New Orleans' Drago's Grilled Oysters Recipe

New Orleans' Drago's grilled oysters on a bed of salt

The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 18 oysters
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
301 Calories
21g Fat
9g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 301
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 434mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 262mg 6%
*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.)

This authentic recipe for Drago's charbroiled oysters comes from the horse's mouth: Tommy Cvitanovich, who owns the famous seafood restaurant in New Orleans. The restaurateur developed the recipe more than 20 years ago in response to the raw oyster scare present at the time. Since oyster stock is the best liquid to cook seafood in, he says, he knew charbroiling oysters would produce a good result, especially since it was a take-off on his already popular grilled redfish.

His new menu item took off like a shot, and there is no denying that the freshness of the product made this dish a star: Still handpicked by their own fishermen, the oysters are delivered to the restaurant in Drago's own truck. In his own words, "This is the perfect dish for those who want to enjoy oysters in their unadorned form but can't or won't eat them raw. Once you start eating these charbroiled ones, you won't be able to stop. Don't attempt this without freshly shucked oysters and an outdoor grill."

Our recipe follows Drago's instructions and celebrates the pride with which the restaurant has been serving this flavorful dish for years. After all, it was the hard-work ethic of immigrant Croatian fishermen that gave a boost to oyster farming in Louisiana, so they know a thing or two about freshness and flavor. The Cvitanovichs have generously shared other Croatian recipes like their stuffed cabbage recipe, fritters recipe, and apple strudel recipe through Klara Cvitanovich.

"Oysters are surely a treat any time, but prepared on the grill with this rich butter sauce takes them somewhere else completely. Be aware that there may be flare-ups on the grill when spooning the seasoned butter over the oysters as instructed." —Diana Andrews

New Orleans' Drago's Grilled Oysters/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter, more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch dried oregano

  • 18 large oysters, freshly shucked on the half shell

  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 ounce grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make New Orleans' Drago's grilled oysters recipe

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Ideally, the grill should hit 500 F.

    In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter. Mix the melted butter with the garlic, pepper, and oregano. Reserve in a small bowl.

    bowl of melted butter

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Place the oysters on the half shell right over the hottest part of the grill. The oyster shouldn't be cut loose from the shell as they can slip and fall right through the grill.

    raw oysters on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Spoon enough of the seasoned butter over the oysters so that some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up a bit. The oysters are ready when they puff up and get curly on the sides, about 5 minutes.

    oysters grilling on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  5. In a small bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Top the oysters with the cheese mix and parsley. Serve on the shells immediately.

    grilled oysters on a sheet pan

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

How to Safely Shuck Oysters Open

Here are a few tips to safely shuck an oyster and avoid hand injuries or cuts:

  • Use a short knife or another thin-edged instrument for shucking. An actual oyster knife is great, which is nice because it has a guard around the blade to keep your hand from slipping, but a screwdriver (flathead, not Phillips), and even a table knife work as well. What's needed is something with a thin edge that you can work between the shells, but that is also strong enough to pry open the shells.
  • Have a kitchen towel or rag at hand to hold the oyster in place. Be aware that whatever you use will get stained and soaked in oyster juice.
guide for shucking oysters
The Spruce Eats / Melissa Ling.

What to Serve With Grilled Oysters?

  • French bread is recommended, but any crusty bread will be a great accompaniment, as it can help soak up the oyster juices and make a tasty bite. For a different approach, use homemade cornbread.
  • Homemade potato chips or potato wedges are also a neutral-flavored side dish that pairs well with the bold taste of grilled oysters.
  • Vinegar-based coleslaw and salads dressed in citrusy vinaigrette are perfect sides for oysters.