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.
This recipe is from the Grill to Perfection cookbook. Click here for a list of places you can buy a copy.
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.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Add the potatoes and boil for five minutes. Add the corn and boil for an additional three minutes. Drain. Transfer the potatoes and corn to a 9 by 13-inch aluminum pan and set the pan near the grill.
When the grill temperature reaches 350 degrees F, clean the grate. Grill the onion quarters directly over the fire until charred, about five minutes. Transfer to the aluminum pan.
While the onion is cooking, grill the sausages near but not directly over the fire, 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.
Brush the lobster with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill directly over the fire for three minutes. Flip and cook for two 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 two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Slide the pan to the cool side and cover the grill. Leave the vents wide open, making sure the temperature is still at 350 degrees F. If it shoots up past 375 degrees F, close the vents a bit to lower the temperature into the target 325 to 375 degrees F zone. Cover the grill and cook for 20 minutes, or until the mussels and clams have popped open.
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.