to the best of your ability. After the fire backs down some and has burned for about 15 minutes or so, put about 35 clean oysters in a wire mesh rack to place on top of the drum with the oysters in it. As the oysters start cooking you will hear lots of popping, cracking and sizzling. This is the sounds of the oysters opening from the heat and the juices flowing out of them and falling onto the fire. About every three or four minutes you need to shake the rack to move the oysters around. Cook the oysters from about 10 minutes or so. Once the oyster shells turn an “ash” color they are likely done.
On the tables you have set up, you should have covered them with several layers of newspapers to absorb the juices. You then will have to pick though the oysters that have the shells open enough to stick an oyster knife in it to pry it open. Have a few different kinds of sauces ready to dip the oysters in. Things we like are vinegar, ketchup, horseradish sauce etc. Dip it in, and open wide!
Depending on how many people you have, depends on how many oysters you will need. Usually, we get a bushel and a half or so for about 6 or 8 people.
Due to the pollution in our rivers and waterways that have increased over the past few years, this practice of roasting oysters is slowly dying. Also, the over harvesting of oysters have really impacted the oyster population as well. Here is an interesting article that was in our local newspaper a few years ago. We all need to be aware that we do our best to help protect our water sources. The locals are all saying that in 10 years we will no longer be able to get fresh oysters out of our rivers. Let’s be able to pass the tradition on for our children to enjoy.
Some of you have e-mailed me and asked where my family and I go for vacation since we live in paradise. Usually we do not go far from Holden Beach, but this year was a little different than usual. My wife’s brother, his wife and 2 kids came to stay 10 days with us at our house. Also, my wife’s nephew, niece and their mom came as well. That came to a total of of 12 people (5 adults and 7 kids under the age of 7).
They came out from Salt Lake City on the “big bird” and landed in Raleigh all full of great cheer and to have fun at the beach. We were really all anxious to see everyone since we have not seen them in about 2 1/2 years. My wife and I took our vacation time this year to hang out and entertain everyone. We really did a lot of things. One of the things we did for the kids was to take everyone to the Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach, SC. If you have never been there it is really a lot fo fun for everyone. They feed you great food and they have lots of horse riding, tricks, jokes and much more and they do it while you eat. It is inside and they have a large arena type seating. Go if you get the chance, but please call ahead to make sure your get a reservation first.
Anyway, back to the family fun! We spent most of the time at the beach since we could easily just walk down the street. The kids did not go everyday, but they did go a lot. Some days it was just so hot, you wanted to stay indoors. Other times we did some eating….and more eating….and a little more eating. I think I need to go on a diet now. While the kids were either playing with toys or at the beach, Hagoth (my wife’s brother) and I went and did our own things. One day we played 18-holes of golf at one of the local courses. We decided to play Lockwood Folly Golf Links. Now I will be the first to admit that he nor I are Tiger Woods….lol. I think we belong more on one of the local Putt-Putt courses. We did have a lot of fun making a few good drives and putts in between chasing and losing balls. I think I lost 5 balls on the first 7 holes or so. It is all about the fun (Insert sarcasm here)!
While we were out TRYING to play golf, the ladies took the kids to ride the Southport Ferry to Ft. Fisher to go visit the NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher. My kids always love going! They got to see the sharks, turtles and pet the sting rays in the petting tank. If you have never been, please take some time to drop by one afternoon and see what wonderful things they have. When everyone got back from the aquarium and we got back from golf, we all were exhausted. Time to eat again!
The next day Hagoth and I had to pay the piper for our excellent golf game. We let all the mother’s go and get pedicure’s to help them relax for the long stressful day they had before. I think when they got back home with their lovely feet, we needed pedicure…..or something to help US relax…lol.
Well, the 10 days came and went fast and we did so much in so little time and we still never got close to doing it all. Hopefully they can come back to visit us very soon and stay with us again. We really enjoyed having everyone in our house and it is so quite now. If we could just get everyone in their family to move out here then that would be great!! By the way, after that long but fun 10 day break from work…….I think I need a vacation now to recoup 🙂 So there you have it folks. We love Holden Beach so much that we stay home for vacation.