Grilled oysters are common outdoor food in Louisiana, where people fire up their grills or build coals in a campfire to cook oysters on the half shell. It is hard to capture in words or pictures the interplay between briny oyster liqueur, juicy oyster meat, and the pats of garlic and butter set into the opened oysters, which are then grilled over a conventional barbecue rack or placed directly into hot coals.
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Ah, New Orleans. It's safe to say that no U.S. city—at the very least, of its size—crams in quite so much deliciousness. From boiled crawfish at seafood shacks to oysters on the half-shell in jacket-required dining rooms, from adventurous chefs to century-old sandwich establishments, eating in New Orleans is an unparalleled delight. And if there's a bit of guilt that accompanies all that butter and roux, it should be assuaged by the knowledge that eating in New Orleans these days is essentially an act of civic service.