Step-by-Step Guide to Grilling Oyster Mushrooms

Hold onto your aprons! We’re going to take a deep dive into the world of oyster mushrooms and find out why you should add them to the menu for your next grill night.

Oyster mushrooms are referred to as such for their oyster shell-shaped caps, but their characteristics span far beyond just appearance. They also have a delicate texture and rich taste.

They are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways, making them popular in the culinary world. They are like little culinary chameleons, adapting to various flavors and cooking methods.

Grilling is one of the more preferred cooking methods for oyster mushrooms. They hold well under the heat and maintain their shape and texture.

Grilling imparts a smoky flavor and caramelizes the mushroom’s natural sugars, resulting in a delightful taste sure to make your tastebuds dance.

When grilling oyster mushrooms, preheat the grill to 400°F and let them cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

This article will discuss in more detail the steps for grilling oyster mushrooms.

Preparing Oyster Mushrooms for Grilling

Selecting the Right Oyster Mushroom

There are different varieties of oyster mushrooms. Each variety has distinct characteristics—taste, texture, and appearance. Some varieties are more commonly used in culinary and for grilling than others.

Below is an overview of the different varieties of oyster mushrooms:

Yellow oyster mushrooms in a market

Pearl Oysters

Pearl oysters are the most commonly grilled oyster mushrooms. They have a slightly sweet and woody taste. They are tender and milder than shiitake mushrooms.

Blue Oysters

Scientific name — Pleurotus ostreatus var. columbinus. They are grey with a slightly bluish hue and pale gills. They have a similar taste to pearl oysters.

Golden Oysters

Scientific name – Pleurotus citrinopileatus. They are bright yellow and commonly referred to as yellow oyster mushrooms. They have a more complex taste and aromatic flavor than pearl and blue oysters. These mushrooms are mildly peppery and have a delicate texture.

Pink Oyster Mushroom

Scientific name – Pleurotus salmoneo stramineus. They have a bright pink color and their caps are ruffled. When cooked, the pink color disappears. They also produce a pungent smell. They tend to be woody and tough, so they are not the best option for grilling.

Phoenix Oysters

Scientific name — Pleurotus pulmonarius. They closely resemble pearl oysters in taste and appearance, except these are smaller and pale in color. They also have longer stalks than other oyster mushrooms and a stronger taste.

King Oyster Mushrooms

Scientific name — Pleurotus eryngii. The King oyster is also known as a trumpet mushroom. They look different than other types of oyster mushrooms. Their stems are thick and have a meaty texture, while the caps are small, rounded, and tan. Their distinct meaty texture makes them a suitable meat substitute. Their taste is mild and savory.

To achieve perfectly grilled oyster mushrooms, you have to choose fresh and firm ones.

Here are some tips I have for choosing fresh oyster mushrooms for grilling:

  • Check their overall appearance. They should look plump and vibrant. Avoid mushrooms that are wrinkled, discolored, or slimy.
  • Gently squeeze the caps and stems to feel if they are firm. Avoid mushrooms that feel overly squishy or soft.
  • Sniff them. Avoid those that have an unpleasant odor. Fresh oyster mushrooms should have a clean and earthy smell.
  • Examine if the stems are firm and pliable. Avoid mushrooms whose stems are dry, tough, or woody.
  • Check that the gills are intact and firm. They should be free from blemishes, discoloration, or slime.
  • Opt for locally-sourced oyster mushrooms whenever possible, as they are more likely to be freshly harvested.

Cleaning and Preparing Oyster Mushrooms

Since oyster mushrooms grow on the backs of trees, they generally do not have too much dirt. They are porous and tend to absorb water easily. So, the most preferable cleaning method is brushing and wiping them with a damp cloth.

If you prefer, you can also wash them with water. However, don’t completely immerse them in water because they become waterlogged. You can rinse them under running water for a few seconds, but pat them dry immediately. Then, trim any tough stems or blemishes.

Marinating and Seasoning Oyster Mushrooms

Marinated oyster mushrooms in glass jar

Choosing the Right Marinade

Before firing up the grill, there are several options for marinating and seasoning oyster mushrooms to enhance their flavor. Oyster mushrooms work well with oil-based and soy-based marinades. They make a great canvas for your culinary creativity.

Oil-based marinades help keep the mushrooms moist. These marinades also provide a protective coating to prevent the mushrooms from drying out during grilling.

The oil serves as a carrier for other flavors depending on the ingredients you add to the marinade. For example, you can add fresh or dried herbs, spices, and flavorings.

