Grilled Oysters on The Half-shell with Pancetta and Barbecue Sauce

Some people eat only raw oysters; others eat only cooked ones. We happen to be members of both clubs. This dish is in the great grilled oyster tradition that’s found in the bays and inlets of the Pacific coast north of San Francisco, where you can go buy a bag of oysters and a bag of charcoal and cook ’em yourself right on the scene. There’s not much that’s better than that. Here we accompany the oysters with a simple barbecue sauce and, in keeping with our belief that almost anything goes better with a little cured pork, top them with some pancetta.

Recipe courtesy of "Grill It!" by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, copyright 2008. Used by permission of DK Publishing. All rights reserved.

Grilled Oysters on The Half-shell with Pancetta and Barbecue Sauce

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    8 oz (225 g) pancetta, diced small 6 dashes Tabasco sauce
    3 tablespoons butter 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup ketchup Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup) 24 oysters of your choice, shells scrubbed
    2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley


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    • 1

      Build a fire in your grill. When the coals are all ignited, the fire has died down, and the temperature is medium, you’re ready to cook.

    • 2

      While you wait for the fire, cook the pancetta on the stove top in a large saute pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until it is crisp and brown (about 7 minutes). Transfer to paper towels to drain.

    • 3

      Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the ketchup, lemon juice, half of the parsley (reserve the rest for garnishing), Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

    • 4

      Shuck the oysters and loosen them in their bottom shells. Arrange the oysters (in their bottom shells) on the grill over the coals, and cook just until their edges start to ruffle (2–3 minutes). Spoon about 1 tablespoon sauce over each oyster, and continue to cook until the sauce is bubbling hot. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with parsley and pancetta, and serve, but be careful—the oyster shells will be very hot.

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