|any guesses on how many people in this photo are my relatives?|
The crawfish are actually cooked in Louisiana and brought to the farm the day of the party, but the low country boil is made fresh!
My uncle bought the largest commercially available pot (40 gallons) for the yearly event - if you need a bigger one, it's a custom order. It's even bigger than the one I saw recently on Duck Dynasty (those guys have nothing on us!). It's so big that I can fit inside, with the lid on!
For the normal kitchen chef, however, a large pot will do. You only need a pot like ours if you plan to feed 75 people from a single batch. If you're cooking for Louisianians, it may be more like 35 :) The cool part is that with only one batch, everyone gets to eat at the same time.
- Red Potatoes (10 lbs.)
- Corn (50 ears)
- Onions (1 dozen)
- Seasoning (2lbs. Zatarain's crab boil powder + 1 lb. Swamp Fire powder OR 1 quart of Zatarain's liquid crab boil)
- Lemons (optional)
- Kilbasa Sausage (12 lbs.)
- Shrimp (20 lbs.)
Fill your pot 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a rolling boil. Our pot takes an entire hour and at least one tank of propane to come to a boil. Also, the propane tanks freeze over, so they need their own bucket of water to sit in. If it freezes up, the tank stops vaporizing and the fire goes out.
While you're waiting for the water to boil, prep the veggies. The potatoes can go in whole or halved. The onions should be quartered. Remove the husk and silks from the corn, and snap in half. Cut lemons in half. Slice the sausage into bite-size rounds. The shrimp go in whole, but it's a good idea to wash them first.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the seasoning and start timing (or, if you like your potatoes and corn less spicy, add the spice later in the cooking process).
0 minutes: Add potatoes
10 minutes: Add corn
20 minutes: Add onions
25 minutes: Add sausage
30 minutes: Add shrimp
34 minutes: Turn off heat
37 minutes: Serve!
I know four minutes doesn't sound like much for shrimp, but overcooked shrimp get a gross texture and are also hard to peel.
Strain the water from the good stuff (we have an insert for our pot, but you could dump a small batch through a colander). Using such a huge pot with so many pounds of food, we had to develop a special method for this step. We have a 2x4 board with large hooks on it to get the pot out of the water - two people lift the pot. A third person dumps the pot into aluminum trays - one for each table!
I like to dip my low country boil in a mixture of equal parts mayonnaise and cocktail sauce; others prefer cocktail sauce alone, or nothing at all! It's up to you. For the most part, nobody eats the onions or lemons - they're mainly there to flavor everything else.
When we have leftovers, we separate everything into baggies after dinner. The potatoes make excellent home fries and are a delicious breakfast when paired with leftover sausage. The shrimp can become shrimp cocktail the next night, or a Cajun pasta. The corn freezes well and becomes a delicious corn chowder.
Lemon drop martinis or ice cold beer provide a welcome respite from the spice. (And are best enjoyed in redneck wine glasses made from mason jars!)
I hope you enjoy our family recipe!