A big, one-pot lobster bake is on my summer bucket list every year! This year, I got an awesome opportunity to take my one-pot lobster bake on the road and cook and style it up in Maine with my friend @JackieGreaney for the Vineyard Vines Fall catalog. My lobster bake recipe takes inspiration from the tradition and ingredients of a classic New England clambake, but differs a bit in the execution. Instead of digging a big pit in the sand, I layer all the ingredients in a large lobster pot that heats on a propane-fueled heating element and steams all the ingredients in much less time.The process may seem daunting but it’s quite simple with a little bit of prep work, a cooking partner (my husband helps me out with it!) and methodically timing each layer of ingredients that gets added to the pot! One of the things I love about a lobster bake is that it becomes a collective cooking experience. Everyone wants to watch and get involved. We gather around the pot, with potholders on one-hand and cold beers in the other, adding in the next layer of ingredients to steam and infuse the meal with rich seafood flavor. The final unveiling as you pull the steamer basket out of the water is the grand finale!I always get questions about the tools you need to pull this off! The whole meal is cooked together in layers, so I use a 50-quart stainless steel lobster pot with a fitted steamer basket insert. The steamer basket is helpful to remove all the elements from the pot for serving, while preserving the flavorful broth that will result from cooking all the seafood and seasoning together in steam.  Given the scale of the lobster pot, we heat ours outdoors on a propane tripod heating element. You can purchase this outdoor propane cooker set-up online; it is commonly also used as a turkey fryer at the holidays. Check to see that you have a full propane tank before starting the clambake, to ensure you have enough heat to make it through the cooking process!The first layer of the process is a cheesecloth tied bag of seasoning ingredients – the clambake pulls much of its flavor from the briny water that steams up through the shellfish in the pot which is infused with flavors from sea salt, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, lemons, celery, onions, and garlic. White wine and Kielbasa are also added to flavor the broth. Waxy red potatoes, dropped in the steaming basket whole, are the base layer in the clambake because they take the longest to cook. They taste delicious dunked in the resulting clambake broth and warm drawn butter. On top of the potato layer, sweet summer corn on the cob gets added to the pot. Break the cobs in half to get more to fit in the pot and create smaller portions for guests’ plates. Then in goes the main event: fresh New England lobsters! Followed by the final quick-cooking steam clams and mussels that are dropped on top in cheesecloth pouches for easy removal when the steaming is done.Cooking everything in steam ensures a perfectly done lobster, avoiding the watery excess and over-cooking that can often happen when you boil them submerged in water. The corn on the cob also benefits from the steaming process, with juicy bites full of that brined salt-water flavor blending with the sweetness of the kernels. Perhaps the best part of the meal though is the resulting broth from the pot that gets poured over mussels in a big bowl. Once the table is set and the clambake is ready to serve, all you need to do is crack a lobster, pass a claw, clink cans of cold beer, and let the butter and corn juice drip down your arm. Get the full recipe below:

How to Host a One-Pot New England Lobster Bake.
Serves: 6-8 Servings
  • ½ Yellow Onion
  • ½ Lemon, plus more for serving
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 Celery Sticks
  • 2 Tablespoon of Whole Black Peppercorns
  • ¼ Cup of Sea Salt
  • 3 Pounds of Red Potatoes
  • 1 Pound of Sliced Kielbasa
  • 6 Ears of Corn on the Cob, halved
  • 2 Cups of White Wine
  • 6-8 Lobsters (about 1-1.25 pounds each)
  • 1 Pound of Steamer Clams
  • 2 Pounds of Mussels
  • Minced Parsley, for garnish
  • Melted Butter, for serving
  1. Set up your propane-heated burner and bring about 4-inches of water to a boil in the lobster pot and inserting a steamer basket.
  2. Prepare your seasoning pouch by laying out a large square of cheesecloth and placing in the center: one peeled and halved onion, one halved lemon, a head of garlic with the top sliced off, a bay leaf, celery sticks, peppercorns, and sea salt. Tie the opposite corners of the cheesecloth together to create a secure pouch for the seasoning mixture and drop the pouch in the boiling water.
  3. While the water is being infused with your seasoning pouch, clean and prep your mussels and clams. Create two more cheesecloth pouches and place the mussels in one, and the clams in the other. Tie the opposite corners of the cheesecloth together (loosely this time), to create two pouches; set aside.
  4. Add the potatoes into the steamer basket; the potatoes should just be covered with the boiling water. Poke the potatoes after 10 minutes with a long fork to test their doneness. Once the potatoes are about halfway cooked (just barely soft to the touch of the fork), it’s time to add the sliced kielbasa pieces, halved ears of corn, and pour white wine into the broth mixture. Cook for 5-7 additional minutes
  5. Open the pot and add in your lobsters; return the lid to the pot and continue to boil for about 7 minutes.
  6. Add your clam and mussel pouches to the top of the pot and boil for a remaining 5 minutes, until the shells open.
  7. Remove the steamer basket from the lobster pot transfer the clambake into serving dishes. Plate the lobsters, potatoes, corn, kielbasa, and clams together. Use a smaller bowl for the delicate mussels; ladle the broth from the bottom of the pot over the mussels in their serving dish. Discard the seasoning pouch at the bottom of the pot.
  8. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately with warmed butter, lemon wedges, salt and pepper.
  9. *** Tip: Preserve as much of the broth as you can, it has incredible flavor from the seasoning pouch and steam running through all the shellfish and kielbasa. Consider using it as the base for seafood soup or mixed into a shellfish topped risotto