Almost Time For An Oyster Roast

Rappahannock oysters, hot off the grill, on a chilly January night

Today's story in The Washington Post on Rappahannock oysters has me in the mood for an oyster roast.

The story's author, Melissa McCart, introduced me to Rappahannock River Oysters last year with an oyster gift certificate — a great foodie gift idea. I ordered 250 oysters, and they were shipped right to my front door, alive, well and ready to be roasted.

Growing up in North Carolina, I lived for big winter oyster roasts. Guests huddle around a hot grill, cold beers in hand, and wait for the next batch of shellfish to pop open. As a toddler, I allegedly chowed down on those little crabs that live inside oysters, though I can't say I remember.

This past January, I threw my first DC roast in the backyard (above), featuring the Rappahannock oysters. We ate a bunch raw, and tossed the rest on the grill.

Never roasted oysters? It couldn't be easier. Just place the whole oysters on the grate of a hot grill, close the lid for about five minutes, and then peek to see if they've opened. For extra steam and flavor, you can soak a burlap bag in a bucket of water with fragrant wood chips and drape it over the oysters on the grill. Pull them off shortly after they open so they don't dry out. Get a good oyster glove to shuck them, and serve with cocktail sauce, lemon wedges and plenty of beer.