April is my birthday month, which brings to mind one of the best parties I’ve ever thrown: my Lowcountry Boil Birthday Bash. It was the last year of my 20s, and I was renting a home with a lovely pond in the backyard where wild ducks, geese and Blue Herons frequented. Under the shade of the Spanish-moss covered oak trees, the setting in the coastal Georgia plains couldn’t have been more fitting.
I awoke early on the morning of my 29th year to cut the grass and set about on the party preparations. I strung white lights in the outdoor trees, set up a makeshift bar under a pop-up tent, and secured a fire pit on the ground, with large stones set in a circular shape. Citronella tiki torches bordered the yard, standing guard against the no see ums like soldiers in the dark of night. The backyard sparkled and soon, all my favorites would arrive to celebrate the ending of an era.
When all the conditions are right, that’s what makes a great party. Now that the beautiful spring weather has returned and the breeze beckons us outdoors, throwing a Lowcountry boil party is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy the season. This week, I’ll share some easy entertaining tips for hosting the popular Southern affair. With a few good friends and some locally sourced ingredients, the only thing separating you and that succulent taste of wild Georgia shrimp is an outdoor cooker and quality time.
First, let’s talk ingredients. Shrimp are essential, but not just any shrimp. If you’ve never been to Prosser’s Seafood just a few miles down the road in Brooklet, now is your opportunity. Any good cook will tell you, a beautiful meal starts with the finest ingredients. Prosser’s is a hidden gem. It’s the best place I know in the area to get wild Georgia shrimp, caught fresh from the Atlantic. Another essential ingredient is Old Bay Seasoning and Shrimp & Crab Boil. You won’t need a lot of the Shrimp & Crab Boil, just a capful or two will do the trick. With the addition of sweet corn on the cob, red potatoes and spicy sausage, you’ll have everything you need. Cooking it all up in the same pot makes for serious flavor and easy cleanup. What’s not to love? As for side dishes, loaves of crusty Italian bread are never turned away. During my birthday bash, I also served a slow-cooker filled with she-crab soup, a hearty cheeseball and shrimp dip with crackers.
When it comes to decorations, a Lowcounty boil should be casual. Set up an outdoor table and cover it with newspaper. You’ll pour out the contents of the Lowcountry boil on it later. Crank up the stereo with your favorite tunes and put a few cold Coronas or Landshark Lagers on ice. As for wine, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc pair great with seafood. Crisp, light and slightly fruity, serve it chilled. If alcohol isn’t your thing, sweet tea and lemonade are always a fine option. At my party, we even served a signature cocktail: Bourbon and Blenheim garnished with fresh mint. Blenheim is a spicy ginger ale sold locally at L & D Produce, singly or by the six-pack. Adding that personal touch to a get-together is what makes your friends say, “I was there when it happened.”
As for the tables where folks will sit down to eat, you’ll want to set out a roll of paper towels or packages of wet hand wipes. Peeling the shrimp is sticky business. It also helps to have a place to discard shrimp hulls. I purchased inexpensive silver buckets at a home goods store.
Whether you drag your indoor table outside or choose to feast at a picnic table in your backyard, purchase a few spools of brown craft paper for the table coverings. It will give your party that rustic vibe and take the décor from everyday to wow. Be sure to scatter a few bottles of cocktail sauce around and have saltine crackers at the ready. Bright bouquets of tulips or daisies will add a pop of color to the table and provide a centerpiece. At an informal gathering such as this, sturdy paper plates are perfectly acceptable.
For dessert, my go-to recipe is lime cheesecake pie. It’s cool on the palate, refreshing and tart. Along with the pie, I kept things coastal during my party and served coconut cupcakes. No cake cutting necessary!
Remember, you can find all these recipes and more by visiting my food blog at somekindagood.com. If you have a recipe request or know a new restaurant I should visit, reach out to me on social media or by emailing SKGFoodBlog@gmail.com. Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, writer and the cooking show host of SKG-TV on YouTube. The personality behind the blog, SomeKindaGood.com, she is a public relations graduate of Georgia Southern University and attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good or tweet her @SKGFoodBlog.