Sep 15, 2009: How to Clean a Geoduck


Should you find yourself with a fresh geoduck on your hands, here's what to do.

Jim holding geoduck

First, gather your materials:

  • A geoduck
  • A paring knife and cutting board
  • Hot water (we use a tea kettle in this demo)
  • Tongs
  • A bowl of ice water to cool the duck down after you blanch it

Easy Method:

Step 1: Remove rubber band and use tongs to place whole geoduck in boiling water for 10 seconds.

Step 2: Using tongs, remove the geoduck from boiling water and put in ice water bath until cool to touch.

Step 3: Remove shell and innards. Peel off skin. If skin sticks, pour hot water over the sticky spots. Rinse in fresh water.

Step 4: Trim off dark edges, separate siphon from mantle. Cut siphon in two lengthwise and rinse again to remove any lingering phytoplankton. Prepare the siphon for crudo or ceviche, and use the mantle to fry or in chowder.

The method we used growing up:

Step 1: Cut the geoduck out of its shell.

cut the geoduck out of its shell

This is pretty simple, just insert the knife near the hinge, and try to keep the blade knife as close to the shell as possible. (You should hear lots of scraping sounds as you proceed). The clam has two adductor muscles, so there are four spots where the clam is attached to the shell (two per shell). Try to get all the tender meat off of the inside of the shell.

Step 2. Remove the shell and innards. Notice the large round thing in the bottom right of photo below? That's the geoduck's stomach, and if you're so inclined, you can add it to chowder or soup.

At this point, you may make several interesting discoveries in the pile of geoduck guts, such as a skinny, translucent thingbobber or a miniature, moving crab. Ignore them and move on. (The translucent thing is a crystalline style, aka the clams digestive system, and the crab is just a hitchhiker - harmless if a bit unexpected.)

Step 3. Remove the skin. To do this, pour hot water over the geoduck, focusing on areas covered in skin. (Another way to do this is to submerge the geoduck in hot water, however, you also don't want to actually cook the duck so we prefer to use targeted hot water rather than a dunk.)

After blanching the geoduck, the skin should peel off. Like... nylon. You may need to pour more hot water over the sticky spots.

Step 5. Cool down. Everything that remains is edible, and you should dunk it in your bowl of ice water to cool it down. At this point, the clam will keep just fine under refrigeration for a few days - but like any seafood, it's best eaten right away.

Step 6: Enjoy! The neck, or siphon, is delicious sliced very thinly - paper thin - and then eaten as ceviche or crudo. The belly meat, which is more tender, is good fried (usually folks hit it with a meat tenderizer a time or two) or ground up and used in a fritter or chowder. We'll try to post more recipes later!

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  • harriett r vick on

    Whe will you have geoducks - we have been trying to find most of what you have listed for our -ALL THINGS FROM THE OCEAN HAVE VALUE - on our beach here at the Isle OF PALMS —south carolina

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