A seafood boil is a fun reason to gather for an outdoor gathering and ideal reason for a summer time celebration. One of the most memorable of my many lobster boils was one for my TV series wrap party; with the beautiful setting of my neighborhood beach. We brought in propane gas stoves for this clam bake - boiling lobster, clams, mussels, smoked LI Duck, corn and LI Yukon potatoes. One of the challenges was timing the sunset on the beach with the lobsters ready-to-eat. BTW, I wasn’t making it romantic for my crew—we were also taping our seafood boil party for GH Living it UP! TV series.
Here are a few kinds of boils I’ve either been privileged to have attended in my travels or have had the pleasure of creating myself.
New England - lobster steamed with beer, corn, sausage and new potatoes
Montauk - mussels, clams, lobster, stripe bass, duck quarters, LI Yukons, corn
Maryland or Chesapeake - blue crab, oysters and clams with steamed with beer, vinegar, and Old Bay cooked in a steamer basket served with crackers corn and slaw
Cajun & Creole Boil - shrimp, crab, crawfish, andouille sausage or kielbasa, small red new potatoes
Low Country or Frogmore Stew - usually just shrimp with smoked sausage & corn
Texan - crawfish, oysters and good old Texan smoked brisket
Monterey - Dungeness crabs, shrimp and artichokes when in season
Seattle - planked salmon & oysters
Types of seafood commonly used for a boil is typically shellfish with shrimp being the most popular ingredient. Local availability, taste preferences and imagination can rule your boil. You may consider; Dungeness & blue claw crabs, shrimp, oysters, calamari, hard shell & razor clams, mussels, crawfish, Pacific salmon or strip bass for your boil.
Equipment: outdoor propane gas cooker, or large pit with charcoal, a large pot, size depends on amount of seafood and the number of guests. 20 gallon stock pot, or improvise with a NEW 30 gallon galvanized trash pail, large paddle to stir, large wire strainer or skimmer to scoop, tongs, mallets, crackers, picks, picnic tables, No utensils - eat with your hands.
Flavoring ingredients: onions, split heads of garlic, salt, lemons, beer, bay leaves, crab boil seasoning, cayenne pepper, hot sauce
Serve: remove seafood from pot, drain well and dump on picnic tables covered with newspaper, brown paper or butcher paper with bowls of lemon wedges, melted butter, bottles of hot sauce, and good quality breads.
Beverages: Iced tubs of tall necks or keg beer (keep it local to your boil theme), tall necks of root beer, chilled rose, iced tea, lemonade.
Boils are also known as Steams, Bakes Fish Fry, Potluck, Planks or Seafood Barbeque
Seafood Boil Recipe
From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series
To Serve a Seafood Boil:
Add crabs, shrimp and clams.
Add to water, 2 bottles of beer, 1 head fresh chopped garlic and 1/2 cup Old Bay, If you like it spicy add dried hot pepper flakes, or chapped jalapeño.
Add seafood in stages for different cooking times.
Shellfish Cooking Times:
Blue Claw Crabs (cut up)- 5-7 minutes
Shrimp (shell on) 2 minutes
Steamers or Littlenecks- 5-7 minutes
To Boil Lobsters:
- Fill a large pot three-quarters full of cold water and cover.
- A good rule of thumb is to allow 21/2 quarts of water for each lobster. Two or more lobsters will cook in the same time providing the pot is large enough. When in doubt use two pots.
- Bring the water to a rapid boil.
- Lobsters should be alive with the safety bands left on the claws. Drop the live lobsters one at a time head first, let the water boil again and cover the pot. Now you will begin to time the cooking.
- Allow 7 minutes for a one-pound lobster and add one minute for each 4 ounces. A One and a half-pound lobster will cook in 9 minutes.
- Lobsters will turn a bright red when cooked. Remove lobsters from pot with a pair of tongs.
- Allow at least 2, One pound lobsters per person since a 1 pound lobster offers only 4 ounces of meat.
- Serve the sweet boiled shellfish with a dip mixed with olive oil and fresh lemon; don’t forget the oyster crackers.
- For authentic boil, line table with yesterday’s newspaper.
- Offer lemon-water finger bowls for each person.