Because they use modernist ingredients, these amounts for this component are given in metric by weight. Learn more about how to measure modernist ingredients in this article.
230g bacon, cut into batons
Place the bacon in a pot over medium heat and cook until the fat is reduced and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot, reserving it for later, and pour out all but a tablespoon or two of fat.
Add the onion, carrots, and garlic to the pot then cook for 5 minutes until just turning translucent. Add one quarter of the bacon back into the pot and reserve the rest for a garnish. Add the whole milk, clam juice, and iota and kappa carrageenan and puree well. Bring to a boil then pour into a mold where it has a depth of 0.75" to 1" (19mm to 25mm) and let set.
Cut the chowder base into 0.75" to 1" (19mm to 25mm) cubes. They will last in the refrigerator for several days.
Cut the sourdough bread into croutons 1" (25mm) wide and 0.5" (12mm) tall. Lightly toss them with oil and then bake at 400°F (200°C) until just browned on all sides. Remove from the heat.
Cook the clams enough for their shells to open. This can be done by grilling them or steaming them in a lidded pan for several minutes. Once opened, let them cool slightly then scrape the clam meat out of the shells and place in a bowl. The clams can be stored like this in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
You will want to smoke the clams just before serving them so they retain their flavor. Place all of the clam meat in a gallon Ziploc bag. Close the bag except for a 1" section. Take a smoking gun and when it is ready place the hose into the Ziploc bag and fill it with smoke. Seal the bag and shake gently to spread out the clams. Let the clams smoke for about five minutes.
If you have a traditional smoker, you can also briefly smoke the clams in it instead of using a smoking gun.
Place a sourdough crouton on a serving dish and top with a cube of the chowder base. The dish can be served hot or cold. If serving hot, at this point you can heat the dish in an oven on low as long as the temperature of the chowder cube stays below 100°F (37°C).
Add a smoked clam to the top of the chowder base, add a bacon baton, and top with some chives.