3 Keys to Preparing a Delicious Lowcountry Boil

Making one of the South’s most revered meals is easy with just a few ingredients and a large steamer pot

Woman holding a bowl of crawfish and corn
The best way to contain the boil ingredients is inside a basket that slides inside a large steamer pot.Sidney Pearce/Unsplash

If you want to feed a pile of family or friends in the quickest and most delicious way possible, it’s hard to beat a Lowcountry boil. This culinary hallmark of the Coastal South is a fast, no-holds-barred feast that anyone can prepare. All it takes is some fresh shrimp or crabs, potatoes, onions, corn on the cob, Old Bay seasoning, Kielbasa sausage, and maybe a touch of vinegar. If you can boil water, the rest is pretty simple. Add roughly cut vegetables, seasoning, a few cloves of garlic, and some lemon wedges. Toss in sausage chunks after about five minutes, then add shrimp at the last minute. Drain completely and spread across a well-lined tabletop to gorge family-style on the goodness of the sea. Here’s what you need for this classic meal.

Proper Cookware

King Kooker boil pots
You can boil a pot on a stove but using a separate burner outside is better.King Kooker

There is nothing delicate about five pounds of shrimp and a sack of potatoes. That means you need a large-capacity pot and strainer, along with a way to get your boil going. A stovetop will work fine, but a set of cookware made specifically for boiling, steaming, and frying atop its own gas burner is better for this style of cooking, which is best prepared outdoors.

Shrimp or Crabs

Concord Cookware stainless steel boiling pot
Don’t be afraid to veer from the common recipe and use other seafood like crab in addition to shrimp.Concord Cookware

Though the classic Lowcountry boil is with shrimp, blue crabs are also a great addition, especially if you have been setting a few pots off the dock during a family vacation. Just remember the crabs will take longer to cook than the shrimp, normally about 10 to 15 minutes. Followed up with shrimp for the final three to five minutes.

Zero Inhibition

Bayou Classic 24-qt Stainless Stockpot
Eating a boil is a messy proposition so be sure to have plenty of napkins or paper towels nearby.Bayou Classic

You can't be shy at a Lowcountry boil. It's a finger-food feast that can be enjoyed right from the tabletop. Forget the silverware. Just supply your guests with a stack of paper plates, a full roll of paper towels, and a selection of cold beverages. Then stand back and enjoy your newfound popularity!