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Shrimp Boil

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I've never been to a shrimp boil (cheap friends), but want to have one. What is generally served, along with the shrimp, side dishes, etc? Is everything cooked in the pot? Any traditional beverages?

Probably 20 people coming.

Thanks,
H.
post #2 of 26
A Louisiana style boil would most often start with a large pot of water seasoned boiling water. Zatarain makes some good packets for this purpose, but think garlic, onions, lemons, salt, paprika and cayenne, black pepper, oregano, a bit of thyme.

Then you start cooking with the longest cooking items first

Red/new waxy potatoes. Cut if big.

Then andouille / kielbasa sausage.

Then corn.

Then shrimp and or crayfish.

They should all finish cooking at the same time if you staggered the cooking times correctly.

Scoop out the solids with a big spider and serve on clean butcher paper. Have butter, S&P, and cocktail sauce for seasoning at the table.

Phil
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post #3 of 26
Phatch has a good thing started for ya there but don't forget to bring the Tobasco sauce.:lips: You can throw some clams in if ya like between the sausage and the shrimp and/or maybe some crab fingers (claw with meat on it)

You asked beverage? Just remove the "v" and you get "Beer"age :look: Also make sure that you go peel and eat on the shrimp. Cooking it with the shells on makes the flavor that much better plus it keeps the appetite going when ya have to work for the meal:roll:
As far as wine goes I like it and it would be okay but for shrimp/seafood boil/bakes beer just seems to be appropriate imo. Just make it a good beer or ale
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you Phil and Oldschool.
I knew you would help me out.

Phil,
It didn't occur to me, wholeheartedly, about the importance of timing the ingredients in order of cooking time. Thanks for reminding me.

OldSchool,
I was wondering about the tail-on vs. whole shell. My wife, in particular, is disgusted by not de-veining. It doesn't bother me. Is there a problem with that? Do most shrimp boil participants recognize that? Or can I deveine with the shell on?

What other side dishes would go? My friend thinks I should have redbeans/rice, and/or jambalaya. I'm also thinking of having a fresh fruit platter and mushrooms stuffed with crab. Too much?

I'd love to get the crab claws, but then I'd need tools to crack those things, plus I don't know if in land-locked Oklahoma I could get them. I love those claws.

H.
post #5 of 26
I saw Emeril Lagasse do a crawfish boil on a Julia Child episode ages ago (he was modest and low-key!). He boiled some artichokes in the pot, too. They take a bit longer than the potatoes, I think, especially if they're big.
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post #6 of 26
Hey Henry - I think phatch and oldschool have it fairly well covered for the boil and beverages.

For the sides you might want to try:
-Tomato & Red Onion Salad
- Coleslaw
- Green Salad
-Warm Garlic/herb bread

Maybe some sparkling wine as alternative to beer, or even some cider?

Sounds like fun - where's my invite? :)

Enjoy!
DC
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post #7 of 26
Henry,
Re deveining, maybe you can compromise and take off the body shell, leaving the head and tail on for added flavour and looks. You should be able to devein them like that. I don't like the vein either.

As for cracking the claws - what's wrong with a hammer or rolling pin? Don't need to get fancy :)
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post #8 of 26
I should clarify that the corn is on the cob.

And you really need a high output stove to boil a big enough pot and return the pot to the boil quickly after each addition to the pot.

Phil
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post #9 of 26
There are alot of variations on the "Berl". I saw the one were Em- put artichoke in the pot. Them babies expensive though, so that's on you. Other fine points is the liquid is the most important thing. Someone already mention the Zatarain's seasoning pack(Couple of those) but they also have boil liquid, Very potent stuff. Some use only a couple of caps full others use a whole bottle. So your own taste there. Also along with the lemons & corn & pots, most people use plain ol hot dogs instead of high end sausages like andouille. Sorry, but in these instances the vein is a legit flavor to the overall thing so also on your own with that. As far a side are concerned any typical picnic type dishes would satisfy. "Jambalay, crawfish pie, file gumbo".(It's a song)But usually most of your time will be spent hunkered over that table with beer & a messy face. Start your water to boiling early it takes a while to get up.
post #10 of 26
Given the variety of foods and sides laid out here, you're gonna need a REALLY big pot, and a propane burner to match. Rent a large pot and a 75-80,000btu burner. Your hot plate ain't gonna do it.

