Lowcountry Boil


  • 2 gallons water
  • 12 – 12 ounce cans beer
  • 4 sweet onions
  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 4 leeks
  • 3 lemons, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 5 pounds red potatoes
  • 5 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 2- inch pieces
  • 12 ears fresh corn, cut in half
  • 6 pounds peeled, tail-on shrimp*

*About the shrimp…if you have fresh shrimp, of course you’ll want to use that–ideally it was swimming this morning. Then you’ll need someone handy to do the peeling and deveining. Sugar is a pro at this. I do not particularly enjoy peeling and deveining, nor do I relish eating them un-deveined. But, to each his own. Traditionalists will likely want to use shrimp in the shell and let folks peel and eat.

If fresh shrimp is not in season or otherwise not available, we use Costco frozen tail-on, peeled, deveined, but I know some prefer Trader Joe’s. If you use frozen shrimp, make sure you prepare it for the pot by thawing it overnight in the refrigerator. About an hour before you’re going to cook it, dry brine the shrimp with a mixture of 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per pound of shrimp. This makes them plump up.

Now…I purely do not like over-cooked shrimp, and you can bet your mamma’s pearls there will be dissension over whether the shrimp is done or not. By the time everyone has finished squabbling, the shrimp will be over-cooked and therefore chewy if you’re not careful. Make sure you have a steady hand on the pot. The minute they turn pink, for Heaven’s sake, get them out.


  1. Put the water and beer in the pot.
  2. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, and lemons, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
  3. Add kosher salt and Old Bay and return to boil.
  4. Add the potatoes and Andouille and cook 20 minutes. Make sure potatoes are done. If necessary, cook a little longer.
  5. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes.
  6. Add shrimp. Cook about three minutes, just until they turn pink. Do not over-cook the shrimp.
  7. Dump basket contents onto butcher paper or scoop into serving bowls.

I like to serve Lowcountry Boil with lemon wedges, melted butter mixed with lemon, cocktail sauce, extra Old Bay, softened butter for the corn, and salt and pepper on the side.

You’ll need two rolls of paper towels per picnic table—this is messy, especially if you used unpeeled shrimp like most folks do.

Of course you’ll need cold beer with this, even if you’re a wine lover like me. I throw in some crusty garlic bread, and of course, homemade key lime pie for dessert. Or, if the night is chilly and you do have that fire going, s’mores make a great dessert.