Monday, August 3, 2015

Seafood or Low Country Boil

With family visiting in the summer, there is no better time for a "Low country" boil. The "Low country" stretches along the coast from the Savannah river in Georgia north to Pawley's island in South Carolina.

Julian's Low Country Seafood Boil
However, this style of cooking seafood has become popular all along the southern shores of the United States, and has made its way inland as well. This one-pot seafood meal is also known by other names such as a Frogmore or Beaufort stew.

I make this summer delight using any good, readily available seafood from shrimp to crabs and everything in between. The standard ingredients include red-skin potatoes, corn and Andouille sausage. And it wouldn't taste right without a large dose of Old Bay brand seasoning. But feel free to substitute on any of these based on your availability and taste.

Specialty Pot with Basket Insert

I use a 30 quart pot that was sold as a Turkey Deep Fryer, which hooks up to a tank of propane gas and can deliver a high volume of heat quickly. You can do this on the cook top, but it will take longer and a very large pot on your cooktop cooked over high heat can cause surface damage. So it's best if you procure one of these pots made especially for this type of task and do the cooking outside. In the USA these are largely available in most hardware stores and sometimes COSTCO and Sams Clubs as a single kit with the burner and pot. Other places sell the pieces separately but as in all things, having the right tool for the job is important for success.

Ingredients (feeds 8-10)

1 large Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup Old Bay brand seasoning
10-15 small red skinned potatoes
8-10 ears of corn, shucked, cleaned and cut in half
2-3 pounds Andouille or favorite spicy sausage
5-8 pounds mussels and/or clams
1 pound raw shrimp, preferably in the shell
1 cup melted butter
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, lightly chopped


Fill the pot as noted on the vessel with cold water where indicated as 'maximum fill line'. Insert the basket and light the burner on high heat but not so that the flames are going up the sides of the pot. The flame should remain only on the bottom of the pot.

Add the cleaned onion and the Old Bay brand seasoning. Bring the pot of seasoned water to a heavy rolling boil. Add washed whole small red potatoes that have been pierced with a fork and Andouille sausage which has been cut into halves or bite sized pieces. Cook on the boil for about 20 minutes.

Add the corn and cook another 5 minutes. Then add the seafood. Clams and mussels take about 10 minutes total. Remove when they open. If using the raw shrimp, add them last as they only take 3-4 minutes maximum. They are done when they are pink. Don't overcook the seafood or it will be tough. Turn off the burner and using heat and water proof mitts/gloves, lift the strainer from the pot by the handle and hold above the pot to drain. Transfer the contents onto a very large platter or two platters. Take great care as the contents are very hot.

Pour the melted butter over the mixture and sprinkle with the freshly chopped cilantro. Place in the center of the table and let everyone dig in. (In the south they often just put newspapers down on the table and pour the mixture right on the paper and everyone eats without dishware. This is perhaps good for a seaside boil, but not for my dinner table.) Serve with my Cheddar Bay Biscuits.


  1. It looks delicious! What a fun evening to be eating that yummy food out in your yard.

  2. Normally, in the summer we have dinner on the patio 3-4 times per week. I do so love cooking and eating outside. This summer has been cool, but we have managed a few outdoor dining experiences. I love to have long (3-5 hour) dinner parties with courses coming slowly, one after the other, lots of good conversation and good food/wine. I can't think of a better way to spend time... perhaps I got that from your Grandpa (my Uncle Carl) who was famous for his big dinners which I also enjoyed as a kid.