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Low Country Boil

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You can't call yourself Southern (as in Southern United States) if you haven't eaten from a low country boil! Also known as frogmore stew, this seafood dish from South Carolina's Lowcountry (that's one word) is massively popular for a number of good reasons: it's delicious, it's fun, it makes a huge pile of food, and it's incredibly easy to cook! For many gatherings, the low country boil isn't just a dish – it's part of the party. A typical low country boil is cooked outdoors in a big way, using a huge cooking pot, piles and piles of ingredients, and an open gas flame. However, you can cook this in your kitchen if you have a big enough pot, and you can still have a good time with your family and friends – because this is a tasty dish.

Pans needed: the biggest cooking pot you can get! A 12-quart aluminum stock pot should work nicely.
(These amounts of ingredients are for a low country boil prepared at home, for family and guests. For a typical dinner, you may even want to halve the amounts listed here. Outdoor parties often have huge amounts of these same ingredients, to feed crowds ranging from dozens to hundreds of people!)

Prepare the ingredients by slicing the potatoes in half, for faster cooking. Slice kielbasa into 1 inch pieces. Shuck the corn and break the cobs into halves, or chop them into thirds if you can manage it. The crab does not have to be live. Note that the shrimp used in this dish are still shelled, and need to be opened by hand; if you prefer to eat your shrimp without shelling it, be sure to use prepared or even pre-cooked shrimp.

Fill the stock pot to about 2/3 full with water. (If you're adding beer to the pot, add it at the beginning so that the alcohol will boil out.) Add Old Bay seasoning. Slice the lemon in half, squeeze out the juice, and toss it all into the pot, peel and all. Peel and slice the onion in half, and toss that into the pot. Bring to a roiling boil, then add the potatoes. Boil potatoes for 20 minutes. Add the kielbasa, corn, and crab, and boil for another 15 minutes. Add the shrimp when everything else is almost done, and cook for 5 minutes.

When it's ready to serve, the show starts! With a low country boil you don't just scoop the food into bowls. Rather, the proper method is to drain the water, and dump the entire pot out onto a tabletop covered with newspaper. Be sure to do this in front of an audience, so that they'll get to see how much food spills out from your cornucopia! Everyone will then be able to pick and choose what they want to eat from the pile.

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See also: Low Country Chicken Boil