Beer-Steamed Soft-Shell Clams

Beer-Steamed Soft-Shell Clams Recipe
For a charcoal grill, simply toss the wood on the coals just as you begin to cook--no need for a foil pan. Make sure the pan you choose for the clams will fit inside your grill. If soft-shell clams aren't available, scrubbed littleneck clams will also work in the recipe, and they don't require soaking in cornmeal--check for doneness after 10 minutes. Serve with strained steaming liquid or heated clam broth to dunk the clams in for one last rinse, then dip in Butter Sauce.

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8 servings (serving size: about 6 clams)

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Recipe Time

Hands-on: 25 Minutes
Total: 2 Hours, 10 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 36
Fat 0.3 g
Satfat 0.0 g
Monofat 0.0 g
Polyfat 0.1 g
Protein 4.6 g
Carbohydrate 3.3 g
Fiber 0.1 g
Cholesterol 11 mg
Iron 4.8 mg
Sodium 95 mg
Calcium 23 mg


2 cups wood chips
2 pounds soft-shell clams
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 ounces room temperature medium-bodied beer, such as pale ale
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 lemon, thinly sliced


1. Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour; drain.

2. Place clams in sink, and cover with cool water. Rinse clams well, rubbing together to dislodge grit, and drain. Repeat until water is clear. Drain clams. Place in a large bowl, and cover clams with cold water. Stir in cornmeal and salt. Refrigerate and soak for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

4. Remove grill rack; set aside. Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan directly on heat element on bottom of grill; add wood chips to pan. Place grill rack on grill. Arrange clams in a grill-safe roasting pan, large shallow baking pan, or sturdy disposable foil pan. Pour beer and 1 cup warm water over clams; arrange garlic and lemon over clams. Place pan on grill; cover grill, and cook 15 minutes. Stir clams. Cover grill, and cook 5 minutes or until clams open. Discard any unopened shells.

Sustainable Choice: Lobsters & Steamers. Lobsters trapped off waters near the Northeast U.S. and Canada are smart options, as are wild-caught or farmed soft-shell clams.


Bill and Cheryl Jamison,

August 2011
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