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Rinsing oysters ???

  • t

Why in the world would you ever rinse an oyster. I've seen it done many times in TX and rarely anywhere else. You rinse an oyster and it tastes like ... NOTHING! Or it tastes like cocktail sauce ...but it doesn't taste like an oyster!

I thought that perhaps Gulf oysters perhaps just don't taste very good and that's why they're rinsed. But then I bought and shucked some myself and discovered otherwise.

So why rinse an oyster?? If you like the taste of cocktail sauce so much, just drink cocktail sauce!

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  1. Strange! I was at a local restaurant that has an oyster special, and the guy next to me dumped the liquid out of every oyster before he ate it. What?! The liquor is what gives the oyster that briny goodness I love, why would you dump it? Rinsing them out seems just that much worse, though!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kimfair1

      You are absolutely right, kimfair1. The liquor inside the oyster shell is perhaps the very nicest, mildest form of salt with a rich flavor of the sea. People who dump it out might was well bread and deep fry the oysters.

    2. Rinsing oysters....pour off the juice? Get a rope!!!!!!!!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Uncle Bob

        Uncle Bob,
        Are you organizing a lynch mob to round up some oyster defacers?

        1. re: Tripeler

          Well, yes. ~~ The only alternative would be stripped naked, tarred and feathered, and put on a north bound freight!!!

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            That would be a good start. More oysters and their liquor for us.

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Based on the OP's experience, you're gonna need a whole lotta tar and feathers. And please - no fedexing of Texans. They love their state like no other (and why would you want to spread that kind of hate for the oyster? ;-)).

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Don't send them here. We would just send them back to you. They may do that in TX, but I've never seen that done up here. So keep your troublemakers to yourself.

          2. i'm still waiting for someone to defend this practice and provide some sort of explanation, since it's so common in Texas ... although maybe i'm posting in the wrong place

            1. I eat lots of oysters here in TX and haven't ever seen them rinsed.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DuchessNukem

                how often do you see the oysters being shucked and arranged on the platter?

                Captain Tom's Seafood is a pretty popular place where the guys shuck - and then rinse - the oysters right in front of you. most other places i haven't seen them shucked, but they often taste watered down, so I assume they've been rinsed. b/c when I buy them myself they don't taste that way.

                1. re: thadj

                  Let me think.. Pappadeaux, The Palm, Perla's and Parkside (both in Austin) -- every place did shuck in view, no rinsing (and last two places we didn't have Gulf oysters).

                  I'm just surprised (and bummed) that rinsing occurs. Gulf critters do tend to be muddier on the outside but if a little grit gets inside, ah well. And I do find the flavors to be less distinctive than east and left coast oysters.

                2. re: DuchessNukem

                  ps - i had oysters once in new orleans and they had a similar bland taste.

                  also saw this very recently in LA (the city) - and at an upscale restaurant, which was confounding. so I guess it's not just texas. although I feel like it's much more commone down south

                  1. I bet they rinse because they aren't good at shucking and it gets any little bits of shell out.

                    Or because someone at the restaurant isn't good at it and so management has them do this.

                    I will admit to rinsing when I've done a miserable job of the shucking, and bits of shell were everywhere inside. Now I just go out for oysters and let the pros do it, because you're right, they shouldn't be rinsed.

                    1. A lot of times I either had my half-shells either rinsed or being buried under tons of ice, which in turn, IMO, leeches the brine aka liquor. One of these two has happened at places like Pearl, Schaeffer's GCOB and so on. So far, at least in NYC, short of going to Blue Moon and shucking your own, Track's in Penn Station and Lobster Place in Chelsea Market seem to do the right thing. And yes, I know Pearl's and Schaeffer's are closed.

                      1. I went to the Whitstable oyster festival a couple of years ago and found that 1) they tipped out the liquid from the opened oysters; and 2) the shuckers were so sloppy that there were bits of shell in lot of the oysters.

                        I thought that was all very weird, but this happened over the whole weekend, at a seaside town that's known for its oysters. I was surprised, but everyone else seemed to think it was normal.

                        1. I'm on the NC coast. This past spring, a local seafood market sold pints of oysters with two different prices. I asked what the difference was and was told, washed and unwashed. The unwashed oysters cost $3 more. (In 20 years here, I'd never seen this before.) I was told that many people prefer their oysters washed because of the sand & grit. Was then told the unwashed oysters had more flavor. (A real no-brainer!) I have to absolutely agree with everyone here... Rinsing off an oyster is rinsing away all of the flavor!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Phoebe

                            Never heard of oysters by the pint before!

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              The Willapoint shucked farmed oysters from WA are sold in refrigerated half pints and pints around the country. I use them quite frequently for dips, stuffing, and sometimes frying. The 'use by' dates are reasonable, and I have never had a bad experience with them.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                C. H...
                                Pints are all I've ever seen oysters sold as. I have a glass jar that once contained oysters. (currently used for duck fat) On it.... Oysters (water added) 16 FL. OZS. (1 PT.)

                                1. re: Phoebe

                                  I've got a plastic one gallon container we use for storage. Jeri's oysters, Anahuac, Texas one gallon, four pounds shucked March 12, 2012.

                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                    I'm a dope.

                                    I thiught you got them at a restaurant. I'll try to read more carefully next time!

                              2. I'm trying to wrap my brain around the idea of throwing away the liquor.


                                I'm also trying to understand not chewing and/ or loading an oyster up with cocktail sauce

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  The liquor is delicious, always chew, maybe a drop or two of cocktail sauce and never on a cracker.

                                2. I shucked my first clam standing, thigh deep, in the Barnegat Bay. I was eight or nine. I shucked my first oyster on Thanksgiving morning just over a year later. Since then, I've cleaned enough shells for a small driveway.

                                  That being said, I've never heard of rinsing oysters until I read this thread. Subsequently, a friend told me about a place on the Boardwalk that rinses it's clams on the halfshell.

                                  Makes me sad in the way that it makes me sad when I'm out to dinner with acquaintances who order some dish they are not familiar with - say foie or sweetbreads - and don't like it. I don't know 'em well enough to swoop up their discarded plate and all I can do is try to hold back the tear swelling in my eye as the server whisks the barely touched treat away.

                                  1. Where in Texas have you seen this done? So I can avoid it

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Lambowner

                                      I see this done at Captain Benny's here in Houston Lambowner, but I got a court order forbidding them to continue this vile practice.

                                    2. "Briny Goodness" Don't you just love the flavor of gulf mud? If you can't get the mud off the oysters and cant shuck them without getting mud on them then I want them rinsed.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: wickedsluggy

                                        I'm almost certain the original poster was talking about rinsing after it was shucked which I do see here in SE Texas. I put a stop to it immediately. Oysters are rinsed to get the mud from the bay off, however the Gulf oyster name is a misnomer, they need fresh water and grow in the bay systems, not the salinity of the Gulf. Gulf oysters moniker drives me slightly nutty.

                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                          Oysters world wide grow in a variety of environments.
                                          Some in areas where sand and grit and mud can get into the oyster. It's not possible to avoid eating whatever is in the liquid.
                                          Where we get wild oysters they grow on beds of what looks like large aquarium gravel. No mud/sand/grit at all. But sometimes we buy 'farmed' oysters and the liquid needs to be poured off and the oyster rinsed (in salted cold water) then the liquid is fine strained and poured back over the oyster/s.
                                          So it really depends where the oysters come from whether they need to be rinsed first of not.

                                        2. I don't even LIKE oysters but KNEW that LIQUOR is part of the appeal. Heresy??