Often considered to be an activity at the seashore, clambakes are events that may be picnics or evening parties where clams and a variety of other foods are steam-baked. Although a clambake can occur inside with the use of stovetop burners and a pot of steaming water or outside with the use of a gas or charcoal grill, the traditional clambake will typically use hard or soft-shelled clams that are steamed over heated rocks in an open pit. For the traditional clambake, a pit is dug in which rocks are placed among large, split pieces of wood that is set ablaze to heat the rocks. The fire is often allowed to burn for several hours in order to heat the rocks to a temperature that will allow the clams to be adequately steamed. After several hours of burning, the fire burns down to a smolder and the ashes are pushed aside while the rocks are raked together into a pile. Moist seaweed is then placed over the steaming rocks while the clams are placed in containers/pans with open-grilled bottoms that are set on top of the rocks. The pans are covered with lids or canvas and the steam pressure cooks the clams for about an hour. In addition to clams, it is common to prepare any type of food desired for the event such as corn on the cob, potatoes, shellfish, and a variety of other foods if desired, such as sausage or eggs.
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