For years I have wanted to try and make a Low Country Boil and serve it to a large crowd and preferably at the beach! I was a subscriber to Coastal Living Magazine for years which is where I found the basic recipe that I used to make mine. There I saw and read recipes and stories about Low Country Boils and always wanted to give it a try. I finally got my chance.
Favorite kind of vacation for me….hands down….is to spend a week at the beach. The Outer Banks in North Carolina continues to be one of my favorite spots on the earth. But this year, now that the kids are older and more spread out location wise, I found a place to stay that was easy for everyone to get to and so for the first time we met on the Beautiful Isle of Palms, in South Carolina.
And I had a crowd to feed which made me very happy!
I looked at a lot of recipes and each of them a little bit different from the other. Which made me realize that this too was one of those great recipes that is never the same exact thing twice or that you can easily put your own signature on. It’s one of those ”throw whatever you have on hand into the pot, feed a lot of hungry people, and it’ll all work out just fine” kind of suppers.
This is how I made mine.
Low Country Boil
Equipment and Ingredients:
Very tall pot. A Stock pot works great or even a canning pot would work.
News papers, and lots of paper towels! Forks optional. : ) This is the ultimate finger food kind of dinner.
Water, I filled the stock pot up about 1/3 of the way with water so that I had enough room for all the ingredients.
4 Heaping tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning (add more or less depending on your pot size.) Don’t worry about precise measurements. It’ll all work out I promise!
If you don’t want to be eating at midnight, I suggest you start to boil the water with the Old Bay added to it right away.
Turn your burner on High and put a lid on the pot to bring it all up to a boil. Chop your vegetables and seafood while this is happening.
Red skin potatoes, leave the skins on, cut in large chunks for even and quicker cooking. I figured about 2 potatoes for each man and 1 for each woman. How’s that for science? The potatoes need more time than some of the other ingredients to cook all the way through so add them to the pot first and then cut up the rest of your ingredients.
3 to 4 Onions, cut into large chunks
1 to 2 Green Pepper, cut into large pieces
Corn on the cob. Shucked and each piece broken in half. I figured one ear per person and threw in a couple of extra.
Raw Shrimp, The shrimp still in their shells have more flavor but you can use whatever kind you want. Peeling with your fingers is part of the fun. Just have lots off napkins or paper towels on hand. I used 2 pounds of shrimp and was able to feed 7 people. But I also did not have any other seafood in the pot. Many people like to add crab legs or chunks of fish. The next time I make this I would love to add some mussels.
I did not add my seafood, in my case the shrimp, until the pot was at a full boil. Then I added my shrimp and set the timer for 10 minutes. Perfect. The shrimp were cooked but not over done or tough. They were nice and tender.
3 links of Sausage, cut in small chunks. Any kind. I used beef sausage from Hillshire Farms because it was buy one get 2 free! Buy what you like. Next time I think I’ll try kielbasa. A smoked sausage might be nice in this too.
Butter , melted for dipping the seafood in and makes buttering the corn cobs easier.
Salt and Pepper
Sliced Lemons (optional)
Cocktail Sauce Crosse and Blackwell is my favorite brand.
Old Bay. It’s a classic for a reason. And my favorite cocktail sauce is made by Crosse and Blackwell.
Spread some newspaper several layers thick down the center of your table. I used a large slotted spoon to lift the food out of the broth in the pot and put it in a large bowl. I poured the food down the center of the table. Steaming hot. Be careful. The newspaper absorbs any excess broth and the food is evenly dispersed across the center of the table for a reach in and help yourself meal. Have lots of paper towels or napkins on hand. This is a messy but very fun business. I had to improvise with brown paper Harris Teeter Grocery bags deconstructed with a pair of scissors and the inside of the bags face up with the ink side face down. It worked out just fine.
( I also served up one of those ever so handy frozen Coles’ Garlic Breads that you can find in the frozen bread section. Perfect beach fare although a really great bread would be more than awesome….if you can make it easy on yourself…and you’re on vacation…..do it! )
This was the ultimate in beach food. Feeds a crowd, easy and economical too. I hope to make this meal an annual event!
Sand or no sand.