Old Fashioned MidWestern Clambake

Lou Kostura


I have been making these with my family since as long as I can remember. This is a home version for 12 or so people. When I was growing up my dad and uncle would feed between 100-150 people. In my home version I bag all like ingredients together and just put everything in the middle of the table for folks to go at it. When we used to do the large events, each cheesecloth bag would get 1/2 a chicken, 1 corn, 1sweet potato, and a dozen clams that's what we would call a bake. The broth was served as a drink with dinner and leftover broth was used to make chowder ( red or Manhattan style )

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2 Hr
3 Hr
Stove Top


clams, cleaned and scrubbed littleneck or middleneck
sweet potatoes
corn on the cob
whole chickens cut in half
3 lb
chicken backs and necks
1 lb
butter, unsalted
1 large
celery head chopped in 4 inch pieces
1/4 c
2 Tbsp
black pepper
water to cover
cheese cloth bags


1Scrub clams of all sand using a vegetable brush, even if you are told they are clean from the fish monger they are NOT
2Bag clams in cheese cloth bags and tie, bag corn, sweet potatoes
3Season chicken halfs with salt and pepper and bag in cheesecloth, bag up the backs and necks
4Load all the bags into a very large stockpot ( mine is 28 quart) Add the celery, butter(yes the whole pound), salt and pepper. Place one large sweet potato on top of everything
5Cover and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to simmer. When a fork is easily inserted into large sweet potato on top it done
6Put bags out on table, discard backs and necks, cut open bags and let everyone at it. Serve with additional melted butter and lots of napkins, and a cup of broth.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Chicken, Seafood
Main Ingredient: Seafood
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Heirloom