Oysters on the OBX
Oysters are a seasonal delicacy, and North Carolina’s Outer Banks is a great destination for oyster lovers. Though there are many ways to eat them – oysters on the half shell are an Outer Banks classic. Whether you prefer them raw or steamed. You won’t have to search very far when it comes to finding oysters on the OBX.
Outer Banks Oysters –
Roast ’em. Shuck ’em. Eat ’em!
We’re sure you’ve heard it before: Traditionally, on the Outer Banks oyster season belongs to the “R” months – those being September through April. However, depending on what type of oyster it is, some can be eaten any time of the year. That type of oyster is what local oyster famer Katherine McGlade, and most other oyster farms use – the triploid oyster.
The triploid is an oyster that is sterile. The sterile oysters come from fertile parents who naturally produce sterile offspring. “The reason we grow a sterile oyster is the reason why oysters were typically not eaten in the warm weather months. They were putting out so much energy to reproduce they were skinny.” McGlade continues, “But when they’re sterile, they never put out energy for reproductive material, so they stay fat and can produce 12 months a year.” Read more about farmer Katherine McGlade and how she raises oysters at her Slash Creek farm off Hatteras Village.
North Carolina Oyster History
Oysters have been harvested and eaten for generations on the North Carolina coast and there is A LOT to learn when it comes to the oyster business. Oysters naturally grow in the estuarine bodies of brackish water on the Outer Banks. When farmed, the temperature and salinity of the water have to be controlled or monitored to ensure healthy harvests. The North Carolina Oyster Wars was a large piece of U.S. oyster history. At one time, in the late 19th century, North Carolina’s oyster beds were some of the most productive in the United States. Unfortunately, due to over-harvesting, environmental sustainability, and the balance between commerce and resource, the wild stock took a major hit throughout the years.
Oyster roasts have long been a seaside tradition.
Fall on the Outer Banks is here and that means that it’s time to get those fire pits ready again. Getting cozy around a bonfire and roasting oysters is a common OBX past time during the chiller months of the year. Oyster roasts have a way of bringing people together. Whether it’s in the comfort of your own backyard or at a local Outer Banks Restaurant.
Many of the restaurants in the area feature a raw bar, a small bar within the restaurant where live raw shellfish are shucked and served. So if you love raw oysters, steamed oysters, or even if Oysters Rockefeller is your thing, then the OBX is right place to be. Here are a few of the Outer Banks restaurants where they show off their shucking skills.
Outer Banks Restaurants with oysters
A go to spot for locals and visitors when it comes to oysters is Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar. Customers will delight in watching hot oysters come hissing right out of the steamers as the guys behind the bar shuck and serve them on the restaurant’s copper-topped bar. Order them steamed, fried, or slurp them down raw – no matter how you like your oysters, you’re covered at Awful Arthur’s.
During the entire month of October 2019 Awful Arthur’s is offering buy a ½ dozen oysters and get ½ dozen FREE!!
The oyster bar for the Outer Banks locals is I Got Your Crabs. I Got Your Crabs is a locally owned and family operated restaurant in Kitty Hawk. While blue crabs will always be their focus, they’re proud to serve a variety of seafood for dine in or take out. Oysters are available in dozens, pecks, and bushels year round.
I Got Your Crabs even features an Oyster Rooster Challenge.
A Rooster is three sets of: A saltine cracker, raw oyster, a pile of horseradish, house-made hot sauce, and a hot pepper.
STEP 1: Buy an Oyster Rooster for $9.99
STEP 2: Have one person chock it down in 3 minutes.
STEP 3: Get your free Oyster Rooster shirt!
Finish it in 3 minutes and get a T-shirt.
Finish it 30 seconds or less and get on the wall of fame!
A locals’ favorite seafood establishment for over 19 years, North Banks features daily lunch and dinner specials with fresh local fish and creative sauces. Their raw bar features steamed shrimp, Maine lobster, littleneck clams, seaside and select oysters, king claws and snow crab legs – using only the freshest produce and ingredients available.
As an appetizer they offer Baked Eastern Shore Oysters – Applewood Smoked Bacon – Kale – Shallot – Creamy Swiss. North Banks also features Baked Firecracker Crab Topped Oysters.