How to Enjoy Oysters in the Summer

You either love them or hate them, but rarely do people stand undecided when it comes to oysters. Surprisingly though, there’s still a lot of things people don’t know about this tasty bivalve. Whether you’re stuck believing old wives’ tales or confused about the best way to eat them, oysters may not be as tricky to figure out as you might think.

In order to better understand the rules of oyster-eating, we went to the experts at local restaurant Bernie’s Oyster House on Tybee Island to figure out what makes an oyster experience worth-while. The pub-like atmosphere and friendly service taught us that you don’t have to be fancy to enjoy delicious oysters – you just have to be willing to try them.

A common misconception is that you can only indulge in oysters during the months that have an “R” in it – known as the “R” rule. While at one point in time this was true, with today’s advanced aquaculture practices, refrigeration techniques and accessible transportation methods, oysters can be enjoyed almost all year long without sacrificing any of their tastiness.

When choosing what kind of oyster you like, a lot depends on your area and taste preferences. Bernie’s gets its oysters fresh from Apalachicola because the owner prefers consistently large, meatier oysters with a mellow and balanced salty taste. True Apalachicola oysters are known to food critics as some of the finest oysters in the world as they get their unique flavor from the right mixture of briny water from the inlet of the Gulf of Mexico.

Most oyster purists claim the only good way to eat oysters is raw, but others disagree. At Bernie’s, they serve their oysters raw, steamed or fried, each kind offering a different flavor experience to consumers.

A lot of raw oysters’ appeal lies within the texture. They are firm but slippery at the same time. Slurping down an oyster from the shell, you get the taste of the liquor, or “oyster juice,” that compliments the briny flavor of the oyster. Try garnishing with some horseradish or hot sauce for an extra kick. Or put it on a cracker to add a little crunch.  

 To those who may not be completely crazy about eating a raw bivalve, steamed oysters are an alternative way to have a similar culinary experience. The texture is chewier and less juicy, but the taste is still just as satisfying.

A true Southern seafood favorite, fried oysters are the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy. Bernie’s emphasizes how important it is for the batter to be light and airy, just adding a little extra crispiness to the entrée. Add some tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or remoulade to compliment the dish.

Don't forget to wash back your oysters with a cold beverage. Bernie's thinks that nothing compliments oysters better than a homemade Bloody Mary, garnished with pickeled okra, green olives and a lime. 

Whether you’re an oyster connoisseur or just an occasional fan, oyster culture is nothing to shy away from. With multiple ways to eat oysters, don’t be afraid to try something different. And if you’re looking for a good place to start your oyster-eating experience, be sure to check out Bernie’s Oyster House for quality oysters and other great seafood options.

For more information, check out Bernie's Oyster House's website, or visit one of their two locations. 

13 Tybrisa St., Tybee Island — (912) 786- 5100

115 E River St., Savannah — (912) 236 -1827