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How Many Oysters?

OK, so I'm thinking when I go out later this month for my birthday dinner, I may try to consume my age in raw oysters. I'm over 12. Naturally, I won't eat until I'm ill, but ,out of curiousity, what's the most oysters eaten at one sitting by Chowhounders? 'Fess up, folks and be honest.
I like mine with fresh ground black pepper and Guinness to wash them down. What's your pleasure?

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  1. For me about a dozen with a touch of cocktail sauce.
    Friend of mine in his mid 70's... I saw him down about 3 dozen along with the rest of his dinner at an AYCE buffet.

    1. When my brother and I get together, it is tradition to start w/ 4 dozen oysters, have a full dinner and possibly have more oysters for dessert. This does not include the oyster shooters.

      1. 3 dozen tops me out as a meal, but I've seen my father and brother-in-law each eat 5 dozen, along with a meal. These were gulf oysters though, much smaller than the northern ones. :)

        1. Are you having only oysters? Back when I was in grad school at LSU in the 70s there was a place that during happy hour sold oysters on the half shell for $1/dozen. A pitcher of beer was $2.00. Given that my best friend and I were poor students, the oysters, beer and crackers were often our dinner. Fixings for cocktail sauce were provided (ketchup, horseradish, lemon wedges). I'm sure we ate at least 2 or 3 dozen each.

          1. three dozen as an app, four dozen as a meal.

            1. for me, it stops being fun after 12-16 in a row. i could see doing two rounds of a dozen each with some space in the middle. beyond that, i suppose it's possible and it seems like plenty here have done it but to me it seems more like a contest than a meal.

              1. I like oysters, but for me they are one of those food items that has a steep steep marginal utility curve.

                The first one is magical, the second one is good, the third just OK, by the time I hit the half dozen mark the thought of a seventh oyster is about as appealing as swallowing hot coals with s sore throat and a mouthful of open sores.

                1. I can do a dozen or two if they are small and delicious. As soon as I hit shell, or creamy looking funkiness I begin to lose my appetite for them.
                  We had tons on Halloween at my place and my good friend expertly opened them. I could have eaten those all night. Not a shell to be found and they slipped right down my throat with a simple mignonette.

                  1. I've done 2 dozen at a sitting, but I'm sure I could do more. All i ever need on an oyster, if anything, is maybe a little grated fresh horseradish.. A crisp Vouvray, a bone dry rose, or something bubbly is a must. good sourdough bread on the side, with unsalted butter, can round out the meal.

                    1. four dozen, out one night with a pal on nickel-oyster and dollar-beer night...a LOOOONG time ago.

                      Got ahold of a bad oyster last Christmas and spent the next 3 days thinking I'd have to get better to die...which seems to have ended my affinity for raw oysters.

                      1. I always start with a dozen...After that it depends on the oysters. Occasionally, but rarely I stop there ~~ Most of the time it's in the 3+ dozen range...Then at times when I strike it rich with oysters that are plump, fat, cold, and bursting with briny flavor on the first bite...I don't count....I just eat my fill....The vast majority of them straight up...No sauces, crackers, or other bull ever...just the oyster.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                          I'm completely with Uncle Bob! Except that sometimes I do like a little bit of cocktail sauce with freshly grated horseradish.

                          Happy Birthday Molly!

                        2. 3-4 dozen seems like a good number. I like to mix them up with clams (little necks and/or cherrystones) and to mix up the toppings as well - mignonette, sriracha, cocktail, just a squeeze of lemon. And chew baby, chew - none of this sliding down the gullet stuff - how can you taste the critter? And none of these teeny-tiny little Kumamoto things from the left coast, if you please. The closer to home, the better - Pemaquids, Wellfleets - nice, fat, juicy, cold... mmm

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: applehome

                            If I follow you maxim "closer to home the better", I'm stuck w/ Rocky Mountain oysters!

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              well... you'll be back in Pemaquid country soon enough. With today's technology I'm not so concerned with freshness as I am the flavor and texture. Nothing like Northeast oysters, as far as I'm concerned - not gulf, not pacific - not even Japanese. There's something about the brine from the cold Atlantic - who knows, maybe it's the pollution, yummy mercury - don't care!

