Garbage Can Clambake

4.50 avg. rating (88% score) - 8 votes

Garbage Can Clambake

You don’t have to live on the coast to enjoy a good old-fashioned New England clambake. All you need is a garbage can that is not galvanized.


The ultimate in "garbage can" clambakes, for those with a Paul Bunyan appetite, is lobster, sweet and/or Irish potatoes, hot dogs, eggs, corn on the cob, and clams.

In the bottom of the can put a limited amount of water depending on the amount of food and seaweed to be added above, usually 2 to 3 inches. Add 1 cup vinegar and several tablespoons of salt.

Next, place a 2-inch cake rack in the can, covered well with seaweed. This keeps the lobsters out of the water. Place the can over a robust fire to bring the water to a boil. Put the lobsters in, back side up, then alternate thin layers of seaweed with potatoes, hot dogs, eggs, corn, and finally clams. Cover tightly.

(The potatoes, hot dogs, eggs, and corn can be wrapped loosely in cheesecloth to make them easier to remove after cooking.) You can also use a wire basket made for the clams, which gives them freedom to open and lets you see more readily when they are open, which is your signal that the bake is done.

Cooking time varies, depending on the amount of food and seaweed, from 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the clams open. Never pack the can so tightly with food and seaweed that you prevent the steam from permeating all layers. Be sure to maintain a healthy fire.

Additional Notes:

Note: As seaweed is not too easy to come by, the bake can be done with only the bottom layer.
  • Plan ahead for the seaweed. Don’t won’t worry if the trash can is not totally water tight the heat will expand the metal. Make sure you have a good fire going and leave room under the can for fire to breathe, it will really get the water boiling.

  • Reverend

    I have been doing this Clambake for years. It is truly a great recipe. Fortunately, I live near the ocean (Hampton Beach, NH) and have access to Rock Weed which is great for the can recipe.
    The hot dogs on top of the seafood array are fabulous and everyone grabs a couple to eat without a bun. I use the red potatoes and the leftovers are great the next day for home fries for breakfast.

  • Anonymous

    I get my seaweed frozen from a local seafood market because I live nowhere near the ocean. I served this to friends who came to my house for a birthday pool party and it went over VERY well!! Everyone kept eating til it was all devoured! Thanks Yankee Mag for the fabulous recipe!!!


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