Summer supper on the grill

Looking for an easy and elegant dinner idea? Try beer-steamed mussels on the grill


Photo: Mari Svenningsen / MatPrat
Want an elegant summer meal that is ready in minutes? Mussels steamed in a foil pouch with herbs, aromatics, beer, and butter on the grill for an easy appetizer or main dish.

Taste of Norway Editor

Bivalves, bivalves! I have yet to meet one I don’t love, from oysters to clams and mussels. 

With their briny sweetness and blue heart-shaped shells, Mussels are a favorite of mine. Some of the best ones found in the United States are grown just a short ferry ride away from my home north of Seattle.

Mussels are abundant in Norway, too, where they are called blåskjell. Mussels can be harvested in the wild and are also cultivated in selected fjords along the Norwegian coastline. Mussels are one of the more environmentally friendly farmed seafood, since they live on phytoplankton and other organic particles found in the sea and function as a natural water filter.

Mussels can be prepared with many flavor profiles. Here, I opted for fresh herbs, garlic, and butter, along with a splash of beer to steam them to perfection. The resulting broth is divine, perfect for dipping bread into or even poured into a mug to sip on after the mussels are gone (as my enthusiastic taste tester did).

I usually make mussels on the stove but making them in a foil pouch on the grill was even easier, with very little cleanup required. In my research, I read about putting the foil pouch directly on the coals of a campfire. I didn’t test this myself, but if you do, I’d love to hear from you!

What recipes or food-makers would you like to see featured in the Taste of Norway section? I’d love to hear your ideas! Write to me at

Øl-dampede blåskjell på grillen (Beer-steamed mussels on the grill)

By Christy Olsen Field

Serves 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as a main course

2 lbs. fresh mussels

¼ cup beer of your choice (I used Figurehead Brewing’s Juicy Norwegian IPA, but use your favorite craft brew!)

1 cup soft herbs (such as flat leaf parsley, dill, chives, tarragon), plus 2 tbsps. chopped parsley for garnish

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 lemon, sliced into rounds

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tbsp. butter

To serve: Good bread

In a colander, thoroughly rinse the mussels in cold water. Discard any mussels with broken shells. Debeard the mussels by giving a firm tug on the hairy part. (If you aren’t able to or don’t see one, it’s fine.)

Next, prepare the foil packets. Take two pieces of foil, about 2 feet long each, and lay flat. Fold up the long sides to create the sides of the packet. Place half of the herbs (no need to chop) in each packet, followed by shallot, lemon, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using. Divide the mussels between two packets. Dot with the butter, and pour in the beer. Fold the foil and pinch firmly to create a seal, so the mussels can steam properly. Use an extra piece of foil if needed.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Open the pouch slightly, and see if the shells have opened. If not, keep on the grill for another minute or two. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute. Throw away any shells that did not open.

Garnish with 2 tbsps. chopped parsley (if desired), and serve with good bread for mopping up the broth. Enjoy with a pint of your favorite brew!

This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field was the Taste of Norway Editor from 2019 to 2022. She worked on the editorial staff of The Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons.