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New England Clambake

Discover three different ways to get all the flavors of a New England clambake: fire pit, stovetop, or stovetop/grill combo. Plus party tips!

Three Ways to Throw a Clambake

Fire Pit

For a traditional clambake, the food is cooked in a fire pit lined with hot stones and layered with seaweed. Find a beach that permits open pit cooking and start digging. All the directions are right in the recipe below!


No beach? No problem! Steam everything on the stovetop, and your clambake is ready in just one hour. Try this recipe:

Stovetop + Grill Combo

This method combines stovetop and grill--a great solution if you don't have a pot big enough to hold everything for a stovetop clambake.

  • Stovetop: Steam the clams and chorizo together; add mussels if you like.
  • Stovetop or grill: Your choice for the lobsters.
  • Grill: Corn and potatoes.

Complete Your Clambake Menu

Lots of clambakes start off with a hearty bowl of chowder.

Drinks are easy. Cold beer, white wine, or a big jug of lemonade will go nicely.

How about a scrumptious berry pie for dessert?

Ready to tackle a clambake?

    Jul. 30, 2009 8:25 pm
    What is the best way to remove sand from the clams, when you want to enjoy fresh steamed clams?
    Aug. 13, 2009 6:51 am
    Soak in the kitchen sink for a while (1-3 hours or so) with some cornmeal mixed in the water.
    Dec. 9, 2009 12:29 pm
    Even though I never cared for the clams as a child, it was my job to scrub the clams with a stiff veggie brush to remove the sand. The clams were ordered and flown in fresh and still alive after we moved out here to AZ. Only Little Neck clams were served at my parents clambakes, never the larger cherrystone variety. They were very picky about it.
    Kim Tew 
    Jan. 8, 2010 7:39 am
    Just for anyone and future reference... Little Neck Slams usually do not have sand in them therefore no "purging" is necessary. However, Steamer Clams or soft shell clams will need to be purged and the colder the water the better and you cannot leave them a couple of hours they will drown in fresh water. The best way around that is to buy from a reputable seafood monger or company that has a purging system. American Mussel Harvesters in Rhode Island will ship to your house......Good Luck!!
    Kim Tew 
    Jan. 8, 2010 7:40 am
    Little Neck Clams of course!!
    May 6, 2010 7:08 am
    Since we've moved to Oregon from MA. I can't get Little Neck Clams. Where do you get them out here?
    Feb. 16, 2012 9:59 pm
    what if we are landlocked? i spent most of my life onthe east coast but am now in utah. any ideas for the seaweed sub?
    Apr. 8, 2015 1:31 pm
    May one use freshwater seaweed?
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