DIY Down the Shore: Nick Elmi’s Traditional (But Not Traditional) Clambake

Nick Elmi’s BYO, Laurel has captured the appetites of those who frequent East Passyunk’s restaurant scene. And chef Elmi’s Traditional (but not traditional) Clambake needs only his introduction (below) for you to understand that this recipe is indeed very special.

So fire up the grill, gather everyone you know (seriously, this one calls for a party) and get your ingredients together because this weekend seems like the perfect time for a clambake.

Nick Elmi explains:

“Growing up in New England, this is one of my favorite recipes that I actually only get the chance to bust out once a year. I used to work at a country club when I was a teenager in Rye, New Hampshire that was situated on the coast. We’d do this for weddings and larger parties by request. It would be done on the beach in a gigantic bonfire that was started earlier in the day. When the fire went out and we were left with glowing ashes, we would start with wet potato sacks (seriously) on top of the ashes then fresh seaweed. Then, layer in Lobsters, Steamers (Ipswich Clams), Little Neck Clams, Mussels, Corn, Chorizo, Potatoes, Onion, Carrot and Old Bay. Then, more seaweed, another wet potato sack then it’s covered with the ashes and embers of the fire. It would take about an hour and a half to cook and then you left with a very tasty seafood mix up. I’ve realized that building a bonfire on the beach at the shore can be difficult, time consuming and usually against the law, so I’ve adapted the idea into a recipe which is a little bit more practical. All you’ll need is a nice large grill on low, some heavy duty aluminum foil (very important) and some patience.” – Nick Elmi


Feeds 4-6 ppl (depending on how hungry they are)

2 ea 1.5 pound lobsters, rubber bands removed (suck it up)

50 ea little neck clams, soaked in salt water for 30 min then rinsed

2 pounds of mussels, rinsed well

20 small cape may oysters scrubbed

2 ears corn husked

1 pound chorizo or linguica sausage cut into 2 inch pieces

1 onion quartered

2 carrots also quartered

3 potatoes, yukon golds, medium sized, scrubbed

1 pounds of seaweed, ask the guy who sold you the lobsters

whole herbs like parsley, tarragon and dill 6 each

3 lemons

1/2 cup of dry white wine

salt to taste

Old Bay Seasoning

1 pound of butter (no salt) diced in medium cubes


– Turn your grill on low. It should read between 250 and 300.

– Drive a heavy knife through the head right between the eyes of the lobsters to stop their nervous system. Then you can take off the rubber bands but still be careful, they’ll get ya.

– Use a larger sheet tray and line the bottom with heavy duty aluminum foil bringing the sides up a little so nothing leaks out.

– Place the seaweed down followed by the sausage, corn, potatoes, carrots and onions.

– Place all of the seafood on next.

– Drizzle the white wine over the top and season with salt and old bay.

– Last throw the cubed butter on top.

– Cover with another large piece of aluminum and roll together the edges together as tight as possible.

– Put the whole kit and kaboodle in the grill and cover.

– Let it ride for 35-45 minutes.

– Remove everything. (Open in front of other people to get oohs and aahs.)

– Pour Everything in a Very Large bowl and serve with more lemon wedges and drawn butter.

DIY Down The Shore [f8b8z]