                              1. re: applehome

                                Yes. we have 2 new oyster companies right in Hancock Co.; Taunton Bay and 1 other whose name escapes me.
                                Gay Island as well.

                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                How many pairs of Rocky Mountain Oysters can you eat?

                                1. re: monku

                                  Depends. Cut from young calves; a lot. Cut from a grown bull; 2 is my limit.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    I don't understand why bull testicles at my latin market come in packages of 3. And they are not cheap - $10/ lb or just under.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Veg, that'sbecause they are Latin lovers.
                                      Pero ciento dos huevos!

                                    2. re: Passadumkeg


                                      If you can throw down a dozen bull balls, you'll forever be my hero. That not only takes appetite but gumption.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        maybe with AC/DC playing on the jukebox?

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          And you'd probably select Ballbreaker?

                                          ♫♫ You are a - ballbreaker!
                                          ♫♫ Buildin' steam,
                                          ♫♫ We're whippin' cream!
                                          ♫♫ You are a - ballbreaker!

                                          (Yes, yes, I know the song isn't about eating or breaking balls per se, but lets just leave the story about what Ballbreaker is about off these boards ... we're PG-13, right?)

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I don't know that one. I was thinking of the catchy "I got big balls".

                                2. i eat mine over the kitchen sink, with curly parsley, tabasco, and stone dry sherry to wash them down. 'normal' oysters: a dozen, these are big and fleshy. Fines de Claire: 2 dozen, these are smaller, sweet, and exquisite!

                                  1. The oysters in the Sea of Cortez are small and irregularly shaped, but one day in La Paz a buddy and I set out to eat 100 each and we got it done. We had to go to a few places because we cleaned them out. That was also my introduction to pulque. 1974.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      "That was also my introduction to pulque"

                                      You're lucky that wasn't also your introduction to plague. I've got to think chuffing 100 oysters is akin to playing culinary Russian roulette.

                                      I betcha I could eat 100 hot wangs though, if given the proper motivation.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Oysters have never taken me down, and I have had plenty. Clams got me twice. The worst of all was a chunk of smoked marlin in Zihuatanejo and I thought I would have to get better just to die.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Heh....wonky seafood is the worst, and the part is you know just as you swallow (thus too late) that it's bad!

                                          You used *exactly* the same phrase I did to describe my bad oyster.

                                    2. I've done 2 or 3 dozen a few times. I once had 75, give or take (it was a friend's wedding and I was too "happy" to count carefully), about half of which were steamed.

                                      For what it's worth, I'm less concerned with where an oyster came from than I am with how long it took to get to where I am. Sure, they stay "good" for days, but they only stay great for hours.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        A few years ago we were invited to a posh Bah Habah wedding. I stationed myself between the oyster and Champagne tables. I never kept count, but it must have been at least 75. Who wants prime rib when there's oysters to be had.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          If you didn't eat those 75 oysters they would have gone to waste.
                                          Reminds me of the boss's house for an office Christmas party. Lot's of yuppies but none of them ever had Beluga caviar or knew anything about it, I polished off half the tin by myself. No one else touched it because they didn't know what they were missing.

                                          1. re: monku

                                            I had an experience like that at another wedding. When the father of the bride noticed I was the only one standing near the caviar and vodka ice tower, he came up and in a completely Jersey way inquired, "You eat that sh*t?"

                                            "When somebody else is paying," I managed. He proceeded to stand there with me and encourage me to devour as much as I could. Between blinis he would occassionally hand me an icy vodka and offer such pleasantries as, "Have more, I don't want it to look like I wasted so much f*ckin' money."

                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  God bless 'im, and you.

                                                  Awfully nice of you to stand there and stuff your face with caviar and vodka just to make that guy look good. :D You martyr, you.

                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    That father of the bride is something out of a movie.
                                                    My boss was the epitome of conspicuous consumption. It was 20 years ago but that caviar was in the 8 oz. tin with the lid proudly displayed next to it, I figured he paid around $400 for it. He would smoke two $40 Cuban Punch cigars everyday at the office. One day he calls me into his office reaches into his humidor and gives me a handful of those Punch cigars. Wonder if his doctor told him he had to cut down.

                                            1. Depends on the oyster. Texas oysters I can go about 8, Louisana oysters at least a 12-15, and Kumamoto oysters I can eat 2+ dozen with a nice champagne chaser.

