State Plate Recipe: South Carolina’s Low Country Boil

Throw a Low Country Boil Party

Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, birthdays…any day is a great day for a Low Country Boil. Invite a dozen or so of your closest friends and family and let the fun begin. It’s the easiest party meal you’ll ever prepare, especially if your guests each bring one of the ingredients! All you have to do is throw the food into a big pot and let it simmer to aromatic, tasty perfection. So crank up the old time music or bluegrass, and make sure you have a hearty appetite.

Set up tables and chairs for family-style dining and cover the tables with craft paper or newspaper. When you’re finished eating, all you need to do is wad up the paper and toss it in the trash! The whole idea is to keep it simple, casual, communal and downhome!

Start the Boil!

If you want to keep it traditional, use shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. But truthfully, like many recipes with a long, storied history, it’s flexible! Lots of people add lobster, crab, crawfish and lots of veggies. Chunks of carrots, parsnips and onions work well.

You can use a large pasta pot and a strainer to drain the ingredients when cooked, or a special seafood boiler that comes with a strainer basket insert.

Basic Low Country Boil

The most tedious part is the prep, so have your ingredients prepped and ready to boil before your guests arrive. Cut the potatoes into quarters (store them in water before you’re ready to use them to prevent browning), shuck the corn and halve the cobs, and slice the sausage.

As for seasoning, you can use just salt and pepper and your favorite flavors, or buy a prepared seafood seasoning, such as Crab Boil or Old Bay. If you get a prepared spice, use 2 teaspoons per quart of water, more or less to taste.

Serves: 10


  • 12 Large Red New Potatoes, washed and quartered (or halved, depending on the size, or the equivalent if using smaller potatoes)
  • 6 Smoked Sausage Links – approx. 4-inch links, cut into a little larger than bite-size pieces
  • 6 Ears Fresh Corn, each broken in half
  • 3 Pounds Fresh Jumbo Shrimp, unpeeled (plus any other seafood you like)


  1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all of the ingredients when full.
  2. Add the Crab Boil, or other seasoning, and bring to a boil.
  3. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. When the water boils, add your potatoes and sausage.
  5. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Add corn and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add shrimp and cook for no longer than 3 minutes.
  8. Drain, and serve, spread out on your craft paper or newspaper, with warm French bread, or the bread of your choice.

Dig in! Have lots of paper towels on hand. Nobody needs to be dainty chowing down on this feast!

Condiments to complement your meal:

Lemon wedges

Cocktail sauce

Melted butter

Salt and pepper