Razor Clamming

Seminar by Fish Alaska’s Marcus Weiner

Razor clamming is a popular activity for families along the West Coast. Not only are razor clams fun to dig, they are also delicious to eat. In this video seminar, we give you the run down on what you need to clam dig, how to find and dig clams, how to clean the clams and some suggestions on how to prepare them. To get into the razor clamming game you will need the following:

  • Clam gun or shovel – we use the Clam Vac clam gun (clamvac.com)
  • Pounding Stick for finding clam shows
  • Clam bag
  • Waders
  • Waterproof gloves

These basic items are all you need to get out and go clamming. One thing that is conveyed in the video is that you should tie a rope to your pounding stick. When you drop your pounding stick so that you can dig a clam out of the sand, incoming waves will wash your stick away from you up the beach. Drill a hole into the top of your pounding stick and attach about a 10-foot loop to the stick. When clamming, attach the loop to your wading belt or somewhere else on your person so that you can drop the stick when needed and it remains close by.

When you return home after harvesting razor clams, the next step is to clean them. There are several ways to do this, and this seminar shows you one way to process clams after a day of razor clamming.

  •   Begin by bringing a pot of water to a boil. We choose to use a high-output burner from Camp Chef (campchef.com) as well as their 42-quart aluminum cooker pot and basket. We fill our pot about 1/3 full.
  •   Add about 15 clams to the basket, drop it in the water and blanche the clams for about five seconds. Move the basket up and down to help agitate the clams during the 5 seconds. Don’t go any longer than 5 seconds, you aren’t trying to cook the clams, just trying to get the shells to open.
  •   Pull the basket out of the boiling water and immediately empty into a container of cold water. We use a Weston 40-pound meat lug as our container to cool the clams.
  •   Let the clams sit in the cold water for 5- to 10 minutes until they are fully cooled.
  • After you have blanched the clams, the next step is to clean them. Here’s a rundown on how to do that.
  •   Choose a pair of scissors that are sharp, comfortable and have about 4-inch blades.
  •   Begin by cutting about 1/2-inch off the clam neck, removing the dark section.
  •   Next, cut along the “zipper”, the frilled outer edge of the clam that looks like a zipper. The goal is to open up the clam flat, so open both neck cavities as you cut up the zipper.
  •   Next step it to cut off the gills, anus and remove any residual waste.
  •   Next, cut around the foot, separating the clam foot from he rest of the clam steak. To do this, you will cut a circle around the foot, cutting the “window pane” portion of the clam.
  •   Place the steak into a bowl and set the foot aside. Continue to clean all your clams, separating the steaks from the feet. We find it’s easier to do this and then clean all the feet last. Place the rough cleaned steaks into a bowl and set aside.
  •   To clean the feet (also known as the digger), start by removing the kidneys. One clean cut across the top of the foot will do that. Butterfly open the foot and remove the clear rod that is digestive enzymes called the “crystalline style.” Scrape out any dark material (algae) and you are done.
  •   Carefully wash the steaks and feet to remove all the sand. Sand is especially fine and requires careful attention to remove, especially in the zipper.

There are many ways to prepare razor clams, and this seminar gives you some ideas on options to consider including:

  •   Breaded and fried clams
  •   Manhattan clam chowder
  •   New England clam chowder
  •   Cioppino
  •   Linguine and white clam sauce

This seminar will give you the complete rundown on how to be effective at razor clamming, how to process your clams and how to cook them.