How to Host a Clambake

Tips and exactly what you’ll need to throw a successful clambake anywhere

A how-to guide on how to host your own clambake.

A clambake is typically a festive gathering of friends and family along the New England coastline accompanied with traditional foods such as clams, lobster, mussels, sausage, corn, and potatoes — just to name a few menu items. But no one says you have to be on a New England beach to host a delightful seaside bash. A clambake speaks of summertime, good company, and fresh delicious foods, all of which could be easily done right in your backyard. Follow these tips and you’ll see that with a little more than a table cloth and paper plates, you can set the scene for this New England tradition.

Setting the Scene: Set your table with a simple white cloth and accent with red- and white-checkered napkins. Bring a bit of the shore to your table setting by sprinkling seashells and starfish throughout the table and draping fishnets on chairs. Place a couple of communal buckets throughout the table so guests can discard of any shells.

Add the sound of the crashing waves by putting on an ocean soundtrack in the background.

Tools Checklist: Clambakes are easy to host, but can only be perfectly executed with a couple essential tools. Use this gadget checklist for a stovetop clam boil for a complete list of what you’ll need.

Stock the Bar: In this case, a bar is nothing more than a cooler filled with soft drinks, bottled water, beer, and some wine. Keep it simple with red and blue plastic cups.

The Food: Start your clambake with a big pot of clam chowder. Try serving this Manhattan-style clam chowder, a lighter take on the traditional New England clam chowder. It is tomato-based, and can be served chilled, which is perfect for summer entertaining outdoors.

A clambake isn’t complete without a table pilled with clams, mussels, and lobsters. This simple backyard clambake recipe layers seafood and vegetables on a hot grill, and with the addition of some Andouille sausage and bowls of melted butter, you’ve got everything you need for a feast.

For dessert, simply serve cut wedges of watermelon on a big platter, or if you’re feeling something a little more comforting, serve this brown butter peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!