How to Make a Clambake At Home

Clambakes epitomise the spirit of casual cooking and eating with family and friends by the seaside – this generally involves the digging of a hole in the beach sand, the lighting of a driftwood fire inside this hole, the placing of a massive pot of clams, corn, and potatoes in sea water over the fire, and the gradual steaming and subsequent eating of food with chilled beers.

If you are in the mood for such an afternoon of eating and drinking with friends, but do not happen to be anywhere near a beach, you can arrange one in your backyard, and capture the spirit of a classic seaside clambake in the comfort of your home.

Things Required:

– Enormous pot
– Propane burner
– Clams
– Corn
– Potatoes
– Beer


  • 1

    Start by inviting a large number of close family and friends. Part of the fun of a traditional clambake is in the numbers, so make sure you call over at least 8 to 10 people. Tell them the invitation is for a casual afternoon involving cooking and eating – you can also ask everyone to bring some beer along. Make sure you check the weather forecast – the day you pick for your clambake at home should be a pleasant, sunny day.

  • 2

    Now, once you have the guest list drawn up, and have ensured that there will be lots of beer at the party, prepare the site for the clambake. The best spot for this is in your backyard, and if you can manage it, prepare a site for an actual fire. This could be a shallow pit, lined with stones and filled with fire wood, with a spit arranged over it to hang the cooking pot over the fire. If you cannot manage this, a propane burner will work just fine – set this up at a safe distance from the house, light it up a couple of times, to make sure it is working, and then turn it off.

  • 3

    After the source of heat has been arranged, it is time to prepare the food. To begin, get lots of clams, soak them in clear water to get rid of any sand particles and debris, and then scrub them all individually and thoroughly with a stiff brush to make sure they are all clean. Keep the husks of the corn on, but remove the silk, and as far as the potatoes are concerned, make sure you purchase salt potatoes (if you can’t get these, cut regular potatoes down to the size of salt potatoes). Scrub the potatoes too, to remove any dirt, and leave the skins on.

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  • 4

    When the party begins, place a large pot on the propane burner/over the fire, layer in the clams, corn, and potatoes, and light the fire/burner. Pour in a couple of beers, and pass around the booze, to re-create the casual atmosphere of a traditional clambake. Make sure everyone has a drink in their hand, and ensure that there are lots of lounge chairs and mats around for people to sit on. You can also serve fresh raw clams as appetisers, to pacify your guests as the food cooks.

  • 5

    Keep checking on the level of liquid in the pot – make sure it doesn’t evaporate completely, otherwise the food will burn. Guests can also keep pouring a bottle or two of beer into the pot, to keep the steam going. The food should be allowed to steam for 30 minutes minimum, after which you can check to see if it is done. Once the clams have all opened up, you will know all the food is ready. Serve with lemon wedges, and enjoy.

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