Southern Agenda

Surf and Turf

During winter weekends in Maryland, hungry crowds fill catering halls, church basements, and VFW lodges for bull and oyster roasts, regional celebrations with ties to Baltimore and the Eastern Shore. The spreads feature pit beef cooked over a charcoal grill that’s sliced to order and served alongside trays of Chincoteague oysters and other regional seafood. Historically, politicians hosted bull and oyster roasts on the Sunday before Election Day, explains Baltimore Sun columnist and city native Jacques Kelly. “They would use seafood as a way to get their constituents out to vote.” Now primarily charity fundraisers and neighborhood shindigs, the events pack the calendar from November through March. If you want to join a celebration, check calendar listings when the weather turns cold. “It’s not stuffy,” says Wayne Resnick, president of Martin’s Caterers, which has four locations and has hosted thousands of the events since his father founded the company in 1964. “It’s just a real lot of food.”