This past spring, there’s been a spike in retail sales of seafood. A recent New York Times piece suggested that, as Americans spend more time in the kitchen, they’re getting more experimental with their proteins. 

Ricky Moore, the chef and the owner of Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint, says that while he hasn’t personally witnessed a huge shift in quarantine cooking, when it comes to seafood, he’s all about it. 

“I think maybe this is a time where people decide that, ‘well, instead of getting chicken, I’m going to get some local trout,'” Moore says. “Hopefully this is helping people to rethink their grocery list, in terms of protein.”

Moore’s lifelong mission as a chef, after all, has been to preach the joy and accessibility of Southern seafood. In October, UNC Press released Moore’s Saltbook Seafood Joint Cookbook, a collection full of what Moore describes as “anti-scary recipes.” 

Grilling or broiling oysters, he says, is a great gateway dish for anyone looking to cook seafood at home for the first time. 

“It’s straightforward,” he says. “You don’t have to run to the grocery and get a bunch of ingredients. Get you some good local oysters, a good hot grill—it’s probably fifteen minutes, if you’ve got your ingredients all organized.”

Moore says that the assertively-flavored Carolina Treet, a regional barbecue sauce, rounds out a list of accessible ingredients. As for getting good local oysters, he recommends Locals Seafood in Raleigh.

Grilled or Broiled Oysters with Carolina Treet Butter

Makes: 24 oysters

Serves: at least 2 dozen oysters


1/4 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons Carolina Treet Cooking Barbecue Sauce

1 teaspoons shallots, finely minced

1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cilantro, minced

24  oysters on the half shell


Mix the butter with the shallots, garlic, Carolina Treet, lime, salt, and cilantro. 

Let set up in the fridge.  

Meanwhile, heat the grill (or broiler) until very hot. 

Top each oyster with a dollop of butter. 

Grill (or broil) for 3-4 minutes. 

Enjoy! But be careful as the shells will be very hot.

Adapted from the Saltbox Seafood Joint Cookbook.

Contact deputy arts and culture editor Sarah Edwards at

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