We’re going to let you in on a little secret. The best way to discover Conde Nast Traveler’s Top Island in the United States is through your taste buds. There’s nothing quite like food to bring people together and share some quality time. One of the most fun and easy ways to bring a little Southern charm to your next get-together is with an authentic Lowcountry seafood boil. This one-pot wonder goes a long way, is simple to prepare, and offers a true taste of South Carolina. Read on to find everything you need to host and prepare your own Lowcountry boil at home.
The ingredients for a seafood boil differ between states and regions, but a classic Lowcountry boil consists of potatoes, corn, shrimp, sausage, and seasonings. You’ll want to pick up a bag of crab boil seasoning, plus some Old Bay. Common additions to the pot are crab, mussels, onions, and beer in the boil water. The key is to add the ingredients in the order of which will take the longest to cook. Start with potatoes, then add the corn, sausage, and throw the shrimp in for the last few minutes.
Sides and Fixin’s
The bounty from your boil should be enough to feed an army—after all it was invented by a National Guardsman to feed 100 soldiers—but if you feel like you need some extra sides, we’ve got some suggestions. Apple slaw adds a fresh, textural component to the meal, and some warm cheddar biscuits or cornbread are sure to satisfy. Don’t forget cocktail sauce, hot sauce, and drawn butter for dipping the shrimp! If you still can’t get enough comfort food, check out our Southern Cuisine Pinterest board.
The top tool you’ll need to pull off your seafood feast is a large stock pot. A 12-quart pot should yield enough Southern goodness to satisfy a party of eight. A draining basket insert will save you from fishing everything out by hand, and allows for a Boomerang-worthy cascade onto the table. You can do the cooking on the stovetop inside, but the real fun lies in cooking outside on a propane burner (if you can). Don’t worry about shelling out big bucks for extra equipment. You can often rent burners from party and event supply stores, so look around before investing in a burner. If you’re cooking outside, make sure you are far enough away from structures!
Set the Table
Things can get a little messy when you dig in, so help keep your guests neat and tidy with bibs, napkins, and bowls to discard leftover shells and corn cobs. Cloth napkins (or even hand towels) are best for sopping up butter and juices. To protect your table, lay down several layers of newspaper or sheets of brown craft paper. When the boil is ready, simply drain and dump everything from the pot onto the covered table; let the deliciousness begin! The best part? Clean up is as simple as gathering it all up in the paper and throwing it in the trash. It’s easy to add a little Southern flair to the table too. Cocktails served in mason jars with paper straws add just the right amount of country chic, and are easy to drink from once you dig in to your delicious feast. Need some libation inspiration? Check out our Happy Hour Pinterest board.
Now that your appetite is in overdrive and your mouth is watering, it’s time to dig in! We’d love to see your take on this Southern classic, so share your Lowcountry boil photos using #LowcountryLife for a chance to see them featured in our gallery.
Visiting Hilton Head Island? Discover the rich flavors of Lowcountry here.