Lowcountry Boil

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Heather says:

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.




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16 thoughts on “Lowcountry Boil”

  1. We had a large family gathering last Saturday and chose to serve this. It was delicious and fun, but the surprise of the meal come on Tuesday night when we had a couple of friends over for steak. We took great care with the meat and vegetables, but did not consider our starch side until it was almost too late. We grabbed the leftover potatoes from the Beaufort Stew and mashed them into creamy, delicious, spicy wonderfulness! The kick from the seasonings and the lingering flavors from the sausage and shrimp made them so wonderful!

  2. Thanks for this! I'm from Louisiana, and this is just how we'd do a traditional crawfish boil in the yard (except for the sausage). Crawfish are harder to come by where I live now. I don't know why it never occurred to me to cook shrimp this way!

  3. I've never heard of or had this. I'm not sure if it sounds good, or not…maybe the spices make it good. There's just something about a bunch of things all boiled together. Then again, spreading it out on the picnic table and having it with cold beer sounds good on a hot day, even though I don't like beer much. It's like cold fried chicken and beer, it just goes together. I'll keep this one and try it this summer maybe. Thanks!

  4. One suggestion: (here comes the bickering Heather talked about)

    If you're going to leave the shrimp in there for three whole minutes, remove the pot from the heat before you add them. A shrimp cooked is 90 seconds is perfect. A shrimp cooked 91 seconds is over cooked. Shrimp should "pop" when you bite into them.

  5. This looks really good. I've been cooking more lately and may have to give this one the ol' college try. But you only boil the potatoes for 18 minutes in all? I guess that would be enough time if the big potatoes are quartered…

  6. What size pot do you use for this recipe? Regular size Dutch oven, or something bigger (like a stockpot)? Thanks for sharing. Lowcountry Boil is a big warm weather favorite at our church!

    Jill in Alabama

  7. I love shrimp recipes, the taste with every ingredients is diiferent, but i never see this recipe before so i will try .
    My recent post My New Orleans- The Cookbook

  8. Hey there! I was wondering how many people this feeds? A regular family size? How many times would you multiply for a party of 20? Hosting on Friday, so help!?! Haha I’m a Carolina girl, so I’m used to “pig pickins” but it’s a low country boil birthday party for my SOUTH Carolina husband. I’m in charge of grocery shopping and he’s in charge of making it happen!
    Thanks so much!


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