Making Low Country Boil is a time-honored tradition in the South. Remember how leery I was when I posted my recipe for fried chicken? Lowcountry boil* is another traditional recipe where people will bicker over the right way to get things done. What I’m sharing below is a framework; how you change the ingredients to fit your taste will depend on the tradition you are following or creating.
*notice that sometimes there is a space and sometimes there isn’t, that’s a whole other debate. I tend to stick to Lowcountry, but other people have strong opinions on the matter.
This recipe for Lowcountry boil can be multiplied to feed a crowd. The proportions are for 4lbs medium to large headless, deveined shrimp.
It’s a casual dinner, meant to be enjoyed with cold beer, lots of napkins, talk about the heat, and good friends.
Lowcountry Boil is a one-pot wonder. The sausage, potatoes (and onions, if you’d like) are tossed in first, then comes the sweet corn, and finally, at just the last minute the shrimp join in the fun. Never forget, overcooked shrimp are rubber shrimp; as soon as they are cooked through, it’s time to lift the basket or strain the contents. I’m not cool enough to have a basket insert. Large batches can be prepared outdoors in a turkey fryer, with the exact same timeline.
If you have a picnic table, cover it with newspaper or butcher’s paper, dump out the spread and everyone can pick at the Lowcountry boil to their hearts’ content. Having to peel the shrimp slows people down enough to enjoy the meal and complain about the heat and bugs. It’s a bonding experience.
Lacking a picnic table, we chose to eat indoors, but enjoyed it all the same.
Recipe for Lowcountry Boil
- 2 lbs smoked or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (We prefer smoked, sorry Mom)
- 3 lbs new or Yukon Gold potatoes – If they are large, quarter them
- Optional 1 – 2 onions, paper removed and quartered
- 6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed, broken or cut in half
- 4 lbs medium shrimp, headless and deveined
- Crab Boil (love me some Zatarains) or Old Bay Seasoning (I cheat on Zatarains w/ Old Bay) – to taste, somewhere between 2 tsp per quart of water – 1 TBSP per quart
- 3 – 4 whole cloves (not heads) of garlic
Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat and add the crab boil or Old Bay.
While waiting for the water to boil, beware of sneak thieves, they will lurk about.
When the water boils add the potatoes, garlic, optional onions, and sausage. You can reduce the heat a little, but keep it boiling. After 10 minutes add the corn.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, turn off the heat, and cook for 3 minutes.