Shrimp boils are one of the easiest and tastiest ways to feed a group of people! It’s a fun social meal that cleans up in minutes. I do love an all-around win-win. 😎 When hosting a shrimp boil, the key is to stagger when you add things – timing is everything. Now let’s get into it, shall we?
The pot I use is 122 quarts and will serve up to 50 adults, so get a pot according to what you’ll need. Bayou Classic has some good options and you can find them on Amazon, as well as the burner I use.
To begin, I recommend adding garlic, onion, lemon, and seasonings to flavor the water before putting anything in. This drunkens the boil liquid with flavor and will carry into the rest of the ingredients.
You’ll first add the potatoes since they take the longest to cook. Let those go for about 5 minutes.
You’ll then add the corn, cook another 5 minutes and then add the sausage.
Mushrooms get added right after the sausage, then cook for another 5 minutes before the seafood.
Traditionally this is done with live seafood, but there are much fewer live seafood markets than there are freezer sections of your grocery store, so this version uses frozen shrimp and crab, supplemented with live clams. If opting for live crab/shrimp, they’ll get added about the same time as the sausage and cook a bit longer.
Once the seafood is done cooking, turn off the heat and drop a full bag of ice (or two, depending on the size of your pot) into the water. This will abruptly drop the temperature, so everything stops cooking.
This will also cause the ingredients to suck in flavor from the water. At least that is the theory; either way, the main purpose is to stop the seafood from going rubbery.
Once everything is cooled, drain the food (most seafood boil pots come with a strainer basket for this) and pour it out over a table covered in paper. No plates needed, though sometimes I provide gloves. Hot sauces, ketchup and butter are places around the table. Condiments can be poured right onto the butcher paper (melted butter in ramekins), so afterward all you do is roll the whole thing up and toss it in the garbage. But keep the leftovers, because they make an awesome hash.
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