The Guide to an Epic Clambake, No Beach Required

Peden + Munk

On his days off from his Los Angeles restaurants Mélisse and Charcoal Venice, chef Josiah Citrin decamps to his backyard for cookouts with family and friends. “I like the visual and acoustic feel of cooking over a live fire,” he says. One of Citrin’s crowd-pleasers is a clambake cooked right on the grill—which he says is “faster, easier, and more versatile” than the traditional dig-a-hole-in-the-sand approach.

What’s more, because this technique cooks all the clambake components in a single foil pouch, you can introduce another layer of flavor—Citrin’s brown sugar-and-jalapeño butter.

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“It allows the flavors to really cook into the seafood,” he says.

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  • Sweet and Spicy Seafood Butter:
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño powder
  • 1 tsp each smoked paprika, dried oregano, celery seeds, and sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp each ground coriander and granulated garlic
  • Clambake:
  • 1 lb red potatoes, halved
  • 2 ears corn, shucked and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 24 raw shrimp
  • 24 littleneck clams, soaked in room-temperature salted water for 1 hour
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 lb andouille sausage
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Country sourdough bread
Make the butter. Whisk together butter, wine, and lemon juice until well combined. Whisk in remaining ingredients and keep warm over low heat.
Prepare the clambake. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil into 24-inch squares. Layer 2 of the foil sheets on a clean surface and add potatoes, corn, garlic, thyme, shrimp, and clams. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring the edges of the foil together and pour butter mixture over the ingredients. Layer the remaining pieces of foil on top and crimp the edges together to make an airtight pouch. Place packet on grill and cook until potatoes are tender and clams are open, 30 to 35 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes.
Finish the dish. While the clambake is resting, lightly prick sausages all over with a fork. Grill over direct heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently. Cut sausages into 2-inch pieces and set aside. Open foil packet and transfer contents to a platter. Pour cooking liquid over top. Arrange cut sausage on platter, sprinkle with parsley, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with grilled country bread.