The secret to Sea Pines Resort’s truly smokin’ oysters

Browned garlic is the secret sauce that sets Chef Harris’ succulent shell-fish apart.

Browned garlic is the secret sauce that sets Chef Harris’ succulent shellfish apart.

Shana Novak

For attendees at this week’s RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., there’s no better place to take in the panoramic, Lowcountry sunset than Quarterdeck at Sea Pines Resort, located right next to Harbour Town’s iconic red-and-white-striped lighthouse.

The entire menu is magnificent, but patrons in the know tend to gravitate toward one classic: the oysters. Quarterdeck’s oysters aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill bivalve. For one thing, they’re locally sourced from the Maggioni Oyster Company (est. 1870) on nearby Saint Helena Island when in season.

As such, they possess that luscious, naturally sweet, briny flavor inherent in eastern oysters. And they’re also charcoal-grilled, courtesy of a Josper charcoal oven that Sea Pines Resort Executive Chef Ben Harris sourced directly from Spain. The oven runs at about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and has become something of a centerpiece at Quarterdeck since the restaurant’s reimagining two years ago, according to Harris.

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“Something about that charcoal in the air, it takes the oyster to the next level,” Harris says. “And they’re flying out the door.”

The oysters are prepared with lemon, butter, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano and house-made barbecue seasoning. So what is it that makes his oysters stand out? Harris says it comes down to one key ingredient: that garlic.

“Fresh garlic is a little too astringent, so we brown all our garlic before we whip it into butter to really impart that roasted garlic flavor,” he says. The full oyster experience at Quarterdeck involves taking a piece of grilled brioche bread, pouring the oyster and its juice on top and taking a savory bite. Pair with a hefeweizen or a flute of champagne and you’ve got yourself a true slice of heaven. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on