John Maher: Hey, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here at Woodman’s with Curt Fougere, a fourth‑generation Woodman, and Kristi Swett, a fifth‑generation Woodman. Today, we’re talking about clambake foods. Curt and Kristi, welcome.
Kristi Swett: Hi, John.
Curt Fougere: Hi.
Homemade Vs. Catered Clambakes
John: When we’re talking about clambake foods, could I do a clambake on my own and just cook all the food myself, or should I really hire a specific clambake caterer?
Kristi: That would depend on about how many people you were thinking about cooking for. Most regular homeowners don’t have lots of pots and pans to cook for multiple people. Here in our family, cooking for 20 doesn’t seem like a lot, but some people think cooking for 20 is a full‑day affair.
John: Right. If you’re doing lobsters and clams and things like that, you need pretty big pots for lobsters. A normal pot on your stove might only be able to hold a couple of lobsters, so that’s not going to do it if you have a large group of people coming over.
Kristi: Right, absolutely.
Required Equipment for Clambakes
John: What kind of equipment do you need, speaking of pots and pans and things like that? What is required for a clambake? What kind of equipment?
Curt: The clambake equipment ranges from anywhere from pots for cooking your clam chowder in, a pot for cooking steamers in, which would be steamed clams, pots for cooking mussels in. A lot of the menus have a combination of steamed clams and mussels.
Then, you’re going to need a lobster pot and any type of barbecue, a grill that would handle any type of steak or chicken or rib type of combination, grilled vegetables. It can vary into numerous amounts of equipment. You’re also going to need a propane burner for cooking and tables for serving.
There’s a lot of equipment that goes into holding the food, cooking the food, and presenting the food in the proper way.
John: Is there a specific time of the year that you’d recommend doing a clambake? I know we always think of it as being a summer thing, but is that the best season?
Curt: Most of the clambakes are done during the summertime. We do a lot of catering events for rehearsal dinners for the spring and throughout the summer and into the fall. We do a lot of wedding events throughout the summer.
Usually, the clambake wedding tends to be a summer event more because your chances of getting good weather are better in the summertime than the spring and the fall. Any time of year is a good time to do a clambake. We do them in the wintertime. We can certainly do small events in somebody’s home for up to 20 people, whatever size your home can hold.
We can do bigger events in functional halls up to 200, 300 people.
Foods in a Clambake
John: Kristi, are lobsters typically part of a clambake? I know it’s called a “clambake” and not a “lobsterbake,” but are lobsters typically a part of it?
Kristi: I would say definitely. Most people, it’s come to be a norm that if you think of a clambake, lobsters are associated with it. Some people ask for clambakes without even clams on them. It’s just a standard summer, outside menu.
John: It could be a clambake and just have lobsters and maybe some clam chowder or something like that, but typically lobsters are always part of it?
Kristi: Right, absolutely.
John: Are there different types of clams and mussels, when you do have clams on the menu, that are cooked in a clambake?
Curt: We have various types of clams that we can use. The most common is a soft‑shell clam, which would be a steamer. You can steam littlenecks. Some people like those instead of a clam. It’s more of a meatier clam and less of a belly on the clam.
Then, we also do fried clams, which is a great way to present a clam in a clambake. We bring our own fryolaters. We fry them fresh, right on the spot. It’s a great way to present the clams in different manners besides steamers.
We also do a raw bar where you can have littlenecks or quahogs on the menu, which would be in a raw state, also.
John: Oysters and things like that?
Curt: Oysters, yeah, clams, shrimp cocktail. Anything like that we can do in the sense of a raw bar.
John: Besides lobsters and clams, and I think you mentioned a couple of those just now, what other types of foods are typically served at a clambake?
Kristi: Usually, clam chowder, corn on the cob, coleslaw are very popular items. Now, everyone’s creating their own menu and really looking at guest allergies or food sensitivities. We can sometimes do a potato salad, a pasta salad.
Always some type of non‑seafood item is definitely recommended, especially when you’re getting into higher numbers of guests. The possibility of people not eating seafood gets greater.
John: Kristi and Curt, thanks very much for speaking with me today.
Kristi: Thank you, John.
Curt: Thank you.
John: For more information about catering, visit the Woodman’s website at woodmans.com or call (978) 768‑2559.