You might say, “I eat oysters year-round”, which is true if you want them fried, sautéed, grilled or rockefellar style; but if you want them steamed or roasted, they are best caught and enjoyed during the months with an “R” in them. That would be September through April, but typically the season starts on October 1st when the weather is cooler.
The reason that we wait until the cooler months to eat raw or steamed oysters is because the bacteria naturally present in the water where shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels live is killed off or reduced by the lower temperatures. The cooler water temperatures make eating raw seafood safer which is how many shellfish connoisseurs like them.
One of the great things about living on the Grand Strand is the fresh local seafood. Many people like to harvest their own oysters, and one of the best places to do that is Murrells Inlet where the oyster beds are plentiful. If you do want to harvest your own oysters, you will need a valid South Carolina Saltwater Fishing License, and you will need to follow the regulations for recreational shell fishing.
To harvest your own oysters, you will need to dig them from the mud flats at low tide. Once you have gathered as many as you need, clean them off at the car wash. For a true oyster roast for you and your family/friends, you would dig several bushels of oysters, place the oysters on a grate or piece of tin over an open fire, and cover them with a burlap sack until they open to the point that you like to eat them—either dry, medium or juicy. Then you pour them out on a picnic table and enjoy.
If you aren’t the adventurous type who wants to gather their own oysters, there are many restaurants from Georgetown, South Carolina to South Port. North Carolina that will be happy to serve you the steamed or roasted oysters. You can usually buy them by the dozen, bucket, half roast, or full roast and specify how you want them cooked. Some restaurants list them as steamed oysters and others as oyster roasts. Below is a list of restaurants that do serve roasted oysters:
Hanser House, 14360 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Pawley’s Raw Bar, Crab & Seafood Shack, 9448 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Hot Fish Club, 4911 US-17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Mr. Fish, 6401 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Wahoo’s Raw Bar, 3993 US-17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Nance’s Creekfront Restaurant, 4883 US-17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Bimini’s Oyster Bar, 930 Lake Arrowhead Road, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Dirty Don’s Myrtle Beach Oyster Bar, 408 21st Avenue North, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sea Captain’s House, 3002 North Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Noisy Oyster Myrtle Beach, 101 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Rockefeller’s Raw Bar, 3616 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach
Flying Fish, 4744 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Duffy’s Street Seafood Shack, 319 Sea Mountain Highway, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Horry’s Restaurant, 1155 Highway 9 East, Longs, South Carolina
Big E’s Seafood and Barbeque, 1250 Highway 9 East, Longs, South Carolina
Billy the Kid’s Restaurant, 3456 Sea Mountain Highway, Little River, South Carolina
The Oyster Rock, 9931 Nance Street, Calabash, North Carolina
Ella’s Restaurant, 1148 River Road, Calabash, North Carolina
Mr. P’s Bistro, 309 North Howe Street, Southport, North Carolina
There are many places along the Grand Strand to get oysters steamed or roasted, and you will have to decide if the best oysters are in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, Calabash or Southport. Everyone has their favorite place to get their oyster fix. Try some of the ones listed above and pick your favorite.