Prairie Oyster – Classic Recipe & History

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Quick Step-By-Step Prairie Oyster Recipe Video

Prairie Oyster

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a prairie oyster.


  • 1 1 Egg Yolk

  • 1 tsp 1 Malt Vinegar

  • 1 tsp 1 Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Horseradish

  • 1 Dash 1 Salt

  • 1 Dash 1 Black Pepper


  • Technique: Build In Glass
  • Crack and separate an egg yolk into a lowball glass.
  • Add malt vinegar, worcestershire sauce, horseradish.
  • Add a dash of salt and black pepper.
  • Consume the prairie oyster in a single gulp.

Recipe Video


Is The Prairie Oyster Good and What Does It Taste Like?

The prairie oyster doesn’t taste bad; it’s pretty good. You can barely taste the egg yolk. Mostly you taste the funky Worcestershire sauce and spices, which I think taste pretty good, and then the egg yolk pops and then goes down. I know that description is not very persuasive to trying it, but it’s surprisingly good. You will most likely like this if you like throwing back raw oysters, as it’s not too far off. The first prairie oyster you eat is for sure the hardest. You stare at it, and the drink stares back. Eventually, you realize you have no choice but to drink it.

Truth be told, I love this drink, and my family is disgusted by me eating them. Egg yolk is pretty mild, but the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar are what hit you. Optional toppings are either ketchup, hot sauce, or horseradish. I like the horseradish as it sends a good quick burn up the sinuses. So it’s a nice funk and burns.

The History Of The Prairie Oyster.

The prairie oyster starts to pop up in books around the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century. However, the prairie oyster appears to be a take on an authentic oyster dish. Like ordering a shrimp cocktail at the bar today, the oyster cocktail was an excellent go-to during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many books had oyster cocktails among their recipes, and the small bar bite typically was 5 or 6 shucked oysters in a glass, mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce or ketchup, and salt and pepper. Serve with a spoon and let the patron dig in. In the 1891 book Boothby’s American bar, I also found a cocktail called the pick me up. The cocktail is Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black coffee, and salt. The earliest example of the prairie oyster I could find is in the 1895 book “Drinks of All Kinds For All Seasons” by John Hogg of London. He presents the origin story that a few Texans were out camping when one fell ill and demanded oysters to heal him. They didn’t have oysters, but they had eggs. So they fixed up a drink of it similar to an oyster cocktail, handed it to their friend, and he suddenly got better. That story is not true (all the ones that fit together perfectly usually are not.), but it does offer a connection that the prairie oyster is based on a regular oyster cocktail. While there may be no definitive origin for the prairie oyster, it was probably invented around the 1890s.

Does The Prairie Oyster Actually Cure Hangovers?

No, of course not, but what it does do is it forces you to focus and get it together. The drink isn’t that bad, but most people will have to psych themselves out before throwing it back. It’s that few seconds you spend staring down at that funk-covered egg yolk, building up the resolve to do it, that perks you up. It’s jumping into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed. Just try it. I bet you have all the ingredients for it right now.

Is It Safe To Drink Raw Eggs?

As a word of warning, use pasteurized eggs if you can. Pasteurized eggs are still raw like a regular egg but with all the germs killed off. The FDA guesstimates that 1 in every 40,000 eggs has salmonella, which is super rare. For reference, there is a 1 in 8000 chance of dying in a plane crash, 1 in 5000 die from choking, and around 1% of sushi test positive for salmonella. I got these numbers from the FDA and the Wall Street journal. Pasteurized eggs are hard to find, so you can pasteurize them yourself or roll the dice. If you have one of those fancy sous vide devices, it’s straightforward to pasteurize them yourself. As someone who has had Salmonella poisoning before, it is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. It feels like your intestines are possessed by the devil and fed into a paper shredder. About a day or 2 in, you start to think that you will die, and you hope for death to come quickly to end it. Again 1 in every 40,000. So incredibly rare, and if you get Salmonella, you’re much more likely to get it the same way I did, by eating food somewhere with no running water, where people don’t wash their hands. I’ve eaten countless raw eggs and have never gotten sick from raw eggs once.

Why You Should Try The Weird Stuff.

Nature loves courage, and always remember that no matter how weird or gross something is to you (be it food, drinks, clothing, music, entertainment, or anything), it’s somebody’s favorite thing in the world. You have to find out why. During your life, you will be presented with something (and I’m talking about objects and experiences) that you either find gross or strange (like the Prairie Oyster), and your first reaction is typically to make a face and reject it but don’t. Whatever it is you’re making a repulsed face at is somebody’s favorite thing in the world, and it is that happiness you should try and channel when experiencing anything new. It doesn’t mean you have to end up liking it, but you should always approach new experiences looking to find their joys. So take the risk and try something strange. I learned this from Anthony Bourdain. I remember watching No Reservations in college and hearing him say before he eats anything new that he “remembers this is someone’s favorite dish in the whole world, and my job is to find out why.”

Recipe Resouces

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