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: FoodChic

                                                The last time I was in Louisiana, pre Katrina, they were getting a lot of their oysters from Texas.

                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                  I have no idea where you got that false information. Especially pre-Katriana.

                                                  As someone that spends a great deal of time in New Orleans, I can assure you no reputable place was serving Texas oysters in Louisiana. Texas oysters are extremely salty and lack the creaminess of the oysters found in Louisiana beds. One of the largest oyster suppliers to New Orleans restaurants is P&J Oysters, and P&J sells ONLY Louisana oysters. P&J closed their doors two months after the oil spill (they had been in business since 1876) rather than sell Texas oysters.

                                                  After the oil spill, some restaurants were serving Texas oysters. I understand those numbers have since declined since two of Louisana's largest oyster beds recently opened.
                                                  It will be some time before their oyster production is back up due to the fresh water floods from the Mississippi created to combat the oil.

                                                  1. re: FoodChic

                                                    Hmmm. So the oysters magically turn salty and lack creaminess once you cross west of the Sabine estuary?

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      Different enviornments produce different flavors in oysters.
                                                      The major beds of Louisiana are in the wetlands and marshes of south lousiana, where the Mississippi runoff hits the gulf. This water mixture keeps salinity at an optimum level to make for better oysters. The lack of natural water runnoff is what makes Texas oysters saltier.

                                                      Also, pre-Katriana, Louisana oysters accounted for 40% of the oysters in the United States. Texas -13%.

                                                    2. re: FoodChic

                                                      Maybe it's not a reputable restaurant but it was Drago Cvitanovich of Drago's in Metairie.


                                                      The author of the piece is Robb Walsh, a nationally respected food journalist and author of "Sex, Death, and Oysters." Texas oysters are eported throughout the Gulf coast and the eastern seaboard. That same pre-Katrina trip I was at Deanie's in Bucktown and they were serving pasteurized oysters from Florida, at least that's what they said because I asked them. They were disgusting.

                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                        You'll get pasteurized oysters in off season months. I never eat off season oysters.

                                                        Not surprising about Deanie's, as personally, I think it's awful. Best oysters are at Casamento's, Acme and Felix.

                                                        1. re: FoodChic

                                                          It wasn't off season it was late February 2004, and I also don't eat off season oysters. What do you think about Drago's serving those sweet Texas oysters?

                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                            From season to season, it's not surprising that some restaurants would serve them. Tides change and so does the salinity. But to assume that Louisiana serves Texas oysters on a regurlar basis is, well,...very Texan of you. :-)

                                                            1. re: FoodChic

                                                              I did not say that and never implied it. Folks in Louisiana hace a right to be proud of their fine seafood, as do we in Texas When Hurricane Ike silted over Galveston Bay's reefs, some boats went to Louisiana. By the way, the bays here except the Lower Laguna Madre all have natural runoff. Galveston Bay is sometimes shutdown from Trinity River runoff from floods from Dallas and downstream.

                                                                1. re: FoodChic

                                                                  One flows into the tenth largest body of water on the planet, the opther a bay with enough flow to shut it down for weeks.

                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                    Interesting comparison, as the Trinity doesn't even rank in the top 30 largest rivers in the U.S..

                                                2. Two dozen in the Malpeque, Raspberry Point, Blue Point size range. Three dozen plus for Kumamotos. Lemon, cocktail sauce, champagne and a few oyster crackers and a football game on TV and I am all set.

                                                  1. I've done two or three dozen without any effort. I used to live near a place that had an oyster special once a week (Rhinehart's Bar, I think it was called, in Augusta, GA), and cheap beer to wash them down with. Good times and full bellies. Happy birthday!

                                                    1. I can eat a peck easily. I "have" eaten a peck and a half...and could do it again if so inclined. I have seen people eat two pecks.

                                                      There are 4 pecks in a bushel. I suppose a peck has at least a couple dozen decent sized singles in it?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                        We used to go to Nag's Head w/ my folks. I'd buy a whole bushel and work on them w/ my dad through the week. None were ever left over.
                                                        Visiting our son in Soul, we ate some oysters w/out thinking about different standards or the possibility of polution. the 3 of us who ate the oysters got horribly sick. The experience has slowed my wife down a bit, but I'm a slow learner.

