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The Ultimate Lobster and Clambake, Plus a Must-Have Grill Accessory!

Jared Reiter is a behind-the-scenes guy at Barbecue Bible, a family friend and a veteran of the clambakes I’ve hosted on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard. He’s my right-hand man when it comes to keeping up with social media, and is also my go-to when I need a fire wrangler or a millennial’s take on something related to grilling or smoking. Jared, a new dad, was all in when he encountered the GrillKilt in our Father’s Day Gift Guide. Read more below.

–Steven Raichlen

The best clambakes, of course, are done by the seaside.   And by firing up your grill.  (Are old-fashioned New England clambakes, with their hand-dug pits, blankets of seaweed, and cooking stones even legal these days?)

This time around, my New York City-based crew and I couldn’t get to the beach, so we found a spot at a local riverside park.  Once we arrived, we set up our field kitchen and fired up our kettle grill.  Workspace, of course, was at a premium. So I strapped on my new GrillKilt. Definitely not your father’s grill apron. Designed by young entrepreneur Yates Dew, who was motivated by the frustrating need to run back in the house for forgotten items, the GrillKilt is like a well-designed tool belt for grillers. (It’s made in the US.) Ten pockets of varying sizes, D-rings, and carabiners accommodate hand towels (included), tongs, bottle openers, basting brushes, salt and pepper, earbuds, a beer, your smartphone, and much more. It’s 360 degrees of usefulness.

GrillKilt Offer!

“Use code “BBQBIBLE” for 15% off all GRILLKILT products.”

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Grilling a Clambake

First up on the menu was fresh corn cooked caveman style.  This is always a hit!  I washed the corn at home, then all I needed to do was place the corn on the coals until their husks were slightly charred. Cooked simply like this, they are irresistible!  To take the corn to the next level, you could always have some garlic herb butter (GHB) hanging out. Shuck the corn, brush with the GHB, then lightly char the ears on the grill. To make GHB, melt 2 sticks of salted butter in a saucepan.   Add 2 to 4 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 cup chopped basil, parsley, sage, or other fresh herbs–the bigger selection, the better. 

Caveman Style Corn - Grilling a Clambake

The next course featured more veggies. I sliced two full zucchinis in half, lightly scored the inside, brushed with the GHB, and placed cut sides down right on the grill grate. I then threw some shishito peppers and red potatoes on there followed by pink oyster mushrooms dipped in the GHB, plus summer squash sliced to be served like burgers.   Delicious!

Finally, we reached the fun stuff! Littlenecks, cherrystones and mussels from a local fish market were placed right on the grill. I would also recommend using the Steven Raichlen Shellfish Rack or Basket for this. Once they started to open, GHB was applied generously with a basting brush. Grill just until the shells open–a couple minutes will do it. 


Then…(crescendo)…time for the lobsters!   First, we cut them in half on the cutting board with the belly side up, not cutting completely through.  Next, I creamed soft butter with minced garlic, onion, scallion and herbs, and spooned the mixture into and over the cut parts of the lobster.


Then onto the grill!   Start the lobsters belly side up to keep all the juice and flavors in.  Pour a little beer on top. Then after a few minutes, turn them over to crisp up the other side. Flip them over once again and brush some GHB all over the entire lobster. Arrange some halved lemons on the grill and squeeze them on top right before serving.   Amazing!

Clambake and Lobster

But wait! There’s more! What’s a barbecue without watermelon? This time we had to try grilling some, so I sliced right down the middle for some nice round “watermelon steaks.” No added seasonings here, but a little sea salt, some balsamic glaze or crumbled feta cheese could be nice additions.  The warm caramelized taste of the grilled watermelon was quite satisfying after such an adventurous grill session. The mood was incredibly festive and I got the rest of the crew to model GrillKilts I gifted them!  A rip-roaring time was had by all. We cleaned up (you know–leave no trace); you wouldn’t even know we were there. Good thing we have the pictures to prove it!

Note: when you prepare for your clambake, remember pre-planning is the key to success.   (Hey, packing up the car is half the fun!)   Plan out your list beforehand so you don’t forget anything.

Key Items to have:

  • Grill
  • Charcoal
  • Grilling gloves
  • Grilling tools
  • Lighter
  • Starter
  • Chimney
  • Pans
  • Cutting boards
  • Garbage bags
  • Cleaning spray
  • Paper towels
  • Plates
  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • Chairs
  • Speaker
  • Wagon
  • Cooler for the food and drinks
  • And above all, don’t forget your GrillKilt

Want a Recipe?


Lobster - Clambake

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