Part of what I love the most about this fine country of ours are all the different regional cuisines and specialties. I'm sure you're all familiar with seafood boils in the summer, but depending on where you live, it may be called something else, and the seafood will definitely vary. Here in the coastal south, we call it a "low country boil." Louisiana and Texas have crawfish boils. The northeast does clambakes. And some just call it a shrimp boil.
So everyone does it differently, but here's the way I like it. Shrimp (only gulf shrimp will do), potatoes, corn, and spicy sausage. Lots of old bay seasoning. Butter. And from the grill. Low country boil purists will definitely call blasphemy on this, but in my opinion, serving this grilled blows the boil right out of the water (pun intended). Oftentimes the boil can be bland, and the timing can be tricky as well. Sometimes the potatoes are undercooked. Sometimes the shrimp is overcooked and rubbery. But when you make it on the grill, you have total control over each component.
I've been making this for a few years now, and it's my favorite summer dinner. We make this every year at the beach for our group of 20+, when we're entertaining at our house, when we want a fun weekend dinner… it's just a great summer meal. I like to prep everything ahead of time, then just throw it on the grill when we're ready to eat. As it all grills, I brush it with Old Bay butter, then toss it all with more of that delicious compound butter once it comes off the grill. Dump it on a pile of newspaper, and dig in caveman-style. The kids think it's hilarious to eat dinner without plates.
The side dishes for this are non-negotiable: cheddar-garlic biscuits and fresh watermelon. And cold beer for the adults, of course.
This is the ultimate summer meal, and one that I look forward to every year. Grill your low-country boil. You won't be sorry.
Low Country Grill
inspired by Everyday Food, June 2011
serves 4 to 6, and can easily be scaled up or down
- 1 lb red new potatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
- 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
- 1 lb smoked sausage or Andouille sausage
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- canola oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 Tbs Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp hot sauce (or more, if you prefer more spice)
- 1 tsp honey
- lemon wedges, for serving
- hot sauce, for serving
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan, cover with water, and season with a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain and rinse, then when cool enough to handle, thread onto skewers.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers.
Brush everything with canola oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, old bay, hot sauce, honey, and a pinch of salt.
Place everything on the grill, then cook 8 to 12 minutes, turning every few minutes and brushing with the butter. The shrimp will take the least amount of time - cook them just until they are pink and opaque, 8 minutes at the very most, but likely closer to 5 to 6 minutes, depending on how tightly they are threaded onto the skewers and how big they are. Reserve the remaining butter.
Remove from heat and cut each ear of corn into thirds. Slice the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Combine the sausage, corn, potatoes, and shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the remaining butter.
To serve, dump everything onto a platter or newspaper. Dig in.