Backyard Clambake on Your Grill
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
For this recipe, which replicates a clambake at the beach, we use the grill in two ways: first, as a direct heat source, and second, almost as an oven. Most serious grillers dangle the probe end of a remote thermometer through the vent of the grill cover. This measures the temperature of the grill environment but not the actual cooking surface. We believe it is more useful to know the temperature where you are actually cooking the food, so we use what we refer to as the potato trick. Cut a potato in half and insert the probe through one half. Set the potato with the probe directly on the grate. The potato anchors the probe, so it will relay information in a steady fashion. This way, you know the temperature throughout the cook time.
  • 12 small red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 ears corn, shucked and cut in half
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 links chorizo or linguiça sausage
  • 4 lobster tails, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp/30ml vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup/240ml dry white wine
  • 12 littleneck clams, cleaned
  • 12 mussels, cleaned
  • 4 sprigs curly parsley
  • 1 bunch chives, minced, half reserved for garnish
  • 2 tsp/4g Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ cup/240g unsalted butter
  • 4 sprigs fresh chervil, leaves only, chopped, for garnish
  1. Prepare the grill for hot two-zone grilling. Pile the unlit charcoal on one side of the grill. Fill a chimney with charcoal. Stuff two sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and light it. When the coals are fully engaged—you should see flames peeking over the top—pour them over the unlit charcoal. Cover the grill and open the vents all the way. If using a gas grill, light the gas and adjust the temperature on one side of the grill to high.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Add the potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Add the corn and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain. Transfer the potatoes and corn to a 9" x 13"/23 x 33cm aluminum pan and set the pan near the grill.
  3. When the grill temperature reaches 350ºF/177ºC, clean the grate. Grill the onion quarters directly over the fi re until charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the aluminum pan.
  4. While the onion is cooking, grill the sausages near but not directly over the fi re, turning to char all sides, until warmed through, 5 to 8 minutes. Keep the grill covered while cooking the onions and sausage. Transfer the sausages to a cutting board and cut into large chunks. Place in the aluminum pan with the onion, corn and potatoes.
  5. Brush the lobster with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill directly over the fire for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the lobster to the pan, and pour in the white wine. Set the pan directly over the fire and keep the grill uncovered. When the wine starts to boil, add the clams, mussels, parsley, chives, Old Bay Seasoning and butter, and cover the pan tightly with 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  6. Slide the pan to the cool side and cover the grill. Leave the vents wide open, making sure the temperature is still at 350°F/177°C. If it shoots up past 375°F/191°C, close the vents a bit to lower the temperature into the target 325°F to 375°F/163°C to 191°C zone. Cover the grill and cook for 20 minutes, or until the mussels and clams have popped open.
  7. Remove the pan from the grill and spoon the shellfish, vegetables and broth into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and chervil. Serve immediately with crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Recipe by Noshing With the Nolands at