Tuesday, May 31, 2011
LOW COUNTRY BOIL
Towards the end of May, in the Midwest it is the official start of BBQ season. Once the twigs, leaves and branches are cleaned up, and the lawn is mowed, it's time to bring out the BBQ grills, the lawn furniture and give them a good cleaning. Once all of that is done the fun part begins. What to put on that grill? I am fortunate to have a gas grill and a Weber charcoal kettle, and if needed a propane turkey fryer. I prefer using the Weber charcoal grill because I learned to cook on one. The gas grill is simply an extension of the kitchen oven. The backyard barbecue is where I can hold my own with the best of them.
Always on the lookout for something new, or in this case retro, the Low Country Boil was something that I heard about for many years but never tried before. The Low Country Boil is a one pot meal that can feed a few, or a crowd if needed. Having a large propane turkey fryer on hand makes this a quick, and easy, no-brainer for feeding a large group of people. My brother Bob, who lives in the Memphis area suggested that I try his version of this recipe. this recipe.
The true origin of the Low Country Boil, like many recipes is often contested. The low country includes the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The ingredients are simple and generally include a 3 oz. box of Crab Boil seasoning (Old Bay or Zararains), 1 pound smoked sausages cut into 1-2” pieces, corn on the cobb 4 ears broken in half and finally ¾ pound jumbo shrimp that has been deveined and left in the shell. Then there are many recipes where baby red potatoes (8) are added to the mix.
I decided to make it for Memorial Day. When I mentioned what this was to my siblings, it was not well received. We were going to my sister and brother-in-law's house for BBQ chicken and country ribs. If it's BBQ I'm down with it, anywhere, anytime. I decided to make the Low Country Boil the day before the holiday for my wife and I. Of course it rained all day so we were forced to take it indoors and cook on the stove. I went to the store and purchased corn on the cobb, jumbo shrimp deveined and in the shell and baby new potatoes. Since I love the taste of fresh Andouille sausage, I substituted these for the smoked sausage. That meant that I had to cook the sausages first.
Bother Bob said to go to the grocery store and ask for the cardboard trays that 24 can beer or soda come in. Line them with aluminum foil and finally newspapers. These prepared boxes are actually your individual serving trays.
The next step in to get your water going. The best way to determine how much water you will need is to put all of your prepared ingredients into the pot that you will be cooking in. We used our 8 quart steamer with a basket. Fill the pot with water so that your ingredients are covered. Remove the ingredients and drain them back into the pot and set to the side until needed. To the water add the salt. Bring the salted water to a boil.
Add the crab boil spice packet to the boiling water (leave the spices in the packet), followed by the washed and scrubbed new potatoes. If the potatoes are large cut them into quarters. Cover the pot and when the water returns to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Next add the sausages cut into pieces. Cook for an additional 10 minutes and then add the corn on the cob that have been cut in half and allowed to return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 more minutes.Turn off the heat and add the shrimp. Cover the pot and wait 10 more minutes. Have a serving box, or multiple boxes lined with foil and newspaper, or parchment paper ready. Drain and dump the potatoes, corn, sausages and shrimp into the prepared boxes and enjoy. Season to taste.For condiments have salt, pepper, butter for the corn, and cocktail sauce for the shrimp on hand.
One final note: The next time I make this, finances permitting, I just might throw in a couple of king crab legs and a 5-6oz lobster tail or two. This one pot meal could even be done in a crock pot if you want.