Matthew Raiford’s Thanksgiving Recipe for Oyster Dressing

Feeds 6 to 12 people


  • 8 strips smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced small
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced small
  • 2 cups celery, diced small
  • 12 large homemade biscuits or 2 cans of frozen biscuits
  • 1 quart oysters
  • reserve oyster liquid
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups shrimp stock
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt, season to taste
  • dash of nutmeg, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook bacon over medium-high heat in cast iron. Then, chop into pieces and set aside.

Use bacon fat in same pan to cook sweet onion, red pepper, and celery. Turn off heat and let sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, mixture will finish cooking in oven. Add rosemary sprigs to mixture.

Get a large bowl and break apart biscuits, which should amount to 7 cups of broken pieces. Add bacon to vegetable sauté mix. Stir to incorporate. In separate bowl, mix eggs and liquid reserved from oysters. Then incorporate into the dry mix.

Add in smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. You can finish with a pinch of nutmeg if you like. Mix well.

Pour in oysters and mix well to incorporate flavors. Pour 2 cups of shrimp stock and stir.

Mixture should be wet, but not soupy, with the consistency of a damp sponge. If too wet, add bread or biscuit chunks. If too dry, add more shrimp stock.

Pour mixture back into cast iron pan used earlier. Cook in oven for 30 minutes. Check to see if top is spongy. If too wet, continue to cook in 5 to 10 minute increments.

Take out of the oven, serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Tips

  • Too much mixture for one pan? No problem! “Always make some for yourself on the side
  • Dressing is probably a bit more common these days because people do a lot of fried birds now. Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t find many fried turkeys, but now everyone does it
  • For those that prefer stuffing instead of dressing, make sure you insert the temperature gauge into the stuffing, not the bird, when checking to see if the dish is ready.
  • Grab a few stalks of rosemary, instead of sage, to pair nicely with bacon.
  • Drying rosemary can take as long as a month, but you can pull from it anytime you need. We grow rosemary at the farm. So what we do with the rosemary is bundle it and hang it. And let it just dry here in the restaurant
  • Clean up as you cook. With this recipe, the cast iron is used in multiple steps to avoid using too many dishes.