I would use head-on, shell-on shrimp. (You should teach your guests how to suck the insides out of the heads after you break them off.) If Yankee visitors to that in a rural Cajun-country restaurant, they will get a round of applause from the house. Been there, done that. :bounce:

Don't worry about the vein. Explain that it adds that real Cajun flavor. :crazy:

You can get a very good boil mix from Penzey's, though both McCormack and Zatarain's are good. Add lemon slices, cut-up onions, LOTS of smashed garlic um... heads, not cloves :D juniper berries are good, and other stuff mentioned above. Boil all this stuff for 30 minutes or more to get your boil flavored up, before adding the food in proper order.

You asked
I'm also thinking of having a fresh fruit platter and mushrooms stuffed with crab. Too much?

Not at all.... I'm waiting for my invitation! :o

Have fun

Mike
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post #11 of 26
I don't know about anyone else, but I am not going to eat the gastro intestinal waste products of a shrimp's colon! :)

doc
post #12 of 26

Yep phatch, DC, and Mike are pretty dern close!

You honestly don't even notice the sand trap in shrimp for the medium count shrimp. Mediums are best for shrimp boils for a couple of reasons. The smaller the gulf shrimp, the sweeter. Mediums, make more work to eat so people eat less. Mediums are more tender. There are 2 sizes of mediums: 41-50 which you might think too small or you can do the medium that is 36/40s. I like these the best. Big enough to feel like you're eating something but not so big that the vein is an issue. You could go as big as larges 31/35s but honestly for the money difference I would just go with 36/40s.

I only use the big ones for frying. Again the smaller ones are sweeter in my opinion. Also, don't bother doing this cookout with shrimp from China and Asia. That shrimp does not have the flavor that wild Gulf Shrimp have. It's ok cooked in a dish but not boiled as the main event.

I'm from Texas and we grew up having Shrimp and Crab Boils and Oyster Shuckings. phatch has it pretty close. Just get some shrimp boil and plenty of lemons for your water. Boil the water with the seasoning and lemons first and only drop your shrimp in for a couple of minutes at the end. You absolutely can add new potatoes, corn, andouille, boudan, other sausages. And typical sides are very much in keeping with DC's suggestions:

coleslaw
tomato, red onion, cucumber vinaigrette
green salad
Junior League chocolate sheath cake for dessert

You could serve crab claws (they are already cracked for blue crab) but they are expensive. So don't bother. Just have plenty of shrimp, plenty of beer and plenty of napkins!

Be sure to have coolers of ice so that you can scoop out your shrimp and put them on ice to stop the cooking. You can season with extra Tony Chacery if you want. It's important to stop the shrimp from cooking with the ice (that's why you may want to cook your veggies and sausage separately). It's much more delicate than crawdad boils. Over cooked shrimp suck. And not in a good way.

This is not a cookout for the squeemish. Although I do get shrimp with the head off (it saves you a bit of work and money). I do cook and serve with the shell on. You must do that. And no, I would not devein before shelling. If your wife can't handle it then do it personally for her...but not for the masses.

Have a blast!
post #13 of 26
How about steaming, rather then boil. Steam may catch the sweetness of the seafood inside and it taste good.

De-veined the shrimp is better but take times to do it. How if you just cut (wiht scissor) through the back of the shrimp and leaves the head and tail intact. Cut the back will halp de-vein the shrimp too, head and tail intact will enhance the taste and good in presentation.

How about put some herbs and other spices to make it tastier in your boil or steam seafood such as celery stalks, carrot and onion as it will add more sweetness into the seafood.

Asian style cooking: add ginger and garlic duirng boiling or steaming. Sprinkle with white wine after it finsihed with boiling (before putting them into the ice tray) will make it tastier.

More complicated but tastier recipe: add shallots (golden shallots is more preferable, slice thinly), sprigs of spring onion (whole), pineapple slices (2 slice only to enhance ths eafood flavor and soften the shrimp skin), whole kernel of black pepper, a bit sugar to taste and salt.

If you like Crab Claws (the most meat in the crab), just boil them, cracked the shell, leaves the meat intact, cover with Flour+egg+maizena+salt, freeze for 1 hour, then steam it (in a bowl or cover them with all. foil) for about 15 minutes. It will taste good.]

