Low Country Boils have played a huge part in so many of my family’s greatest memories and favorite celebrations. Low Country Boil, also known as, Frogmore Stew (although frogless and not a stew), Louisiana Seafood Boil, and Tidewater Boil is basically a one-pot feast made from heaven.
The Low Country Boil many say originated in South Carolina, but the origins really are unknown and up for debate. Beaufort, South Carolina accredits the dish to local shrimpers, who created a substantial meal with whatever ingredients they could catch – especially an abundance of shrimp, craw fish and blue crabs.
Having grandparents who lived in Wilmington, North Carolina and growing up on the East Coast of Virginia, allowed me to start eating seafood at a very early age. Growing up our summer fare included shrimp fresh off the dock and blue crabs by the dozen. One of my favorite summer activities as a child was taking string, chicken necks, and a net with my brother, sister and mom to Buckroe Beach or Grandview Beach (or any pier we could find). We would catch blue crabs fresh out of the ocean and eat them for dinner that evening. When you grow up with very little money you learn to eat what is available to you from the sea.
The Low Country Boil traditionally includes shellfish, potatoes, corn, garlic, onions, lemons, slices of sausage (like andouille or kielbasa) and an array of spices, all tossed in a very large pot and boiled. We like to cook our boil outside using a outdoor propane steamer/fryer. Once the boil is finished cooking, it is drained, dumped onto a newspaper-topped table and eaten by hand with a bowl of garlic butter on the side.
Ever since my girls were small and as recent as this past Sunday, a Low Country Boil is the one meal celebrations that takes us back to the ocean and is an all over family favorite. Now that we live in North Carolina our Low Country Boil typically consists of shrimp but whenever we can we add blue crabs. My daughter, Holly, recently had a birthday celebration and I loved seeing her friends in their Sunday best with their sleeves rolled up digging into their food with full on gusto. One thing for sure, an authentic Low Country Boil is a wonderful one-pot crowd pleaser and will take your guests to Georgia, South Carolina or Louisiana for the evening!
Low Country BoilCourse: Recipes, Seafood, Low Country Boil, Frogmore StewCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
3 lemons, quartered
4 garlic bulbs, cut in half (I just leave skin on)
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup crab and shrimp boil seasoning, such as Old Bay, plus more
2 (3-ounce) bags Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil (or other crab boil)
One bottle of Zatarain’s Liquid Crab and Shrimp Boil Concentrate
2 Zatarain’s Crab Boil bags (There are six crab boil bags in the link provided). You can also find many of Zatarain’s products in your local supermarket.
4 pounds small new potatoes (If you can’t find small then cut regular potatoes in quarters
4 pounds smoked pork sausage (such as kielbasa, cut into 2 inch pieces)
3 sweet or yellow onions, quartered (I also leave skin on the onions)
12 ears of corn, shucked, cut in half
8 pounds fresh large shrimp, unpeeled (If the heads are on the shrimp than you will need 9 pounds of fresh large shrimp
- Bring a large stockpot (at least 12 quarts) with 6 quarts of water to a simmer. We like to cook our low country boil outside using a outdoor propane cooker such as the King Kooker. (insert amazon link for king cooker with two pots).
- Add the Zatarain’s crab boil bags, ½ cup of Old Bay Seasoning and Louisiana crab boil into pot
- Add potatoes, sausage, garlic, onions, lemons, salt, and peppercorns, bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add corn, return to a boil, and cook until corn is cooked, and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes more.
- Add shrimp and cook (no need to return to a boil), stirring gently, until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.
- This is when I clear the table off and cover it with newspaper, lots of paper towels and small bowls for butter.
- Drain the liquid out of the pot and spread it out on the table. Sometimes I will put large cookie sheets in the middle of the table on the newspaper and spread the boil on the cookie sheets.
- Melt two sticks of butter with one teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning. I also like to take some of the cooked garlic from the boil and smash it into the butter. Whisk the butter and pour it in serving bowls.