One of the great benefits of visiting South Carolina is the sheer variety of food you can enjoy. This state is a culinary gem that draws foodies from around the world to its cities and towns. While some visitors’ definitions of good food only apply to dishes that come from four- or five-star restaurants, there’s one South Carolina dish that is delightful for its simplicity.
The Lowcountry boil, which can also be called Frogmore or Beaufort stew, is a staple dish in South Carolina’s coastal region. All of the meal’s names relate to the part of the state where it’s from.
If you’re looking for a hearty dish to get you acquainted with South Carolinian cuisine, look no further than the Lowcountry boil. While this is an SC delicacy, you can’t order it from just anywhere. The following sections highlight how you can find the best Lowcountry boil to enjoy on your trip to South Carolina.
Get Your Boil in Lowcountry
Technically, you don’t need to be in South Carolina to try Lowcountry boil. This dish has become so popular over the years that it’s made all around the world, and some chain restaurants even sell their own version of a Frogmore stew. While those meals are probably fine, why risk it when you can try Lowcountry boil in South Carolina’s very own Lowcountry?
The best Frogmore stew is most likely going to be in the region it was born in. Lowcountry is a big region, but some notable cities that are known to have good renditions of this dish include:
- Helena Island (where Frogmore is located).
- Hilton Head Island.
However, keep in mind that there are other areas that are included in Lowcountry. Typical counties that are considered to be part of this region include Hampton, Colleton, Jasper and Beaufort.
Make Sure the Seafood is Fresh
It doesn’t take much to make a Lowcountry boil. In fact, there’s only a handful of ingredients that goes into this dish. To make a proper Frogmore stew, you only need:
- Corn on the cob.
- Smoked sausage.
With so few ingredients in this dish, it’s imperative that the ones you use are high-quality. For this reason, it’s important that the shrimp in your boil is as fresh as possible. If you’re eating a boil that also includes crab, that ingredient needs to be fresh, too.
To help make sure your boil includes the best possible ingredients, try and buy it at a place that is located near the water. The closer the restaurant is to the ocean, you might have a better chance of eating a dish that was prepared with seafood that was caught that morning.
See Where It’s Cooked
Lowcountry boils are most often associated with outdoor activities in the summertime. This means that these types of dishes are usually served at picnics, barbecues and other similar outdoor gatherings. As a result, Lowcountry boils are often prepared outside using a grill.
When you make a Frogmore stew, you need to to cook all the ingredients together in boiling water. For this reason, gas grills serve as an ideal tool to prepare this meal. If you’re looking for the most traditional Lowcountry boil, you’ll want to make sure your dish was prepared using this method.
However, it’s still acceptable to eat one of these meals if it was prepared using a stovetop. If you’re ordering this meal in a traditional restaurant setting, this is how it’ll probably be prepared.
Know How It’s Seasoned
With such delicious, fresh ingredients making up a Lowcountry boil, it’s almost impossible for this dish not to taste good. However, that doesn’t mean that seasoning can be neglected when chefs prepare this meal. The flavoring that’s used in a Frogmore stew is just as important as the shrimp and sausage that goes into it.
The types of seasoning you’ll want to have in your dish depend on if you are traditionalist or not. Nowadays, there are various flavors you can add to a boil. Some of the most common seasonings include:
- Old Bay.
- Zatarain’s crab boil seasoning.
- Hot sauce.
If you come across a Lowcountry boil that’s seasoned with these flavors, you can bet it’ll have a traditional taste. However, if it comes with anything else on it for flavor, it probably won’t be a true Lowcountry delight.
Only Eat It If It’s Served on Newspaper
Like many meals in life, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the Lowcountry boil is how you eat it. This messy, shareable dish is just as fun to consume as it is tasty, and you’re bound to need ample space to enjoy the meal.
Just as most Frogmore stews are prepared outdoors for parties and events that take place outside, this meal is best enjoyed in the open air. Traditionally, these boils are shared among a large group of people who are seated around a long wooden table, and plates are definitely not a requirement.
Usually, the picnic table is covered with newspaper, and then the boil is dumped onto the covering once it’s ready to be eaten. The contents of the pot spill out over the paper, and hungry diners are free to grab the bits and pieces they want to eat. Shrimp shells can easily be discarded this way, and cleanup is a breeze once everyone is done.
Check Which Side Dishes Are Offered With It
Lowcountry boil is a complete meal on its own. The dish itself comes with protein, vegetables and carbohydrates. However, if you’re looking for even more food, try visiting a restaurant that serves the following side dishes with the boil:
- Collared greens
- Corn bread
- Potato salad