Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (400°F to 475°F). (If using gas, the coals should be covered with white ash, and you should be able to hold your hand just above the grate for no more than 2 to 3 seconds.)
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture reduces by half. Pour in the clam juice, return to a boil, and cook until reduced by about a quarter, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter until melted. Keep warm.
Drain the wood chips. If using a gas grill, add them to a smoker box or on a sheet of aluminum foil set on the cooking grate right above the fire. Add the chips directly to the coals on a charcoal grill. Close the lid and wait for the chips to start smoking, about 10 minutes for a gas grill and 3 to 4 minutes for a charcoal grill.
Once the chips have started smoking, place the clams on the cooking grate, close the lid, and grill until the clams pop open, about 6 minutes. Give any clams that don’t open another 1 to 2 minutes. If they don’t open by then, discard them. Transfer the clams to a large bowl, lifting them off the grill with tongs to keep as much liquid in the shells as possible. Pour the sauce over the clams, and toss well to distribute the sauce. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
nutrition information (per serving):
17, Fat Calories
150, Saturated Fat
15, Monounsaturated Fat
6, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips