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Grilled/bbq oysters, clams, mussels

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i am going to try and cook oysters, clams and mussels on the bbq/grill tonight.

Any tips?

Ill post pics once they are done..

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  1. pls don't use the term BBQ for this. if they've already opened, proceed with extreme caution, some will say toss. otherwise when the closed ones open on grilling, then they are done. and snatch them off. fast.

    9 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      It's normal for a live bivalve to open. If it doesn't close...sniff it. They start to stink as soon as they are dead. In fact, the whole bag will stink...which is why they are best bought when you can handle each one first. If they open, a quick knock or a flush with cold water will close them. No close, toss. The possible exception is mussels. They open much of the time. Sniff them...they should be odor free. If they don't smell, but don't close, hold them under cold running water with your fingers touching the open edge of the shells. You should feel them trying to close. If you don't, set them aside. By cooking time, no change, toss them. If there is no smell, they are probably fine, but why take a chance?

      1. re: EricMM

        Mussels usually like to be a little open, you have to touch them as EricMM says to see if they are still viable. If no response, then chuck them. Clams and oysters, not so much.

        Luckily I seldom run into this issue at my fish markets.

      2. re: hill food

        thanks for the advice, but what is with the first pithy comment - why can't i use the term 'bbq'?

        1. re: macknight

          BBQ usually means low and slow with smoke flavoring as a major component. Shell fish should be removed from the grill as soon as they open. Otherwise the juice will rapidly evaporate and you will end up with tough bits of leather cemented to the shell.

          Make sure the deep bowl shaped shell is underneath. Use crumpled tin foil or rock salt to keep them in place. This way you won't loose any of the precious broth. Pry off the top shell at this point to add your sauce, veggies, cheese, etc. if you want.

          Shell fish are usually served straight from the grill as they are ready. If you are looking for serving all at the same time, temperature will be compromised.

          Have fun.

          1. re: macknight

            Some people use the word "barbecue" simply to mean putting things on the grill while others use the word to describe a specific type of cooking (low, slow, smoky thanks to different types of wood, etc.) It's probably a regional thing.

            1. re: Njchicaa

              True. thank you for pointing it out. Up north there is a barbecue filled with charcoal or LP gas on the back porch. Down here, we have a grill, and then we do Bar Be Que.

              1. re: Njchicaa

                It's not a regional thing, but a smoking snobbery thing. For some reason American smoke BBQ snobs out there love to say "grilling ain't real BBQ!" even though pretty much the entire rest of the world equates grilling with BBQ. It's like the Texas chili heads who claim it's not chili if it's got beans even though pretty much the entire country eats chili with beans in it.

                Everyone who claims grilling isn't BBQ *knows* that everyone else considered BBQ to be synonymous with grilling, it's just that they feel they're right and everyone else is wrong.

                Getting off my soapbox now.

                To contribute something to this post - I like my grilled clams with just one simple but delicious condiment. Take a can of beer and drink about half of it. Jam a stick of butter in the can and throw it on the grill with the clams. Once the clams open, poor that magnificent beer butter all over those suckers. Heaven!

                1. re: joonjoon

                  joonjoon (and I'm kinda joshing here...) yes please DO get off that cross as we can use the wood.

                  I am ALL with you on that part of the beer goes in the cook. we can agree there. these really are 2 different terms but are used quite loosely so anybody who truly gets into a knot over it is a PITA, as we all understand sooner or later what is meant. I also get ticky over terms like "chauffeured" (ought to be "chauffed") and cringe when I look back and see I made a their/there or your/you're or its/it's error.

                  so yes I AM being a pointy headed dick about the terms, but coming from a wet BBQ region it just ain't the same as a nice simple grill (which I do far more often). each has its own place and I'd hate to mislead guests.

              2. re: macknight

                as others have mentioned in many places BBQ vs. grill are colloquial terms and used interchangeably and only bothers people like me. the first time I had this, I was invited over for BBQ oysters by folks orig. from a region that doesn't differentiate. thinking "BBQ'd oysters? I 'get' the smoke part but please put the sauce on the side" I went for the company and found out they just meant simply grilling them and they were excellent. poor things just didn't know their words any better, bless their hearts...

            2. Clams on the grill are easy! Put them on and take them off when they've opened. Be sure to let them cool for a couple of minutes before you eat them. The shells will be hot!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Njchicaa

                well yeah there is that too. re: shell heat, another reason to pull off the grill immediately when just opened. they'll be still cooking for a bit off the heat.

              2. The tricky part is keeping the juices in the shell, as much as possible. Remove from grill with care after the shells open so as not to spill it all! Otherwise couldn't be easier.

                1. You can put them into those metal grill baskets or disposable foil pans so you don't lose them through the grates. The disposable pan is helpful especially for the mussels, plus you can throw in a little chopped garlic and pats of butter and chopped herbs and have a little sauce for them when they're done.

                  1. Best ever...

                    http://www.food.com/recipe/chargrille...

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAlxsS...

                    I hope you are using hardwood charcoal. Also use some wood smoking chips to amp up the smoke.

                    1. i'd be slurping the raw oysters while the other stuff cooked and cooled.

                      1. Char grilled oysters like at Drago's is the only way to go...

                        http://www.nolacuisine.com/2006/03/19...

                        They do mussels the same way - it's good, but a distant second to oysters.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ARenko

                          if you're using gulf oysters, which are flaccid and mild in flavor, i suppose, but if you're grilling cold water beauties you are doing it wrong.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            The OP asked about grilling, not eating raw. Or are you suggesting there's a better way to grill cold water oysters?

                            1. re: ARenko

                              did start my reply with "i'd", so thought it obvious i was expressing a personal preference. i think grilled cold-water oysters would be a crime against nature. not everything responds well to grilling.

                              do you have something to offer the op? lol.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                I was responding to your post that replied to my first one in this thread. I didn't see your post beginning with "i'd" until you now mentioned it (I hate the way chowhound posts are "organized"). That said, he asked for a grilling recipe and I provided a grilling recipe.