Clambakes are one of the best events to host in your home. Not only are they lively and delicious, but they give your friends and family a truly unique experience they will never forget.
Though setting up a backyard clambake is not exactly an intuitive process, however, just about anyone can do it if they know the correct steps.
This guide will cover all the steps in order to help you bring a bit of the coast to your yard.
Back Yard Clambake – It’s All About the Ingredients
Clambakes always start with the ingredients.
There are several variations out there. However, no matter what you enjoy, every bake has the same general base – you need vegetables, and you need meat.
Of course, no clambake is complete without clams.
Even so, once you’ve chosen your shellfish, you next need to figure out what you want cook alongside them. Mussels are a great choice to throw in the pot because they offer a saltiness that complements the seafood theme.
Two other great choices are lobster and sausage. Those add a strong meaty flavor that permeates throughout the entire dish.
From there, you want to add in vegetables. The basics here are corn and red potatoes. These both help reinforce the earthy tones and perfectly soak up the flavor from the other ingredients.
While not standard in a traditional clambake, seaweed is another great way to bring in the taste of the ocean. The green gives you extra brine and helps your clambake taste unique.
Finally, in terms of ingredients, you can always turn to fat or aromatic options as well. This commonly comes down to what you enjoy, but it should be something you would expect to taste on your seafood. That includes fresh herbs, butter, or lemon halves.
More Than One Way to Bake a Clam
When it comes to cooking your bake, the traditional option is to dig a shallow pit that is roughly two feet deep and four feet wide and line it with large stones. From there, you build a wood fire, light it, and constantly feed it with larger and larger pieces of wood until it burns down to just embers.
That will then give you a hot, smoldering place from where you can bake your food.
If you don’t have a place to dig a pit, don’t worry. There are many other ways to put this feast together, including a traditional grill.
Grilling your clambake is easy. All you need to do is place a roasting pan on the grates and then cook it like you would on a pit.
Simply place the potatoes, corn, and sausages in the bottom and let them cook for a bit before adding in the more fragile seafood.
In addition, if you want to grill in a different way, you can also tightly package the food in small foil packets with a bit of broth and then place them over the heat.
If you don’t have a grill or don’t want to clean up charcoal, you can also cook your clambake indoors and then eat it outside. For that, put together a clam boil by cooking all of your ingredients in a big stock pot on the stove. Layer it with the corn and potatoes on the bottom (they take the longest to cook) and then seafood near the top.
Seeing Your Bake Through
After you’ve picked your ingredients and cooking method, you need to carefully manage your bake in a way where everything cooks evenly.
Clambakes are steamed for roughly an hour, regardless of where and how you cook them. If on a grill or stove, you need to check the bake at that time to see if the broth helped everything come together.
In contrast, when baking in a pit you should soak a large canvas tarp in water and then drape it over the top to keep everything moist.
Once the hour is up, peek inside your cooking device to see if the seafood cooked all the way through. Any shellfish (mussels or clams) should be open and the lobsters should be bright red.
If the seafood is done, remove it and let the rest of the bake go for another fifteen minutes.
Once the corn and potatoes are finished (something you should check by pricking them with a fork or knife) pour everything out onto a paper-covered table or into large serving ware and you’re ready to dig in.
Back Yard Clambake – A Fun Way to Enjoy the Ocean
Everyone, both young and old, enjoys a good clambake party. Though it does take some time and set up, the payoff is worth it.
If you like seafood, or if you simply want to entertain in a completely unique way, this is one of the best meals to have under a warm summer night.