July 31, 2014 | Posted by Charlotte March
Grilled fresh oysters on the half shell with a chipolte bourbon butter sounds like something decadent Bobby would dream up, but in a certain little part of Nothern California, BBQ'd Oysters are an everyday affair. Don't get me wrong though, these oysters are anything but ordinary.
After a lively drive up Highway One, about an hour from San Francisco, are the sacred waters of Tomales Bay and the orginal Hog Island Oyster Farm. Founded in 1983, today Hog Island Oyster Co. has grown to become one of the premiere producers of certified sustainable shellfish. With 160 acres in Tomales Bay and a partner farm in Discovery Bay, WA, they harvest and sell over 3.5 million oysters, Manila clams and mussels each year.
The oysters are harvested by hand, sorted for size and quality, and then treated to a few days in a special “oyster spa”. The founders used their backgrounds as marine biologists to develop a special saltwater storage system that filters and chills water from the bay before it reaches the oyster storage tanks. Resting time in the tanks ensures consistently fresh, clean, premium quality oysters that retain the beautiful flavor of their home waters.
Surrounded by the stunning beauty of Tomales Bay, and the lively action of a working oyster farm is an oyster lover’s ultimate picnic locale. You can reserve a picnic table at the farm, pack a picnic, gather your friends and shuck-ur-own oysters alongside the bay in which they grew. Reservations go fast and the unreserved tables are packed on the weekends – all for good reason. These oysters are amazing.
For those of us who are looking for a less labor-intense dining experience there is a first-come-first-served counter where where you can order both raw and BBQ'd oysters, along with great pairings like local cheeses, beers and wines.
If you can't make it here this very instant, the recipe for the BBQ'd oysters is incredibly simple and results divine. I am planning to pick up some oysters at the SF location this weekend and give it a go.
This cute shucker was hard at work!
We came, we saw, we shucked. It was delicious.