There are no fixed rules for having a clambake. Small groups of 6 to 8 people can relish a feast of clams, corn, potatoes, onions and lobsters, steamed. Groups of several dozen or more will need a bigger cooking setup, similar to the above-ground "pit". This is particularly true if the group wants a more elaborate meal, including chicken, hotdogs and, perhaps, some local food specialty like conch.
A good cooking site for the above-ground pit would be a graveled backyard space, an empty lot or a beach area, if the owner's permission can be obtained by your club or communitygroup. To make the pit, you'll need 16 cement cinder blocks (or an equal volume of rocks), and a 4 by 8 foot sheet of steel (or a junked car hood with its paint and grease burned off). For holding the food while it cooks, make a bin consisting of a 2 1/5 by 3 1/2 by 1 foot scrap wood frame with a hardware cloth bottom. A 4 by 5 foot canvas tarp, a smaller part of tarp to tuck around the food inside the bin, enough rope to tie the large tarp down over the food bin, a pail for water used to dampen the seaweed and tarp, a kettle for melting butter, containers for containing food, an apron, work gloves (to protect from heat and lobsters), and a pitchfork complete the list of cooking accessories necessary for clambaking. In addition, for each bake, you'll need: about 1/4 cord of dry wood and some newspapers to help start the wood burning; and about 3 bushels of wetted-down seaweed. (Corn husks, long grass, Irish moss, palmetto leaves or other plants can be used alternatively.) You'll also need small cheesecloth bags (available from hardware stores) to hold your clams and the two test potatoes you'll use to show you when the food is ready.
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