Grilled Cherrystone Clams

This recipe (if you can call something so effortless a recipe) is incredibly simple and the smoke from the grill makes the clams very delicious. We recently enjoyed these clams with a group seated close to our grill, so we could remove clams and serve them immediately. With the clams we also served grilled linquica and grilled young onions from a farmstand.
The key to grilled clams is to cook them over a hot, smoky fire until they just open. Have tongs, oven mitts, and a platter handy, because the clams get very hot. We have included a basic recipe and two variations – we are sure that readers will come up with variations of their own.
By | September 01, 2004


Soak wood chunks or chips in water for an hour or more. Build hot charcoal fire – so you can hold your hand 5 inches over coals for only 2-3 seconds and add wet wood chunks. Or heat gas grill to high and add a foil packet with wood chips. Put grate on grill and wait for fire to smoke. Lay clams on grill and put lid on. Peek at clams after 2 minutes, and remove any that have opened – try not to spill the juice out of the clams. Close grill and repeat peeking and removing open clams every 30 seconds or so. Discard any clams that refuse to open. Serve clams with a dash of Tabasco sauce, and a lot of crisp white wine or cold beer.

Variation One:

Grilled Clams with Bacon

After opened clams have been removed from grill, let cool for a minute or two. Remove top shell of clam. Add small piece of uncooked bacon to each clam. Put clams back on grill, and cook for just a minute or two. Remove and serve.

Variation Two:

Grilled Clams with Cocktail Sauce

Remove cooked clams from grill, and let cool for a minute. Put 1 tsp of cocktail sauce in each clam (either store bought, or make your own by mixing ketchup, plenty of horseradish, lemon, and a few drops of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce). Put clams back on the grill for two minutes, remove, and serve.

Courtesy of various members of B.A.R.S.


  • Cherrystone-size clams (as many as you want – we went through about three dozen among five people)
  • 2-3 Hickory wood chunks or 1 cup of wood chips
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60