Clam Bake

History

   Years and years ago the native Americans used to dig pits in the sand and cook in them. Lots of clams, shellfish, fish, corn. Anything and everything that you could cook in them was cooked in them. 

     When Europeans came to this New World ideas were exchanged and one of them was the Clambake. I guess in Europe we forgot how to cook without pots by then. Luckily, we were shown the errors of our ways and began cooking delicious meals dug in pits on the dunes.

   Today it's not very different. Great ideas usually stick around. This one is definitely here to stay. I personally love a good clam bake. There’s no such thing as bad either. So yeah, I love clambakes. Once you try it you’ll love them too. How could you nor. Good food, cooked for you by the coals and sand and seaweed. 

    Clambakes are as much about getting together with people you care about as it is the food. Usually if you get good food going, the people you care about will show up. They might even bring your beverage of choice.

How to

Traditional method

   The first step to any good clambake is digging. You need a pit. Luckily sand isn’t hard to dig through. How big of a pit depends on how much food you're going to cook. Usually a 3 x 2 is enough. 3 feet wide and about 2 feet deep. You don’t have to measure this, just eyeball it. Precision is not the goal. Sharing a good meal is. 

   The next step is lining the hole with rocks. Don’t worry if you can’t find enough. Make do with what you have. I’ve skipped this step completely several times. 

   Next is the fire. For a clambake we don’t really need fire as much as we need coals. So, you’ll have to do this ahead of time. Build a fire and let it burn down to coals. Sounds like a good time to go make a few casts to me. Or you can just hang out and watch the fire. This is fun too. Especially with the right person/people.

   This is also a good time for any food prep you need to do. Wash the clams and mussels. Get everything together and put it in a cheese cloth. Some people wrap corn and potatoes individually. I think they cook about the same way either way. I leave this to your discretion. 


You can make individual ones wrapped in foil. Great to let kids fill their own pouch.

  • 1 piece of corn per person
  • 2 potatoes per person
  • 4 - 6 lbs. shrimp
  • 4-6 lbs. mussels
  • 1 lbs. lobster per person
  • A few pieces of sausage per person
  • 3 - 4 lbs. clams
  • 1 or 2 blue crabs per person
  • A few whole onions cut up into quarters
  • 2 to 3 lemons
  • Few cloves of garlic
  • Thyme, parsley, oregano chopped
  • Old bay seasoning (sprinkled on top)

   What you put into the clambake depends on what you want. I guess you could even do a vegan style but I’m not a vegan I’m an omnivore. I eat everything. If you don’t like something, leave it out. Something you like not on the list, add it in. Make your own rules. Yeah, they were those types of eaters.

Once you have a good bed of coals and the rocks are good and hot, put down a couple inches of seaweed.  Put everything in a cheesecloth sack. Place the amazing cheesecloth sack on top and cover with a couple more inches of seaweed. Then cover it all with a burlap sack drenched in seawater.

   Little note here 

   “Whenever you cook with seawater don’t add salt to the food until you taste it. Salinity levels change all the time.”

   Keep a bucket of seawater on hand if the steam seems a little low. We are cooking with steam here, not fire. 

 


If you can't get to a beach, you can do it in a pot.

    Let it all go for a couple of hours or so. Now is the time to socialize. Build another fire. Sit around and tell stories. Enjoy the moment. Moments are meant to be shared. Clambakes are definitely moments

    After a while remove the burlap and Seaweed and place all that wonderful on some kind of table thing. Makeshift tables are welcome. Plywood on some driftwood has worked before.

Once everything is open you can drench it all in melted butter or make an herb butter to cover it with. Have some on the side for dipping. Cut up a few lemons into wedges. 

   Open and enjoy. Feel free to experiment with this method. Clambake is a cooking method not exactly a recipe. Well, it’s a recipe for a great time.

Enjoy the outdoors, Life is out Here.

Look at that spread. YUMMY!