The Wake Field Inn Oyster Burger

2010 Nov/Dec

Years ago, the Wakefield Inn, a pub on BC’s Sunshine Coast, invented the ultimate burger – and it’s not grilled. To get the right texture, you need to pan-fry the oysters. The Wakefield Inn used seasoned flour to coat the oysters, but I prefer the extra crunch of cornmeal. Serve the burger with a dill pickle, a dollop of potato salad and a big mug of cold beer. Sadly, the Wakefield Inn has fallen to a condo developer’s wrecking ball, and all that’s left is the great view and this recipe.


  • 1 t. each ground cumin, ground ancho chile powder, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 12 medium-sized fresh West Coast oysters, pre-shucked (you can buy them in tubs)
  • 4 burger buns, toasted and buttered
  • 4 T. commercial or home-made tartar sauce
  • 1 bunch green leaf lettuce
  • 4 slices crisply cooked bacon
  • 1 thinly sliced ripe tomato
  • pickle slices and parsley sprigs, for garnish


Combine the cumin, ground ancho, pepper, and cornmeal in a small bowl and pour the mixture onto a dinner plate. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is sizzling. Lightly coat the oysters in the cornmeal mixture and fry them in the oil and butter until they’re crisp on the outside and done inside, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Spread 1 T. of tartar sauce on each toasted and buttered bun. Add a leaf or two of lettuce, 3 of the fried oysters, one crispy slice of bacon (ripped in half), and 1 or 2 slices of tomato. Sprinkle the works with salt and pepper. Top with the other half of the bun, and garnish with a pickle and a parsley sprig. Makes 4 burgers.