In a bowl, add the cornmeal and season with salt and the homemade chili powder. The amount of ground chili powder listed above will give your oysters a kick that is tempered by the mayonnaise. It can, of course, be toned down to your liking, omitted entirely, or cranked way up for some serious fire.
Wash your lettuce, tomatoes, and dill pickles allowing them to dry.
Heat the peanut oil in a high-sided pan or pot. You want to maintain an oil temperature that is as close to 375 as possible (a frying thermometer is a good way to be sure, but you can also periodically check with a normal probe thermometer in a pinch)
Beat the eggs in a small bowl with 3-4 tsp of water to loosen them up.
Drain and rinse the oyster meat
Dip each oyster in the egg mixture, then put it in the breading. Once you have 4-5 oysters in the bowl, shake it gently to coat them with the seasoned cornmeal.
Carefully lower each oyster into the hot oil. Use a spider or tongs for extra safety. Do not fry more than 4-5 oysters at a time, per pan, as you do not want to overload the oil and cause it to lose heat. If using a shallow pan, you may want to cover it with a splatter guard in case pockets of moisture in the oysters cause spitting.
Slice tomatoes and pickles and tear lettuce leaves. Keep an eye on the frying oysters and turn them half way through the cooking process (they should only take a couple of minutes to cook).
Once the oysters have firmed up and the breading has taken on a golden color, fish them out and put them on several layers of paper towels to drain. You can cover them with more paper towels to speed this process and help them stay warm.
Make sure the oil has returned to a temperature of 375 before frying another batch in that pan. Keep an eye on the quality of your oil. When it begins to get dirty you’ll need to replace it with fresh oil. Don’t throw the old oil out though. Simply set it aside to cool, then filter it, and you can reuse it a few more times (assuming you haven’t allowed it to smoke or get too dirty).
Slice and toast your rolls.
Spread each roll with mayonnaise and layer on lettuce, tomato slices, and pickles. Add the number of fried oysters that seems appropriate given the size of your rolls (we prefer small brioche rolls and about two oysters each).