Angels on Horseback (Bacon-Wrapped Oysters)

Daniel Zemans/Flickr CC 2.0
Ratings (4)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
38 Calories
2g Fat
3g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 38
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 69mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 4g
Calcium 7mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Angels on horseback, or oysters wrapped in bacon, is a classic oyster dish that is very common on the East Coast and is often seen as a wedding appetizer on Long Island in New York. With only three ingredients in the prep list – bacon, oysters and a squirt of lemon juice – this dish couldn't be easier to prepare. 

The derivation of this recipe’s name refers to the fact that, as oysters are cooked, their edges curl, resembling an angel’s wings.  Marilyn Hansen, in her 1990 book, “Entertaining in the Victorian Style,” says, “These intriguing morsels are indeed heaven-sent for oyster lovers.”

The counterpart to Angels on Horseback are Devils on Horseback, so named because there is a spicy element involved, like Tabasco sauce.

To further confuse the matter, Roger M. Grace of Metropolitan News Company contends that “Food authority James Beard (1903-85) insisted that angels on horseback required ham as a wrapper and that if bacon were used, what you’d have would be devils on horseback.”

The British serve a dish they call devils on horseback made with prunes in place of oysters. And here is another variation of Devils on Horseback using figs in place of oysters.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 5 dozen small oysters (shucked)
  • 12 to 30 strips bacon (thinly cut)
  • 2 to 3 lemons

Steps to Make It

  1. Slice the bacon strips in half. It is very important to get thin-cut bacon for this recipe, as thick bacon overwhelms the oysters. Likewise, it is important to get small oysters -- otherwise, they become too large a mouthful.

  2. Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each oyster and secure with a toothpick. Arrange on a broiling pan or get a grill ready.

  3. Place the bacon-wrapped oysters under the broiler until they're crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes.

  4. How long this will take on your grill depends on the heat; but I rarely do this on the grill, as the bacon fat falls through the grate and causes flare-ups. Then again, you do get a smoky flavor with real fire...

  5. Take the oysters out and turn them over. Return to the broiler and crisp the other side. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes.

  6. Serve family-style on a big platter. Don't hit them with lemon juice until right before you serve them, otherwise it ruins the crispiness of the bacon.

  7. Traditionally, this appetizer is served on buttered toast points, so if you’re a stickler for tradition, that’s the way to go.