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The Quintessential Northwest Clambake

Our Pacific Northwest summer is waning, and the great outdoors is calling us…no, make that screaming at us to soak up every last delicious drop of it like a chunk of bread dunked into a bowl of clams. So go gather your favorite people, build a fire, and light up a clambake experience to remember this summer by.

The purist’s clambake

Got a shovel, firewood and a few hours to spare? Great. You can do your clambake the way Native Americans on the East Coast did centuries ago. Dig a hole on the beach, line it with rocks, make a fire on the rocks and wait for it to burn out. Then scoop the ashes out, smother the hot rocks with wet seaweed, and put your clams, corn and whatever else you’re cooking right on that seaweed to steam. Early New England settlers liked to add potatoes and smoky kielbasa to the mix. (Pro tip: they also used seawater-soaked burlap sacks in place of the seaweed. Always an option if you can’t find kelp.)

While clambakes were part of a ritual for Native Americans, they became the social event of the season for those New England settlers. Now, like so many things that migrate to the west coast, it’s just a whole lot of fun.

The easy way

Want to create your smoky, briny, beach-flavored memories without a shovel? We’ve got you. Gather up some of our finest Pacific Northwest summer foods, like native littleneck clams from nearby Discovery Bay, fresh sweet corn from Puyallup, and smoked kielbasa from Portland. Then meet up with your friends at the nearest fire source, and try this recipe that Moe, the culinary manager at our Shoreline market, shared with us for a clambake you can cook in foil packets over a campfire, or charcoal or gas grill.

"Knowing a lot of us would be heading out into nature more than ever this summer, the campfire clambake idea really spoke to me,” Moe told us. “I imagined clam digging with my friends out by Brinnon and then heading back to our campsite, sitting around a fire, eating clams, drinking beer and laughing with each other late into the evening.”

Want to make your clambake even more quintessentially Northwest?

  • If you use a large pot or roasting pan, add local Dungeness crab (East Coasters opt for lobster. Whatever.)

  • Swing by our bakery for a loaf of crusty bread from Macrina Bakery so you can sop up every drop of that briny goodness.

  • Chill some local beers and Washington white wines to wash it all down, and make your new favorite summer memory complete.

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