Posted on 3/9/2020


Situated on a barrier island, smack dab in the middle of the East Coast, lies a melting pot of flavors. Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year, the Outer Banks has landed a spot in foodie heaven. Weve drawn in the likes of Guy Fieri, Food Network features, and so much more. Nestled between the sea, sounds, and sprawling farmlands allots for the ultimate fresh, homegrown flavors. Our roots run deep with southern tradition, and that, in combination with multi-cultured tourist influence, have given this sandbar some bites worth writing home about.

Truthfully, its nearly impossible to fully encompass thetotal flavor of this beach in a 10-item list, but well shorely try!

Hatteras Clam Chowder

The winters on this barrier can be understandably cold, windy, and wearing as storms sweep over our coast. For hundreds of years, our beach-dwellers have found warmth and nutrition in our hearty chowder. Certainly, youve heard of clam chowders, probably with varying descriptors. But were talking good ole fashioned Hatteras Chowder. Recipes passed down for generations finding their way into our soupspoons today.

This isnt your New England chowdah based in heavy creams, or Manhattan tomato-based chowder. This is simplicity and this is tradition. Nix the cream, the tomato, and the anything-that-will-detract-from-the-clams. The focus on this chowder is the locally loved mollusks. In this area we harvest Little Neck Clams, which are known for their sweetness and tenderness.

Why does traditional Hatteras Chowder forgo cream andtomatoes? Historically, it was just not realistic. The sandbar wasnt fertileenough for an abundance of grazing animals like dairy cows. Milk and cream wasscarcely, if ever, available. It is a similar story for tomatoes as well, theywere not frequently found in the area. Take into consideration thatrefrigeration was also not a commonplace - as this area was the states poorestregion. Not to mention, the watermen who fueled up on chowder, didnt needheavy creams bogging them down. Due to lack of facilities, staying healthy wasvery important, and this chowder is perhaps the healthiest of all 3 styles.

Whatever was available at the time is what went in thechowder. Clams were, and still are, easy to harvest on the beach and let metell you, this chowder is chock full of them. Potatoes, onions, and salted pork(bacon) could be amassed in bulk. In the pot they went, boiling down in clamjuice and deliciousness. Finish off with some pepper for seasoning and, voilà;Traditional Hatteras Chowder is ready for eating. Today, many will add theirown spices and personal flairs to this salty and modest recipe.


Anyway ya can get em - raw, roasted, Rockefeller. Though they do have a season, they can still be found year-round in OBX restaurants. Harvested similarly to the aforementioned clams, oysters and their beautiful shells are ubiquitous in this area. If you find an oyster, shuck it open, and find a tiny crab, then congratulations! You just found yourself some good luck! Folklore suggests the fortune of finding such an oyster. The juvenile crab has sought out the oyster for protection, and has called its shell home.

These mollusks are harvested from the soundside of the islands in the brackish, shallower waters. Each bay will give way to different levels of brine, saltiness, and size. Whats your favorite way to take in the flavors?

Oyster Shooters