how to make grilled oysters

Grilled Oysters with Umami Dashi Butter

Enhance the briny sea flavors of fresh oysters with a few hot minutes on a grill and a punch of salty umami butter.


Stepping away from the ‘heavier’ oyster toppings like rockerfeller or cheese,  this recipe focuses on the clean, fresh and briny flavors of the oysters.  It’s also a great way to create a super fast appetizer for the grill. The oysters only take about 2 minutes to grill over hot coals until bubbling. Then the grill is free to cook up your meats, and your guests are kept happy with a luxurious and indulgent snack.

Raw oysters are usually my bivalve of choice, and I’m not a huge fan of using too many ingredients that disguise the briny flavor. Oysters Rockefeller, for example, are not my jam. There’s simply too much going on with all that breading, for my tastes.

dashi flavored umami butter

The concept of this umami butter is to enhance the brininess and sea-flavors of the oysters, adding a little richness with the butter. I call it Dashi butter, because it has the two main ingredients that create Japanese Dashi broth – seaweed and bonito. Bonito is actually flakes of incredibly finely shaved dried and fermented fish. For the uninitiated, these ingredients may sound unpleasant but when used sparingly they are simply delicious.

If you are curious as to what umami actually is, it’s a flavor profile. Many call it the “fifth flavor” along with salt, sweet, sour and spicy. You can read more about it here.

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how to make grilled oysters

Grilled Oysters with Umami Dashi Butter

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  • Author: Jess Pryles
  • Yield: 12 oysters 1x



12 freshly shucked oysters

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 roasted nori seaweed sheets (snack size)

1 tablespoon bonito flakes


  1. Heat a grill for high direct heat.
  2. Finely chop the nori sheets and bonito flakes, then add them and the salt to the butter. The butter should be very soft and at room temperature. Mix well to combine. If not using the butter immediately, roll up in some cling film to form a tube, and store in the fridge.
  3. Prepare the oysters on a tray or plate. To keep them steady, you can use some scrunched up foil to line the tray then nestle each oyster in. Top each oyster with 1 teaspoons of the butter.
  4. Gently place the oysters onto the hot grill, over direct heat. Close the grill lid for two minutes.
  5. After two minutes, open the lid. If the oysters aren’t bubbling leave them a further minute or so with the lid open. As soon as they start to bubble, remove them from the heat and serve immediately.
  6. Leftover butter can be stored for up to 4 weeks in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

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