Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ric Orlando's Summer BBQ Clams

BBQ Clams on the half shell

After a long Hudson Valley summer day, it's time for dinner on the deck. 'Nuff said.
One of my fave dishes ever is simple BBQ clams on the half shell. They take twice as long to prep as they do to eat but it is worth every second. I have had parties where I am shucking for hours while my guests are slurping up hot, buttery, spicy clams faster than I can cook them!

So here is where to start:
Get some fresh littlenecks. Nothing else will do.
Maine clams? Cheap yes, but they suck.
Cherrystones? Too big.
Go with Rhode Island or Long Island Littlenecks. Trust me.

Shuck them first, just like for clams on the regular-old half shell. (Don't cheat and steam them open or you will not have the same dish!)
Need some shucking help? Instead of me showing you, here is Rich Vallante, Legal Seafood's executive chef doing a quick shucking video.

Ingredients (serves 2-4)

36 Rhode Island Littlenecks
1/4 lb excellent butter
choice of hot sauces

First thing to do is fire up the grill. If you are using gas, it will take about 10 minutes but if you are using charcoal, it may take 20-30 minutes. We need a HOT grill.
While your grill is heating, shuck your clams.

Now here is the easy part. Melt your butter. Any butter will do but excellent butter will make for an excellent clam! If you are using unsalted, add a lil salt to taste.

We've got some tasty butter here in the Northeast!

Now hit each clam with a few drops of hot sauce. I like simple with Louisiana-style sauce for mild BBQ clams, good Caribbean style scotch bonnet sauce for hot, and–of course–sriracha for the masses.
A little dab of the hot sauce will do ya. Don't kill the clams!

Next spoon on the melted butter. Be generous. Fill the shells right up.

Now put the clams on the grill carefully. Try not to spill too much butter.

Let the clams grill until they start to simmer right in the shell like this.

When they are sizzling they are done. The clam will turn slightly opaque and that is when you know they are done (don't over cook them). Drizzle on a little more butter, let cool for a minute, and enjoy like Lizzie and I am here!

Oh, by the way, all of that juice that spills in the serving platter? Sop it up! Drink it! You'll thank me later!

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