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“A Deep South proper Shrimp Boil!” — Paul Ebeling

I like peel-and-eat shrimp cooked and spiced like Maryland crab in the North. And now in the Deep South, shrimp boil has taken on a Cajun accent. It bobs with corn and potatoes and andouille, the spice mix is Zatarain’s, and the wild shrimp is always sweet, plump from the Gulf.

While all ingredients are Key, the real flavor from a boil comes from the cooking liquor, loaded with alliums, lemon, spices, and a bottle each of white wine and clam juice.

Active:20 mins

Total:1 hr 30 mins


This shrimp boil is a 1-pot Summer feast In it use large shrimp in the shell, which helps prevent overcooking and imparts its own flavor to both the shrimp and broth. Add potatoes and corn 1st, then sausage, then shrimp. Just before serving, the boil is finished in a garlic spice butter.

When ready to eat, line your table with newspaper, and serve the shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn splayed out on the table with plenty of paper towels and condiments like hot sauce, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges. This food meant to be eaten with your hands.

You can also divide the ingredients between 2 stockpots and cook the boil inside on your stove. Prep the ingredients in advance so you can tend the pot and customize the seasonings to your taste.


  • 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, plus more for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 11 quarts water (44 cups)
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry unoaked white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 12 ounces), quartered lengthwise, root intact
  • 2 garlic heads, halved crosswise
  • 8 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages boil-in-bag crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil such as Zatarain’s or 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 pounds small yellow, red, or gold potatoes
  • 8 (8-ounce) shucked ears fresh corn, halved crosswise
  • 3 pounds fresh andouille, about 8 [6-ounce] sausages or 16 [3-ounce] sausages)
  • 4 pounds unpeeled raw large wild shrimp
  • Cocktail Sauce for serving
  • Whole-grain mustard, for serving 

Directions for cooking outside

  • Step 1 Grate zest from 1 lemon to measure 2 teaspoons. Set grated zest aside. Cut zested lemon and remaining lemon into quarters; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low. Stir in Cajun seasoning, minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, hot sauce to taste, and reserved lemon zest. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. 
  • Step 2 Place a 24-quart pot on an outdoor propane burner. Add 11 quarts water, wine, clam juice, onion, garlic heads, bay leaves, thyme, quartered lemons, and remaining 5 tablespoons salt to pot; cover and bring to a boil over high flame. Stir in crab boil packets; cover and cook 10 minutes. Place a fitted strainer inside pot.
  • Step 3 Add potatoes to strainer in pot; cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in corn and sausages; cover and cook until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of sausage registers 155°F (or until heated through if using smoked sausages), about 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, uncovered, until shrimp are pink, opaque, and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 4 Lift strainer from pot, letting liquid strain back into pot, and transfer shrimp boil mixture (potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp) to a large heatproof bowl; discard onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, lemons, crab boil packets, and strained liquid inside pot. Add reserved butter mixture to shrimp boil mixture; toss to coat. (If you don’t have a large enough bowl, you can do this step in batches, tossing half of the shrimp boil with half of the butter mixture at a time.)
  • Arrange coated shrimp boil on a platter or a paper covered table. Season with additional Cajun seasoning or Old Bay Serve with cocktail sauce and mustard

The sauce

Stir together 1 (8-ounce) jar cocktail sauce, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco)\ in a small bowl. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 5 days. Grate fresh horseradish on top for serving.

Pair with light-bodied Provençal rosé: 2021 Commanderie de Peyrassol Les Commandeurs, or crisp, lemony pilsner.

Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively

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