Fall is a Great Time for a Lowcountry Boil
Susan M. Boyer’s Lowcountry Boil is the first in a delicious new mystery series featuring private eye and modern Southern Belle Liz Talbot. When Liz’s beloved grandmother is murdered, she hightails it back to South Carolina to find the killer – and things get even more complicated when her long dead best friend pops up. Liz took a break from detecting to pop by Shelf Pleasure and share her recipe for a true Lowcountry Boil.
Hey y’all, Liz Talbot here. I can’t believe Halloween has come and gone. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve stashed some chocolate away for emergencies. Before we go straight into talking turkey and put up the Christmas lights, I’m in the mood for a Lowcountry Boil. Lowcountry Boil is not just a dish—it’s an event. And fall is the perfect time for one.
First thing—invite everyone. It’s more fun with a crowd. Get out the tiki torches and string some lights in the backyard. Set up a few picnic tables and
get a fire pit ready in case the evening gets chilly. Lots of folks spread newspaper on the picnic tables, and that’s fine. But if you’re a little bit of a germophobe like me, you might want to put tablecloths down and get out the big, bright-colored bowls for serving.
You can buy a lobster pot if you want to, but we use the turkey fryer. In any case, you’ll need a 30-32 quart pot, and it’s best if it has a strainer basket insert. This recipe makes enough for 18-20 people. Adjust accordingly.
6 lemons, halved
½ can (4 ozs) Old Bay Seasoning (more or less to taste—this is spicy, but not too hot)
1 lb. butter
6 sweet onions, peeled and quartered
5 lbs. red potatoes, halved
10 ears corn on the cob, shucked, cleaned, and halved
4 lbs. Andouille sausage, cut into chunks
3 lbs. crab legs (optional)
6 lbs. shrimp
(Note: This is near heresy where I’m from, you understand, but I use the large, pre-cooked, frozen, peeled, and deveined shrimp. I do this because I purely do not like over-cooked shrimp, and you can bet your mammas 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 are a traditionalist, use fresh, unpeeled shrimp. But the minute they turn pink, for Heaven’s sake, get them out of the pot. Another reason I use the pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp is that I do not particularly enjoy peeling and deveining. Nor do I relish eating them un-deveined. But, to each his own.)
Step One: Put the liquid in the pot and get it hot
Notice I didn’t say how much water or beer. This is because there are different schools of thought here. Some folks use only water. Some folks use only beer. I use half and half. Fill the pot half way with a mixture of water and/or and beer. Put it on the propane and heat it up.
Step Two: Embellish the liquid
Add the lemons, onion, butter, and Old Bay, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
Step Three: Add food in sequence
- Add the potatoes and cook 15 minutes.
- Add the Andouille and cook 5 more minutes.
- Add the corn and cook 10 more minutes.
- Add shrimp (and crab legs if desired)
- If you used the ready-to-eat kind, add the shrimp, stir twice, and lift the basket. Just get them warm.
- If you are using the unpeeled, uncooked kind, cook two minutes
- Either way, do not over-cook the shrimp
Step 4: Raise the basket and serve
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.
If y’all try this, let me know how you like it!
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.
We’re thrilled to announce that we have two copies of Lowcountry Boil to give away to Shelf Pleasure readers. Please share your thoughts about the book, Liz, or the recipe in the comments. We’ll choose two lucky readers randomly to send the books to!
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