                                                        1. re: JayL

                                                          For American oysters there are roughly 100 oysters per bushel, 25 per peck. Downing two pecks of regular-sized oysters is impressive.


                                                        2. OK, so my normal 2-3 dozen isn't excessive....
                                                          Passadumkeag, they'll probably be Malpeques (I hope) or Island Creeks. I'm not partial to southern ones, so I'll have to see what's available. I haven't seen Taunton Bays here north of Boston yet but that's a good excuse to visit Maine later this year.
                                                          Thanks for the input, everyone!

                                                          1. I don't think I can do more than 2 Belons...
                                                            Kumos? Maybe 2 dozens :-)
                                                            The most I've had is one dozen.

                                                            Somehow I've never seen anyone sitting around us ordering more than 4 per person, so we always look like monsters to them. Not that I care, but... still.....

                                                            1. I still can't believe I did this but, back in the 70's and 80's, my college days, we had a place in Houston called Angelo's Fisherman's Wharf with an all you can eat seafood deal of raw oyters, boiled shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, fried shrimp, fried chicken and biscuits. We counted the raw oysters, 72 for each guy in our party, big, fat, salty Matagorda Bay beauties. The rest is something of a blur, and these are estimates, 5-10 wonderful Rockefellers, 15-20 boiled shrimp, 5-10 fried shrimp, plus a fried chicken breast and a biscuit because they were so darned good. The price was very reasonable, and the quality top notch, we're not talking Golden Corral.

                                                              1. while in the air force in the early 70's we spent a lot of time in biloxi and new orleans. there used to be (maybe still are, though i would suspect the price has changed) oyster bars right on the biloxi wharf where they would serve gulf oysters for $1/dozen. now keep in mind that we were all a lot younger, but it was not unusual for one of us to put away 10 dozen.

                                                                last trip to new orleans was three months before katrina. oldest daughter and i agreed that we would each eat at least 1 dozen per day. in the middle of this trip we took a 5 day riverboat cruise. much to our dismay, there were no raw oysters on the boat. so when we got back to no, we were 5 dozen behind. she gave up, but i sat at acme oyster and put away 6 dozen.

                                                                1. Interesting phenomenon that people talk about consuming a certain large amount of oysters, as a celebratory action. I know a few people around me who often do (and talk about) that. I myself happily do too. It's always a celebration in itself, when you are presented with a platter of freshly-opened oysters, nicely arranged and set on ice (or salt).

                                                                  1. Fifty. One of my friends ate 55 at the same seating out of spite. (I was saving room for two halibut fillets.)

                                                                    1. I've been known to down a few, but since the bill goes to my husband and he's too much of a gentleman to say so, I have no idea how many total and I like a very very small dip of mignonette if anything at all, really I think I like them bare best

                                                                      This summer, I fell in love with a cucumber martini made with Hendricks' gin. it goes very nicely with Cape May Salt oysters if you can get them... if not I settle for Wianno's or any other small/sweet/crisp melony oyster they recommend at the place I'm eating.

                                                                      1. dozen no problem. went for oyster with my dad and we polished 5 dozen and had to stop. Stomach was willing but wallet was not.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Soup

                                                                          I'm a woman, and pretty average sized, but can easily eat two dozen.

                                                                        2. But four young Oysters hurried up,
                                                                          All eager for the treat:
                                                                          Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
                                                                          Their shoes were clean and neat--
                                                                          And this was odd, because, you know,
                                                                          They hadn't any feet.

                                                                          Four other Oysters followed them,
                                                                          And yet another four;
                                                                          And thick and fast they came at last,
                                                                          And more, and more, and more--
                                                                          All hopping through the frothy waves,
                                                                          And scrambling to the shore.

                                                                          -- The Walrus and the Carpenter

                                                                          1. My wife and I ate a dozen each at Hog Island near SF, and took a gross home with us. When we got home, she suddenly couldn't eat any more (she was pregnant at the time) so my friend and I spent the rest of the weekend pounding raw oysters, oyster soup, oyster stuffing, etc. It was Thanksgiving too, so it was a tough chow weekend. Couldn't eat an oyster for years after that.