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How long to cook?

Finding the sweet spot between raw, rare and well-done is accomplished using temperature, time and your eyes.


Regardless of the recipe, cooking oysters by time is somewhat variable. This is because the size of the oyster, the relative heat of the appliance, and when the oysters are dressed with ingredients during the cooking process all contribute to cook time and its "doneness".


Personal preference is also something to discover over time. You will also find that the end-product of a recipe can vary greatly based on how long it is cooked.


Oysters, like most seafood, can over-cook quickly so use time and temperature to help guide you but also get used to training your eyes. For "rare" we look for the gills of the oyster to start to ruffle like a pirate shirt cuff. A rare oyster also has much of its original liquor preserved. A medium oyster will be fully ruffled and about 1/2 of its liquor has boiled off. As water boils off, the salt-profile, texture and firmness of the oyster changes. A well done oyster will have no liquor but is still hydrated. The nuances between rare, medium and well done oysters in the target for most recipes. Experiment with variations for surprising results.


The oyster is also shrinking through this progression. Like most living things, it is mostly water to begin with, so when all of the water has cooked off, the oyster will be dry and will be dramatically smaller and start to change color. We consider oysters over-done at this point but there are many who prefer their oysters over-done.

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