Low Country Steamed Carolina Cup Oysters with Melted Butter

This recipe is courtesy of Donald Barickman, a longtime chef and backyard barbecuer who knows that simply smoked oysters are best served melted butter, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2002


  • Seasoned oak or hickory chips, for fire
  • Bricks, large stones, or cinder blocks, to support sheet metal
  • 1 piece sheet metal (at least 3 by 3 feet and 3/16 inch thick)
  • 30 to 40 pounds oysters, rinsed
  • 3 to 4 large burlap sacks, soaked in water
  • 1 pound butter, melted
  • 2 cups cocktail sauce
  • 3 to 4 lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Build a hot fire with wood chips. Stack stones or bricks around fire so that the sheet metal sits securely on top.

  2. Once metal is very hot, place oysters on top, and cover completely with wet burlap. Steam until shells begin to open, checking frequently, 12 to 18 minutes.

  3. Shovel oysters onto a serving platter, discarding any that do not open, and serve immediately with melted butter, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges.

Cook's Notes

To prevent the burlap bags from scorching during cooking, soak them in water for several hours; Donald uses a galvanized tub to hold the large bags. You can also roast the oysters over a large gas or charcoal grill; place them in a roasting pan, and cover with aluminum foil. To steam oysters, cook them in a large stockpot filled with about one inch of water for about ten minutes over high heat.


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