Build a large hot coal bed in your Kamado Joe Classic III Ceramic Grill. Set up the grill for direct grilling, with the grates in the lowest position of the Divide & Conquer system. Leave the air flow wide open.
Place the potatoes, onion and red bell pepper on the grill. Leave the lid open and grill just to char the surfaces of the veggies, then remove from the grill.
Close down the air flow to stabilize the grill temperature around 450ºF. Place a Lodge 5 Quart Dutch Oven in the grill to preheat.
Cook the bacon in the dutch oven. Remove when browned and starting to crisp. Set aside the Pour off all but two tablespoons bacon fat.
While the bacon cooks, dice the grilled veggies.
Add the diced onion and celery to the dutch oven and cook until the onions are translucent and starting to soften. Add the potatoes, red bell pepper, garlic and Cattleman’s Grill California Tri-tip Seasoning. Cook for about one minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
Tie the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme together in a bundle using kitchen twine. Add to the dutch oven. Add the clam juice (from the bottle and drained from canned clams). Add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer.
Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the clams to the soup. Cook another 5 minutes, then remove from the grill. Stir in the cooked bacon. Serve the New England Clam Chowder in a bread bowl.