Good Luck Henry.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies and tips, especially concerning side dishes, order of cooking stuff, shrimp sizes, etc.
I have a big pot with an insert (turkey frier without the propane tank). I'm going to put the pot with water on my stove this weekend to see how long it takes to boil. I don't have any other heat source.

I'm planning to do a fresh fruit platter with pineapples, blueberries, melons etc. (the kids will like that), crab-stuffed mushrooms, red beans and rice (someone sent me Camellia brand beans), jumbalaya (requests from friend), sliced tomatoes, cole slaw, french bread, and the whole shrimp boil thing with dipping sauces. Beverages will be beer and a white wine sangria. Desserts are Mississipi mud cake and key lime cheesecake.

Thanks for all the help and ideas, I think it will be a nice party!

H.
post #15 of 26
Sounds scrumptious, Henry. Let us know how it goes, both logistically and culinarily! :lips:
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post #16 of 26
I do these a lot in my catering business and I use a couple of turkey fryers. Also use blue mussels...just my imput
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post #17 of 26
You're forgetting the most important part, at the end you must do a boil over, this is accomplished by throwing a cup of kerosene on the fire.

This gets all the fat and scum that floated to the top out of there.

It should look like this:
http://www.doorcountyfishboil.com/im...b-boilover.jpg
post #18 of 26
Abe, is that place in Fish Creek?? I think we watched this little display when we were there. My DH won't eat fish so we took a pass on the fish boil. I hear it's pretty good though.
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post #19 of 26
Yup, that is downtown fish creek.
post #20 of 26
Pelletier's or the White Gull Inn? The White Gull Inn also serves a great cream cheese and Door County cherry stuffed French Toast for breakfast.
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post #21 of 26
Do not forget the bay leaves!!!!!!!! They bring out good flavor. Just make sure no one eats one! lol
post #22 of 26
Heavily salted water, lemons, garlic heads, zatarans bags of spices, extra Zat liquid, cayene.....boiled for a while to get the flavor......

case of paper towels


lots of B red potatoes......nothing like spicy potato salad with a remoulade dressing or vinagrette green onion dressing

your menu reads great!

So. Louisiana the shrimp, crabs, crawfish are whole and purged.....well the crawfish are for sure. There's a way to devein when your twisting off the tail fan to twist just so and pull out the vein, little shrimp it really doesn't matter....it's totally personal preference.
Most boils last hours.......4 hours not unusual. It's pretty much an all afternoon/evening event. Much like a cochon de lait.
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post #23 of 26
What time is dinner, I can show you how to cookem':D

Lots of cold BEER
post #24 of 26

I'm having a shrimp boil...standard Gulf shrimp, potatoes, corn and sausage...and I want to serve the salad as an hor d'oerve (sp?)  rather than serving heavy appetizers.  I have individual plates (square 9") and I want them to look professionally plated and then serve  croustini with sweet pea mix and sweet pepper mix.  How do I get people to understand this concept?  I envision them picking up a plate and fork, then selecting croustini and mingling with some seating which is random rather than at a table.  Do you think this will work?

post #25 of 26
This is how a "boil" is served:



I'm not sure what you're talking about. But that's OK. The post before yours was eight(8) years ago. Maybe things have changed. Welcome to ChefTalk.

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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolmelampy View Post
 

I'm having a shrimp boil...standard Gulf shrimp, potatoes, corn and sausage...and I want to serve the salad as an hor d'oerve (sp?)  rather than serving heavy appetizers.  I have individual plates (square 9") and I want them to look professionally plated and then serve  croustini with sweet pea mix and sweet pepper mix.  How do I get people to understand this concept?  I envision them picking up a plate and fork, then selecting croustini and mingling with some seating which is random rather than at a table.  Do you think this will work?

I recently posted and shared suggestions and a link re same (Seafood Boil) here:

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/89540/fathers-day

 

I would probably opt for serving crusty bread with the meal, and something less formal prior, like a watermelon and feta salad, or perhaps a lettuce wrap (w peanutty noodles)

 

 

http://www.walmartlivebetter.ca/recipes/10-things-to-do-with/easy-ramen-noodles-recipes/image/7/

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