The South Carolina Lowcountry
In my blog, I talk about the South Carolina Lowcountry a lot, and sometimes I post recipes, like Lowcountry Boil, that are indigenous to our area. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of shrimp, sausage, and corn, let me first explain the word “Lowcountry.” According to Outside Hilton Head:
The Lowcountry (also known as the Low Country) is an area along the South Carolina coast that has a culture, geography, architecture, economy and even cuisine of their own. Its unique climate, landscape, and slow, Southern pace of life is appealing to many, making it a favorite place to live and also wildly popular with tourists from all over the world. With visions of shrimp boats, palmetto trees, big front porches with rocking chairs and pitchers of sweet tea; what’s not to love about the SC Lowcountry?!
The term “Low Country” was originally coined to include all of the state below the Fall Line, or the Sandhills (the ancient sea coast) which run the width of the state from Aiken County to Chesterfield County. The area above the Sandhills was known as the Up Country and the area below was known as the Low Country. These areas are not only different in geology and geography, but also have distinct cultural differences as well.
There are several variations on the exact geographic extent of the Lowcountry area. The most commonly accepted definition includes the counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper. A larger geographic definition for Lowcountry often includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.
The History of Lowcountry Boil
Lowcountry Boil was originally called Beaufort Stew, or more commonly, Frogmore Stew. Frogmore is a small community on St. Helena Island, just a few miles from my house. Some people think the the name Frogmore sounds hickish, or derogatory. I don’t think it sounds hickish, but who am I? I never heard Frogmore Stew referred to as Lowcountry Boil until a few cooks from the Food Network (and recipes the internet) began to refer to it that way. Although the name Lowcountry Boil is not original, it is a little more explanatory than the name Frogmore Stew in regards to the dish. Maybe it should be called Lowcountry Shrimp Boil, if we’re gonna split hairs.
Cooking Lowcountry Boil the Right Way
In my humble opinion, there are a few things you need to do in regards to cooking Frogmore Stew. First of all, you need a tall, silver pot with a flat-handled lid. The process doesn’t look right otherwise. Secondly, you need Old Bay Seasoning. No other crab-boil type seasoning will do. I made it with Louisiana (Zatarain’s) crab boil seasoning one time, and it was way too hot. Third, you need small, red potatoes-not yellow ones, or any other kind. Fourth, make sure the shrimp are unpeeled. The shrimp shell traps the flavor of the Old Bay Seasoning inside, until you peel the shrimp and eat it. Finally, pour the whole thing over a newspaper-covered table, then eat it with your hands. On with the recipe!
- 3 pounds of deheaded, unpeeled brown shrimp (ours were $5.99 per pound)
- 6 ears of yellow corn
- 14 small red potatoes
- one link of kielbasa sausage
- Old Bay Seasoning (use 2 teaspoons per quart of water)
My husband cut everything up while I was seasoning and boiling the water. Measure 4 quarts of water, then season it with 8 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning. Boil the water on high, in your big stainless steel pot, while you’re cutting up the corn and sausage. We cut the potatoes too, but some people don’t.
Boil the potatoes and sausage in your crab boil water for twenty minutes. Add the corn and cook for another ten minutes. Some people cut the corn into larger or smaller pieces than we did. It is a matter of preference. Add the shrimp, and cook for 3 minutes more. Don’t overcook them-shrimp are rubbery when overcooked. We drained our Frogmore Stew incrementally into a colander, then poured it onto a newspaper-covered table.
Our recipe fed about 10 people, and we had plenty left over. It is an expensive dish, but it’s also unique, and perfect for special occasions!
Blessings from the Lowcountry,
This post was featured on Oh My Heartsie Girl Wonderful Wednesday
Linking up here
If you liked this post, subscribe to Love My Little Cottage here