Soy-based marinades add a savory umami flavor to oyster mushrooms. You can also incorporate other seasonings like sesame oil, minced ginger and grated garlic, olive oil, and more to achieve your desired flavor profile. Don’t be afraid to stretch those culinary muscles and think outside the box when it comes to tantalizing and delectable flavor profiles.

Applying the Marinade

Decide on the preferred marinade for your oyster mushroom recipe and combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Whisk them until well combined.

Place the cleaned sliced mushrooms into a bowl. You can also keep them whole, which you want if you make mushroom skewers. Pour the marinade over the mushrooms. Toss or mix the ingredients until the marinade is well distributed.

Place the seasoned mushrooms in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate. Then remove them from the refrigerator and drain the excess marinade. Voila! You are ready to move to the grill.

Grilling Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms on the grill

Preparing the Grill

Different grills are suitable for grilling mushrooms, including gas, charcoal, and electric grills. A gas grill provides better temperature control, while a charcoal grill imparts a smoky flavor to the mushrooms. The top advantage of an electric grill is that it can be used indoors.

Whichever grill you use, check if it is clean before preheating. If it has residual food particles from a previous cooking session, scrub them off with a grill brush. Cleaning the grill grates is essential for preventing the grilled mushrooms from sticking or burning. Preheat at 400°F for 10-15 minutes.

Grilling Techniques

Direct Grilling

You can grill the mushrooms directly or indirectly. Direct grilling involves placing the mushrooms directly over the heat source. It imparts a more intense smoky flavor, char, and grill marks. You may thread the mushrooms onto a skewer for easier handling before grilling them over a medium high heat.

Indirect Grilling

On the other hand, indirect grilling offers more controlled cooking. It is suitable for larger mushrooms and if you prefer a slower cooking process. With indirect grilling, you place the mushrooms away from the direct source of heat.

If using a charcoal grill, place the lit coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty. Arrange the mushrooms on the empty side. If using an electric or gas burner, turn on select burners.

You may also achieve indirect grilling using a grill pan or foil packet. When using a grill pan, simply lay the mushrooms onto the pan and then place the pan onto the preheated grill grates.

For the foil packet method, wrap the mushrooms with aluminum foil and place the foil pack over the preheated grill pans. Using a grill pan or foil packets helps the mushrooms to retain moisture.

Before placing it onto the grill, you can also place your seasonings, grated garlic, and butter in the foil packet. This will ensure your grilled mushrooms stay tender and juicy.

Grilling Time and Temperature

The ideal grilling temperature and time for oyster mushrooms depend on the size and thickness of the mushrooms and your desired level of doneness and charring.

That said, ideal temperatures range between 375-450°F. Cook time ranges between 4-6 minutes per side for direct grilling and 10-15 minutes total time for indirect grilling.

Note that these are approximate cooking timelines. Be sure to closely monitor the mushrooms for doneness. Here are signs that the mushrooms are well-done:

  • They are tender and offer slight resistance when pierced with a fork or skewer without being too soft or mushy
  • Slight char marks on the edges
  • Golden brown color on cap and gills
  • Juicy and moist

Serving and Enjoying Grilled Oyster Mushrooms

Grilled oyster mushrooms are incredibly versatile and are sure to have people applauding your culinary genius when served. You can use them in sandwiches, wraps, salads, or as a side dish. They also make delicious toppings for burgers and pizzas.

Freshly grilled oyster mushrooms on a plate

Garnish your culinary masterpiece with ingredients that enhance not only flavor but also aesthetics. For example, you can use herbs like fresh thyme, citrus zest, balsamic vinegar, toasted nuts and seeds, cheese, dips, and sauces. You can also combine the grilled mushrooms with other vegetables like peppers, celery, and snow peas.

Grilling Oyster Mushrooms FAQ

Oyster mushrooms take 8-12 minutes to cook if grilling directly over medium-high heat and up to 15 minutes for indirect grilling. The exact time depends on the temperatures you are grilling at and the thickness and size of the mushrooms.

Making grilled oyster mushrooms is easy, even if you don’t have a culinary muscle in your body. Here are the simple steps to follow for grilling oyster mushrooms:

  • Clean the grill grates.
  • Preheat the grill.
  • Clean, trim, season, and oil the mushrooms.
  • Lay oiled and seasoned or marinated oyster mushrooms onto the preheated grill.
  • Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side.
  • Remove from the grill and serve.

When preparing oyster mushrooms to eat, choose firm and fresh oyster mushrooms. Clean them by brushing off dirt and debris and then wipe them with a damp cloth.

Avoid immersing them in water because mushrooms are porous and act like sponges, and can soak up water.

Next, trim any woody or tough parts and determine your preferred cooking method. Serve your oyster mushrooms on their own with a dip or sauce. You can also incorporate them into other dishes.

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